What did you do before? 

I am a stay at mom.  I wasn’t always a stay at home mom and I am not sure I always will be one,  but while the kiddos are young life has granted me the opportunity to enjoy this while I can.  It has taken me a few years to acclimatize to this and more importantly to start to feel confident in it.  It has also taken me some time to realize that I do this for me and my kids, but no one else.

You’d be surprised at the people who disapprove of this choice.  There are people who think this is a bad idea, some who are indifferent, some who really support it but the truth is none of them matter.  It matters to me, so this is where I stand. 

The other day when I went to pick up my oldest at school, as we were standing outside the class waiting for children to be called and come out, there was a bit of a lull. A new father had joined us and was chatting up the other dad there. I overheard him ask the man “what do you do? ” and the man responded that he stays home with the kids. The new dad looked blankly at him as if not sure what to say and then you could see the thought in motion and he followed up with “well what did you used to do? ” the other dad quietly mumbled something about industry and the conversation died quickly. 

I told myself, it’s just small talk, a natural topic to keep the conversational ball rolling; but I felt for the dad.  I had been asked that many times. Sometimes I want to say “it doesn’t matter what I did before, this is what I do now and it’s really hard and an amazing job”.  For a moment I thought if he worked in office and told the man that, he wouldn’t have asked him where he worked before.  The conversation might of became about the  business, he might have had something to relate but it didn’t.  He could relate what he did before, but he couldn’t relate to what he did now.  I guess that’s human nature to  talk about what you know, but as a parent who stays at home with her children , when someone asks immediately what you did before it can feel like your doing isn’t real work – it can make it feel of less value even though you know it isn’t.

 I often felt criticized for my action to stay at home, so I would become defensive.   Someone would ask me what I did I would proceed to tell them, if they had a negative reaction I would proceed to the defensive “well I worked 7 years before at a university, I even went back to work after the birth of my first son.” That often got people to relax, but it surely didn’t make me feel any more confident in what I was doing now or the choice I had made. 

It will be three years in September that I quit my job to be with my children.  I wanted to spend time with them while they were young. I also wanted freedom and flexibility in my life and theirs.  I never regret it, but it has taken me this long to tell people what I currently do, and then leave it where it hangs. If you don’t like it, that’s your issue, not mine. I am the one who lives my life and I enjoy it regardless of your opinion.  People pleasing habits are always hard to break.

 I’ve also stopped saying ” I stay at home with the kids, for now” as I have no idea where life will take me and frankly all I have is the now, the future is not mine to hold. This was just defensive mechanism I used to make my choice seem okay. I am only here temporary, so don’t hate my choice. That very well may be the case, but I don’t know that and frankly I am not worried about it. Life will bring me all kinds of adventures and I have no idea where they will take place. 

I am grateful to be in the financial situation that I am in, it allows me to go down this path with my kiddos; but more importantly it allows me to go down a bigger path for myself.  Staying at home has allowed me to get in touch with myself, to unleash that natural Danielle who lives her life for her.  I know it sounds contradictory that I stayed at home for my kids, but I am living for myself, but I am discovering what I do is right for me, and though I am at home teaching my children right now, they are the teachers teaching me everything about humility, self confidence, and most importantly love. 

I know this is where I am meant to be and that brings me a deep sense of peace and happiness. 


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