I mean, I’m not letting someone else raise my kids, she said as she shared her reasoning of why she was going to stay home with her children instead of continuing her career. I smiled and nodded in support, knowing my friend would provide amazing days at home with her little ones. Inside, however, my heart sank. The notion that I, as a full-time-working-outside-the-home-mom, wasn’t raising my own children tied my stomach in knots. Sadness and guilt swept over me as I once again worried I wasn’t being the mom my babies needed because I wasn’t making the same choice to stay at home.
I know my friend didn’t mean to crush me. None of the other stay-at-home-mom friends of mine who had said the same phrase to me before in conversation meant to crush me, either. I completely support the women in my life who stay home with their children because it’s what is best for their families, but I didn’t like the feeling that I was neglecting my precious little ones because I kept my career.
As I drove home after seeing my friend that day, still feeling the weight of her words, I really thought about my life. I thought about the sweet smiles I was about to see when I walked in the door, and I thought about my job and the joy it brings me in a completely different way than my kids do. I suddenly sat up a bit straighter and confidently reminded myself that I have a career, but I’m raising my kids, too.
I’m raising my kids to see how our unique family works together to make our home.
I’m raising my kids to see that their mama worked hard in school and earned two degrees, and I am proud to use my knowledge to positively impact our community.
I’m raising my kids to see that it’s ok for me to choose something different than what some of my friends choose. I’m raising them to see that families can look and function differently, but it doesn’t make one way right or wrong.
I’m raising my kids to appreciate our sweet times together and to make our memories count.
I’m raising my kids to understand how to respect those who help take care of them. They are experiencing first hand that it truly takes a village. I’m raising them to love their family but to also love others.
And on that same thought, I’m raising my kids to see that in a world that sometimes can seem dark and sad, there is also a whole lot of love. From our amazing daycare provider with whom my children spend many hours a week to the church volunteers who watch them play while my husband and I attend service, they have several others pouring love and light into their lives.
I may not spend every moment of every day with them, but they are still growing, still learning, and I’m still loving them with my whole heart.
I’m raising my kids, too.
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