I did it. I quit (or at the very least, paused) my dependable job as a middle school teacher to instead teach an infant and a budding toddler–my own. It’s not that I didn’t like my job; I did. But what I couldn’t maintain was the feeling of my heart being stretched the distance between that schoolhouse and the various places where they spent their days without me. So, I did it.
While education is obviously not the most lucrative field out there, it certainly provided enough financial security (coupled with my husband’s income) to feel like we were doing alright.
Fast forward to earlier this week. After watching bill after bill roll in and seeing our single-income bank account struggle to keep up, I found myself driving to town sobbing to my husband on the other end of the phone line.
What were we thinking? Oh my gosh–how could I have quit my job? I shouldn’t have decided to stay home. We were financially stressed . . . because of me.
My sweet husband quickly reassured me that being home was indeed, not a mistake. He tried his best to reassure me, but his encouraging words and validation did little to appease my ugly-cry-inducing guilt. It wasn’t until I heard the tiny voice from the backseat that I truly stopped to listen.
“It’s okay Mama.”
My two-year-old son, upon seeing my mascara streaked cheeks, comforted me. Blissfully unaware of the financial burden I was feeling, he used a tone of velvet to soothe me. I recognized that tone; it was the same one I used to calm my sons when they needed me. He knew which words to use and how to speak them because he had heard them from my lips. Because I was home.
“It’s OK, Mama.”
There are beautiful, powerful, wonderful moms out there who live for the grind of balancing work and motherhood–and who do it far more gracefully than I could ever dream–but that isn’t for me. I have the heart of a stay-at-home mommy. So despite the stress and penny pinching, I choose to believe that this is what is best for our family.
I have all the time in the world to work an 8-to-4 job. I have all the time in the world to pay bills, all the time in the world to make some cash to buy my kids the “extras” that we would like to them have. Heck, I even have all the time in the world to pay off any debt that we might end up accumulating during this time. But the one thing that I can’t do, the one thing that can’t and won’t wait for me, is this opportunity to be home with my boys while they are in this season of life. This is the here and now.
So is it worth it? The sleepless nights and the furrowed brows as I go over our bank statements month after month? Yes. Wholeheartedly, yes.
Clapping hands, new words, timid first steps. I get to be here! I get to watch my sons grow face-to-face, not through the iPhone pictures and text messages their caretakers send me. For me, those moments are far more precious to me than a few extra dollars in our bank account.
I know that not everyone is afforded the luxury of having the option to stay home. There are mothers and fathers out there who would do anything to stay home with their kids but simply can’t. I am grateful every day to be one of the lucky ones who is able to make it work–no matter how tight money might be.
If you’re in the same boat as I was; if your heartstrings are pulled every time you have to say goodbye; if there is any way you can make it work to stay home with your babies–and if your heart is called to do so–I encourage you to take that leap of faith.
My son was right–it is OK, Mama.