One night last week my husband and I were dragging ourselves up the stairs, exhausted. It seemed like we’d both been on our feet for hours. I would have gone to bed earlier, but there are so many things to be done in the evenings– straighten up, gather discarded socks and wet bathing suits, wipe down counters, empty the dishwasher, etc.
I was half asleep on my feet when my husband said, “Someone on my Facebook posted a blog about a mom who is sorry she quit her job to stay home with her kids.”
“What? No, that can’t be right,” I replied, yawning.
It was right.
In a recent blog post for the Huffington Post, Lisa Endlich Heffernan, mom of three boys, discusses why she regrets quitting her job to stay home with her children.
She lists reasons like slipping into a traditional marriage role, getting “sucked into” volunteer work, worrying about her kids more, not utilizing her education, falling behind the technological curve and losing confidence in herself.
I feel like I could write pages about this, but I won’t.
I went to college with several women in their 40s and 50s who decided to go back and get their degrees after their children moved out on their own. I recognized how they had a harder go of it and how not having their degree was a stumbling block for them. I vowed to finish college before having children of my own, even though I knew I’d stay home and my diploma would gather dust.
I graduated on a balmy April day and was pregnant by August.
I have a B.A. in sociology because at the time, I wanted to become a teacher and needed an emphasis, but I’ve never used my degree and I’m okay with that.
I probably could have turned my freelance work into something more permanent, but I weighed the cost of after school childcare for four kids and that alone would reduce my paycheck down to something laughable. What’s the point?
In fact, I recently cut my writing way back so that I could focus more on my kids. Did the pay cut hurt? Absolutely. Did I struggle with my identity? Yes. Was it worth it? Hands down.
When I had kids, I made the decision to put those little humans first until they were adults and capable of caring for themselves. Frankly, I feel like the two things– parenthood and sacrifice– go hand in hand.
Can working parents be amazing parents? Definitely! I know plenty of working couples with well-rounded, smart and kind children. The best kids aren’t only from homes where one parent stays home.
This isn’t an argument for or against kids having a stay at home parent. To me, it’s an argument against parents being resentful when they choose to leave the workforce. If someone has kids and wants to work– even if they don’t have to– then they should. People are capable of being good parents and being fantastic in their profession.
But if someone decides to quit their job and stay home, they shouldn’t be bitter. Why lament the sacrifices they made for their children? That’s what parenting is– a beautiful sacrifice, with the best paycheck imaginable.