I was out running errands today with Wyatt and ran into someone I know. I was a bit surprised to see her running errands in the middle of the morning as I know she works full time during the week. We chatted a bit about the weather, the holiday reprieve, etc when the subject turned to my ever present protruding belly.
“How many more weeks?” she asks.
“Oh, too many……8 or 9.”
“I don’t know how you do it.”
“What?” – I kind of knew where this was heading as we’ve almost had this conversation before.
“Stay at home. Have all those kids. Keep your sanity. I mean, how do you live? (her way of asking if John makes enough money to support us) Do you think you guys are done after this one?”
Whoa. Completely loaded comment there. I was somewhat expecting it as I get comments a lot now when I take the kids out. We’ve become ‘that family’ that people stare at whenever we all go shopping together…..2 parents, mom uber pregnant, 3 kids under the age of 7 all walking in a group. We’ve become accustomed to comments and strange looks.
John does very well in his job and it is pretty secure. He doesn’t make loads of money and we are lucky if extra funds actually stay in our savings account. But whenever something comes up, God usually provides an opportunity to cover whatever expense it is. We’ve learned to live with what we have, save what we can, and appreciate the simple luxuries that may come our way on occasion.
“I thought about staying home with Kate. But after 8 weeks of no sleep and constant feeding, I couldn’t take it anymore. I NEEDED to get back to work. Plus, I didn’t go to school for 4 years and get a great job only to stay home all the time. And Kate has really flourished in daycare. She is such a socialite and loves being around all the kids.”
Oh geez. God help me keep my composure.
“So you think you guys will have any more kids?”
“Oh man, I don’t know. Jack wants another one but I’m just not sure I can take it. Maybe after Kate is in school full time. She’s such a handful at home at the end of the day and we are constantly trying to keep up with her.”
I’m thinking: Of course she is! She misses you!!!!! And I don’t know what child under the age of 6 or 7 needs/craves socialization MORE than being with his or her parents.
“Well, I knew that when we started having kids that it was important for me to be home with them if it was possible. John kind of fought me on it at first but then decided that having me home all the time was what was best for the family. Yeah, it’s hard and stressful and threatens my sanity on an almost daily basis. But I look at the kids and I hear the millions of “I love you Mom” all day long and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And believe it or not, as they get older it seems to get easier – for now. I’m sure once they hit preteen years we’ll be dealing with a whole new phase of parenting. But for now we are completely happy with having “all these kids”.
“But you cook and garden and have all those animals. Don’t you wish you had more freedom? I mean, I NEED to have an evening with my girlfriends every Thursday or I’d go nuts! And Jack takes Kate sometimes on the weekends so I can get some shopping done in Fargo. That ‘me time’ is crucial for me.”
“The winter is hard. And being pregnant takes some time away from “me time”. But John hung a swing for me at the edge of the property so I have a place of solitude to run to every once in a while. In the non-winter months John makes sure that I get some time everyday to go for a 2 mile run or a short trip into the gym whenever I can. I get up early and enjoy before sunrise with a coffee and silence.”
This is when she really started staring at me funny. And thankfully Wyatt was getting a bit squirmy.
“I don’t know. I’ve just always knew I’d be a mom. Even when I was in college. And I always knew I wanted to be the one to raise my kid, NOT some daycare worker. So we made it a priority. And we’ll probably have a couple more kids after this one.”
She kind of smirked a pity filled smirk and bid me good day. I walked away a bit pissed off.
We didn’t have kids only to send them off to have someone else to raise them so we can have a double income and all the extra toys we want. I’m not going to trade my children’s childhood for that. And as far as not using my education, well……..whatever job there might be out in the working world for me, there is always someone else who can do it. Believe it or not, employees ARE replaceable. Parents ARE NOT.
I grew up having my mother home. She sent us off to school in the morning and welcomed us home in the afternoon. She made us breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper. She was there if we were sick. She came to all the middle of the day activities that elementary school’s sometimes hold. She was there. And looking back, that was perhaps one of the greatest gifts my parent’s could have ever given us.
I get that some people can’t do that. I understand the need for dual incomes sometimes. I understand that there are single parents out there just trying to stay afloat. I get that. I just also believe that if there is any way possible for a mom to be home with her children at least until they are school aged, it ought to be done. Children NEED their parents.
Anybody else have confrontations like this? ….. or perhaps a different perspective?…..or whatever?
I could write a whole lot more on this and get into a REAL rant. But I’m pretty sure that most of you who read this are probably of similar mind.