I knew, ages ago, that I was going to make the decision not to return to work after my two years of maternity leave was up, but I found that I baulked at making it official. It took me a while to own it, but I realised that I felt I had to be able to justify my decision to other people – I kept wondering what my old colleagues would think, what other mums who’ve gone/are going back to work would say etc etc. Silly, huh.
I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mum. Always. I went into teaching as a way to apply my tertiary study and to give myself purpose, and I enjoyed it and worked hard at it, but I never felt that I was committed to it as a career. Or to any career, to be honest. My aspirations have always centered around family and home making, and I’m lucky that I can now dedicate myself to that.
I definitely feel lucky that it’s an option for our family, financially, to have one of us at home, and that it works so well between B. and I that we get to do what we each love best, while supporting the other to do the same. I think my doubts about other people’s opinions are associated with the expectations it seems society has for women these days – I’m supposed to want a career, it’s supposed to be best for a child to be socialised with his age-peers at some sort of early childhood education centre, especially if he’s (possibly/probably/for now) an only child, heading into the
terrible terrific two’s is the time I should start preferring to have more time away from my child. I felt like I have to have good reasons for wanting to be at home with our little man, that it’s a luxury and therefore not something to be too proud of or boast about. But that makes me quite cross, to be honest – at myself for feeling that way and for anyone who might project that kind of judgement on the decisions we’ve made for our family. I’m a stay-at-home mum because I want to be, because I can be, and because I think there isn’t anything more important that I can be doing with my time than sharing, guiding and witnessing T.’s growing and learning everyday.
And as a bonus, I get to provide for his growing appetite too! Car trips are prime eating time in the middle of the day – the after-activity-on-the-way-home-for-a-nap drive is always accompanied by as creative a lunchbox as I can manage. Fun for everyone (except the carseat that receives a personal offering of most meals…)
And T. appreciates my efforts too 🙂