I was the first female in a large family to graduate from college, which I paid for myself. Nineteen years ago, when I gave birth to our oldest child, I fully intended to return to work. After all, I had worked HARD to get that college degree and job, but when my six weeks' maternity leave was up, I could not bear the thought of my baby girl spending her days with somebody else. So, I decided that I would not return to work.
I did not get the support I envisioned! People thought I was crazy. How was my family going to survive on a military paycheck (my husband was in the service)? My husband was supportive, but I questioned myself and my value, wondering if my greatest asset to my family was my paycheck. That's when I found you! That day, I was changed forever. You gave me a voice and you helped me to be confident and proud of my decision to be the primary influence in my child's life.
I have constantly been redefining myself in order to remain my kids' mom. As they transitioned to school, I found jobs that allowed me to be available to take them in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon and to attend all their games and events.
Those small children are now 19, 17, and 16. I hear daily what kind-hearted, smart, accomplished, loving children we have. I tell people I am not lucky because this is not an accident. It's because we made the right decision, deciding what had value and what didn't. My youngest said to me the other day "Mom, I'm glad we're not millionaires." I asked why. He said, "Because that would mean you'd be working too much and we wouldn't have as much time together!" It's because of the strength and courage you gave me to go do the right thing, Dr. Laura, that I was able to hear those words from a teenage boy. THANK YOU.
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