Hi Dr. Laura,
Thank you for all you do. You have no idea how many times you have helped me. I have been a stay-at-home mom for sixteen years to two boys ages 16 and 12. I am my kids' mom and am my husband's girlfriend.
It has not been easy to stay at home, but we have managed to continue. When my first son was born, my husband and I decided it would be good for one of us to be with him and not do the day care thing. Our families live out of state so it made sense for me to stay at home.
My husband was beginning a long career in the life insurance industry and we struggled for years financially. I left a career in sales that I loved and hated staying home - at first. I missed my friends at work etc. and wondered sometimes if it was all worth it as I stood standing in line at the grocery store wondering if I had enough money to pay the bill. Once I even left a full cart because my debit card wouldn't go through.
I wondered again if it was worth it during teething, diaper rashes, potty training, but in the end it has been totally worth all the yucky parts.
I was able to be around for both my boys' firsts: First steps, first tooth, first day of school. I would not trade any of this and now the boys are older, but I've found that they still need me - perhaps more now that they are teens.
I recently went back to full time work last winter. I took a teaching job for a woman on maternity leave. The hours were fine and went around my family or so I thought. I loved teaching, but I stayed past school hours to plan and grade papers and left home early in the morning. I wondered why I was spinning my wheels to only see my family for an hour or so a day. At the end of my long term position I was offered a permanent position, but I turned it down.
I realized I could work part time as a substitute teacher, walk dogs, and teach my master's swimming class to help earn some extra money - as I had done in the past. My part time gigs wouldn't take me away from the kids and I wouldn't have to bring any work home at night to take away from family time. We still try to do family dinners in between sports practices and those dinners seemed to be non-existent when I was working full time because I was too tired to care.
I realized how silly I was all those years that I sometimes questioned my value as a stay at home mom. My value is proof in my boys. People compliment me all the time on how sweet and well mannered they are. I beam with pride and realize that my being with them was the key ingredient.
There were many more struggles that my sons and I shared and I'm sure with teenagers in the house we will have more to come. Things worthwhile are never easy. I wanted to share with your audience that staying at home with my two boys was the very best thing I could have ever done. Thank you for always putting worth in being a stay at home mom!