This post is part of our motherhood series. You can see all the posts here.
I had it all figured out. I was pregnant, about to pop and was certain I needed to tie up loose ends nicely, and soon. After all, once this baby comes and I am at home “relaxing and recovering” for 6 weeks, I will want to make sure everybody at the office knows right where my stuff is. I wanted my bosses and co-workers to miss me and want me back.
Then I decided to spring for the whole 3 months of maternity leave. After six weeks, I was no where near ready to go back to work.
As the 3 months came to a close, I was asked by the managing partner at my firm: “Nikki, when are you coming back? We need to iron out the details.” Fortunately this was in an email. The lump in my throat would have been very noticable had it been face to face or over the phone.
I wasn’t going back. Ever. I had found my calling. This is where I would be working for the rest of my life. I was a mother now. I didn’t have time anymore for my “job.”
My husband and I had both grown up with stay-at-home moms so this was not a foreign concept to us. I will say, however, that we were both loving the double-income life and the fun that comes with it. So we were torn. We were at the crossroads beween financial freedom (meaning good income and confidence in making ends meet with both employed) and family health.
We made the decision for me to stay at home. We knew we couldn’t have it any other way. Though we “knew” it almost instantly, we had to come up with our reasons so we could “justify it” to others. Friend, please don’t feel like you need to justify this decision. You aren’t sitting on your couch eating ding-dongs all day, while watching soap operas. You are working. It is hard, challenging, trying and amazing. There isn’t an ounce of it that needs to be justified.
But we did (because nobody at that point had told me I didn’t need to!). Just in case you are trying to figure out if you should leave the workforce or perhaps you are just curious why people do leave the workforce, here are a few reasons why we decided this was the right decision for us. And let me stress that I may have left the work force but I sure didn’t stop working!
I didn’t want to miss anything. I felt like I was going to miss the first steps, the first belly laugh and the first “mama.” I know that makes all mama’s sad so that doesn’t set me apart much from any mom.
I also realized the cost for daycare is really expensive. When I weighed the cost of day care plus fuel and the painstaking personal days for sick kids, homesick kids and so on, I just wasn’t sure there was much of a financial gain. There was, but not enough (for me) to outweigh missing all of the little things.
But then there is my real reason. The big bang for why I stayed home (and continue to stay home):
I felt it was my calling.
To me I couldn’t wrap my head around training my child when I was behind my desk at work, away from my child.
Proverbs 22:6 ,”Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Okay, you may say “you teach your child before and after day care. And on the weekends.” But for me, that wasn’t enough:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:5-6 ESV (emphasis mine).
As I was writing this post I looked into the word “diligently.” Yes, I know what the word means, but I always find more insight when I look in the dictionary. According to the dictionary, diligent is an adjective that means: “constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything; done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking:”
Wow. Let’s put that into motherhood terminology:
I need to teach them constantly so that I can accomplish what the Lord is commanding me. I need to be attentive and persistent, going to any lengths necessary to teach them about Jesus Christ, their Maker! It will be hard and painstaking but I must persevere!
So there you have it. That sums up why I decided to stay home rather than return to my full time job.
This is my conviction. I don’t assume the Holy Spirit will convict everyone in the same manner. I know that He has a plan for each of us. But for my family, we will be diligent in teaching our children and for me, that means I stay home!
Did you leave the workforce? What led you to that decision?