The stay at home mom and the American Dream

“Forever is composed of nows.” 
― Emily Dickinson

Since my son was born 5 years, ago, I’ve been “just” a stay at home mom. Maybe it’s time for a change? I was feeling ambitious earlier this summer and decided to return to school. After all, I only have about 20 credits left to complete my degree in English, journalism concentration. I need to finish it. So, I started filling out papers, completing requirements, making phone calls. I looked into options for internships.

I lined up babysitters to cover my very light school schedule. I plotted and planned and made excel worksheets.

But after I arrived home from one such planning session the other day, my newly-walking 11-month-old practically ran to greet me, smiling a huge, now-toothy smile, and I thought, Why would I leave now?

I am fortunate to be able to work from home 90% of the time. I am also fortunate in that my husband likes me being a stay-at-home-mom, even though money gets tight. And I love it. I love being the one who is always there for them. I love teaching them and I love the woman they’re teaching me to be. I know not every mom wants to stay home with the kids, but I do.

My now is perfect. That’s right, my pre-schooler just gave my toddler a bloody nose, and I’m calling this Stay at Home Mom gig perfect. Finishing my degree may open new, heavier, more expensive doors for me (I’m speaking in metaphor here), but doors only allow you to exit the place you are now. I’m confident that even the most tempting door could not lead to a place of improved happiness… not now.

I might still take one class. I might still do an internship… I’m waiting for guidance and peace to lead me. But I’m determined not to throw away my happiness in the name of Success, Pride, or The American Dream.

Returning to work or school seems the respectable thing to do. But I look into these sweet faces staring up at me, and I know what I want. I want Stay at Home Mom to be my primary title.

I want them to know that when I could choose to put them first, I did. I want to be there for all the first giggles and last diapers and everything in between. I’ve heard it said that “the days are long, but the years are short.” I know these years are fleeting and I’ll spend much of my life remembering them, missing them.

So I choose joy now. I choose to stay neck-deep in legos and wipes and straight-up chaos. My highest calling now is to be a steady and compassionate presence in my kids’ lives. My biggest assignment is to show them Jesus… not just through teaching. Not just through Sunday school. But by living it out in front of them. By struggling and being afraid and failing before them so they can see what it is to get back up, to try again, to lean on Him. I can do all this best from home.

There is a time to choose Tomorrow. To sacrifice your fun for the sake of your future… but young motherhood is not that time for me. It is the time to choose their tomorrow. And to do that, I must choose my Now.

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