I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to be a stay at home parent for the past eleven and a half years. This hasn’t been without a tradeoff, just like the trade off other parents make, like my husband, who don’t have the luxury of making the to choice to stay at home.
Maybe you look at me and think, you’re married to a doctor, you don’t HAVE to work. But wait, I do. I’m home with the kids doing a job that I could be paid to do if it was not my own kids under my care. I’m happy with my opportunity and I realize that not everyone has the same one, like my spouse. We cannot afford to have him be a stay at home Dad because of the debt to income ratio incurred by his school loans. Plain as day, he has the potential to earn the money to pay off his school loans. My job alone does not.
When we had kids we looked at our finances. Based on my husbands projected income after residency, my earning potential as a teacher in New Jersey, and the price of daycare where we lived in Philadelphia, we determined that I had a career choice to make. I chose to be at home.
Leaving my job while pregnant was the scariest thing I had done. I took a leap of faith that my pregnancy would go as planned and I’d be raising my daughter that fall. I knew that things don’t always go as planned but I was extremely grateful that, in my case, it did. The fear that came next was losing my identity as a person who was then seen as more of an asset to society with knowledge that extends past the consistency and color of my daughter’s poop.
Now that my kids are in full day school I’ve gotten some “you should go back to work now”. But I am working. As a parent with flexibility during the day I AM HELPING those people who do have jobs outside of the home. I’m happily bringing your kids to events, doing their hair, doing the things you may desperately wish you were home to do.
Parents working outside the home are also doing important things for all of our kids. You are showing them that you CAN have a work/life balance. When you can’t be there you can still provide the love and care for your kids from daycare, family, and those of us at home. You are proving that parenthood is all about dividing and conquering rather than trying to do everything by yourself.
- I appreciate parents who are examples to my kids that show that having working parents is an excellent option.
- I appreciate parents who show that have a parent who stays home to raise kids is also an excellent option.
- I appreciate the people in our communities that come together to make all our lifestyles work together and allow us to pursue the paths that we have taken.
If we work together in harmony we can prove to our kids that anything is possible.
We all have struggles and can carry guilt no matter how our lives pan out. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Let’s look and appreciate our own grass and stop assuming other peoples grass is always greener. If you look closer it might not be grass at all. It might be astroturf.