There has been something weighing on my mind the past couple of months. I have had multiple experiences with mothers and women who do not have children, that speak of them as if they are a burden or an inconvenience. I get it. When women get together they like to joke around about their kids. And since I dont like to be a buzz kill or put myself in a position where I feel vulnerable stating my opinion, I usually give a half hearted chuckle and agree and try to move the conversation along. Truth be told. My kids are the greatest thing I have ever done in my entire life. Ever. They are my greatest accomplishment. And yes, while I am aware that I havent given birth to my second child yet…the moment I became pregnant with her, I became a mother of two. Because I fully believe that the moment of conception brings life. So there’s my stance on that.
Bailey is my whole world. And I count down the days where she can meet her baby sister Claire. I wouldnt trade being a stay at home mom for anything on this planet. Nothing. You could offer me a million dollars and I still would turn it down. (Now I realize I am blessed to be able to stay at home and not have to work. This is in no way a stab at mothers who have to work to make ends meet. You do what you have to do to survive. I commend you.) But if given the choice to work or stay home. I will absolutely stay home. I feel like the world is becoming more and more hostile towards women and child rearing. There are scoffs and eye rolls over the term “homemaker.” I have actually been in conversations where I have felt like I had to be embarrassed because I was home full time with my kids. The women will talk about their careers and what they are accomplishing, and once I state that I stay home…there is a beat of silence and pity in their eyes. I want to shake them and be like I choose this life! I choose to be a mommy full time! I have had plenty of jobs before becoming a mother. A few of which I thoroughly enjoyed. And my best day and best accomplishments at work still pale in comparison to what it is like to get a hug and kiss from my Bailey in the morning. I have a Bachelors Degree. “Why would you get a degree if you dont plan to use it?” Because education is important to me. I value learning and growth. I want to be able to share all of the knowledge I can to my children. That is my personal decision. And I have no regret. I could probably get a “dream job” if I wanted to. But guess what….raising my kids are my dream job! Plus I have a safety net in the future, should our financial situation change.
I love my kids! Every piece of them. My kids are not a burden. They are not something that is “interrupting” my life. They ARE my life. I absolutely believe in sacrificing to make their lives more secure. I get frustrated with women who believe that their kids are a nuisance, and that they could be doing more fulfilling things in their lives if they werent “held back.” I am not saying being a mommy is easy. It is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And I am not immune to sobbing sessions at midnight in the kitchen, candy snacks to stop a tantrum in public, counting down the milliseconds until daddy comes home so I can eat a container of ice cream in peace, and flashes of frustration over putting shoes on for 30 minutes. I am not a perfect mother by any means. But those are moments in motherhood. Yes, sometimes those moments are frequent in some stages, but they are moments. When I look back at my young motherhood journey thus far, the whole picture is what comes to mind. My heart is warmed by the hugs, cuddles, kisses, and proud moments of seeing Bailey understand concepts and ideas. I love hearing her laugh and giggle. I love watching her explore rocks and sand, and the fact that she cannot pass by a single stick without picking it up. She will also make sure to quickly find a stick for me because she wants us both to have one. She wants to share her happiness with me. She will play with kids in a play group and I notice she will check for me every few minutes to make sure I am still right there. She will lay down with me in the mornings and turn over to look me right in the eyes and search my soul. And I feel her soul connect with mine. I feel a love so strongly between us, that I know that I would never want to miss a single opportunity to have that divine connection with her.
I would give anything and everything to make sure that she is happy and taken care of. I live for her now. And for all of my kids. I live for them. I am sure some feminist women would get fired up over that statement and give me grief over it. And I get so frustrated with that. You do you and let me do me. If you want to work and find fulfillment in your life in other avenues, go ahead. Because guess what. We have agency for a reason. I dont lose sleep over what you do. I choose my kids. I respect your decision, so please respect mine.
Now, do I believe that the best scenario for kids to grow up in is a father and mother, with the mother staying home with the children? Yes. I am what you would call “traditional” these days. My faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) came out with a very amazing document a while back called “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which was inspired to give us guidance on how we should be as families here on this earth. My favorite section is this:
“The Family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.”
(If you would like to review the entire document, here is the link: https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&_r=1)
These are my personal beliefs. Yes, I have a right to my beliefs. Yes, these are how I feel would be the best way to raise children and a family. No I will not attempt to change anyone’s mind who choose to live differently than me. Again, we have agency. I am merely frustrated that I have kept my mouth shut for so long on a topic that I am so passionate about and that is near and dear to my heart. Why does the world get to shove in my face their opinions, but I am afraid to share my own?
I made the decision when I married Adam that I would never speak ill of him to people in a manner that would demean him or hurt his feelings if he were to hear it. (Luckily we have a playful relationship where we can lightly make fun of eachother and laugh about moments where we would do a ‘face palm’.) I made the same decision about my kids. They will not hear me say they are a burden. They will not hear me say that I am “counting down the days until they leave.” I will not speak about them in front of anyone that would cause them to look at me with confusion and hurt in their eyes. Of course I have hard days. I vent my hard days to my husband, or my mom, or my best friend. I vent that Bailey had a blow out right in the middle of the target parking lot. I vent that I have had zero sleep in weeks. I vent that the pickyness stage of eating is making things tough. It is a relief knowing other moms can struggle with similar frustrations of eating and sleeping and tantrum habits. And I am all for discussion and comparing notes and laughing through the tears. But they will not be personal attacks. I will not vent about how I wish my life was different. That I have regrets. I dont miss my “old life,” before having kids. My life was different then, with different challenges and things that made me happy. I have never felt this particular level of fulfillment, joy, and purpose in my life until having kids. I obviously love my husband more than he can imagine. And I love him even more so now in his father role. We lift each other up and support one another. We are a team. We are a family.
They are not a burden. I need to have the courage to speak more about how I feel. I have been so afraid of “offending” anyone, (specially when anything and everything causes some form of uproar) that I leave my own beliefs buried inside.
I cherish my family.
They are sacred to me.
I wouldnt change a thing.
These are our Bits O’ Bertoch.