Monday, January 10, 2011

Opting Out - My perspective, My reality

I weighed in on mamapundit's blog earlier this week discussing "Opting Out" and it's effects on a woman's financial security. She and another well written blogger, Katy Reid wrote about how their time as stay at moms offered future issues and even regret as unseen issues forced them unexpectedly back into the work force.

Articles like these always provide motivation for introspection - helloooo....I am a former Career Gal who chose - voluntarily - to become a Stay at Home Mom. I didn't lose my job - I quit. I didn't just quit - I quit in the middle of one of the most economically unstable periods of our life time. I quit with no intention of returning to the life of hotels, make up, suits, meetings, deadlines, sales calls, and endless driving. I instead chose the position of full time Mommy - all the household accommodations, and parenting responsibilities fell now on my shoulders. I didn't receive a raise with such position, that's for sure.

Pretty much everyone raises their eyebrows in response  - I usually smile and do the same. I know it's um...crazy. People can say that it's selfish, irresponsible, and a huge mistake. People can also compliment it as being brave, traditional, and necessary. Me? I think it is simply what is best for me and my family, at these moments.

Am I sacrificing a few years of work history on my resume? Yes, obviously. Will that effect my marketability in the future? I don't think so. I think I speak for myself. I am confident in who I am, and what abilities I possess. I have 10 years of work history in the Hospitality Field - with 6 of them being with the same company in escalating positions of various faucets. I haven't lost my talents just because I am home. That woman is still there - she's just put on hold a bit as I do what is right for my heart and my family.

Are we suffering a major loss financially? Yes, of course. You couldn't logically say otherwise. The numbers do not lie.  Nor do they ever really work out when you think of all of the future cost on paper - I'm talking in addition to the growing necessities, school sports, cheerleading, activities, proms, driving (OMG. I literally have to stop writing in that direction, I just aged my kids wayyyy too much!! Lord. )

Am I totally relying 100% on Wilo to provide for us? Yes, most definitely. Is he doing it? Absolutely. He makes big sacrifices and works very hard for us. Are our needs met? Yup. We certainly don't live a life of luxury but we are cared for. We live simply - but it suits us...we were hippies, you know..... Is it fair to him to have to do it on his own? I don't know - After contributing financially for so many years, it's very different to NOT, especially when I CAN. So...I'll get back to you on that one. All I can say is that I am so forever grateful for him doing this for me and our children.

Many are quick to point out how insecure the tenures of marriages are, and how divorce is unarguably common. I know for a fact that my marriage could end tomorrow - many marriages will. We don't have any guarantee.

All I can say is we could not do this with out the Holy, Supernatural Hand of God, and His Son Jesus. You may roll your eyes when you read that but it's the truth. As I've said before - I'm not a Church Gal, but I'm a Jesus Gal. I trust him to see us through and keep us married. I pray for it daily. Wilo and I have had a very deep, rapid, intense bond since we met and our connection is very strong and I trust God to secure that.

Am I gonna regret all of this one day?

Possibly. I mean, I could end eating my words up and regretting it. I've learned to never say never. But, I don't think so. I wasn't a full time mommy while I was working, and when my top two were born. I was young, ambitious, successful and very work focused. I didn't catch many milestones -I never witnessed Jake or Abby's first steps. I didn't hear Abby say Mama for the first time, or countless other events. When they were infants and toddlers I spent dinner time, bath time and bedtime with them. That was it. Then Raegan came along 7 years later and I really felt jipped out of the motherhood deal in spite of that. I started to resent working.

Babies are majestic. Childhood is magical. Aging is definite. To be able to witness that without outside distraction is a privilege, and one I don't take lightly. Not everyone can do it. I am incredibly thankful to have this time, and happy to make the sacrifice. I know what it's like to miss it with every fiber of your being- and I am very grateful that we were blessed with two younger children to heal my heart, and for making the bond between my older two children so different, special and unique.

Our time while I was working drew us very close together - despite the hours being few. No doubt. It's actually a really fun dynamic when you all have your 'jobs' - and of course, it's fun to treat yourself to extra pleasures as a family. It's nice to have "things". I'm not at all certain I will do this forever, and find that I sometimes miss my career life very deeply.

Overall, you do what you have to do and as my dad would say: If you can look at yourself in the mirror every day and if you have things right with the Big Guy, then keep on doing what you are doing. As my heavenly father would say - , accept my forgiveness and do not worry about tomorrow for each day has enough trouble of it's own.

Whether you are a hard working super mom or a stay at home goddess, make the most of the time you have with your children no matter their age. Stand strong in your decisions and do the best you can to savor the moments together. Remember, they love you regardless and grow much too quickly.