I’ve always wanted to be a wife and a mother from the earliest time I can remember. As a little girl my favorite toys and pretend games revolved around role-playing the wife-husband and mother-child relationships. I love being at home, being a wife and a mom. It’s been a wonderful 9 years of it so far.
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I haven’t always been encouraged in this role, however. It seems that the world today encourages us to seek other options as we’re growing up, instead of equipping us and preparing us to fulfill our roles in the home, if we so desire.
If you are happy and proud to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I’d like to challenge you to believe in yourself.
I am PROUD to be a Wife and Homeschooling Mom
As a young child, I never envisioned myself as being anything other than a wife and mother when I grew up. It’s not that I wasn’t encouraged to pursue other interests. I wasn’t raised in an anti-feminist home. It’s just that I embraced what I felt was right in my play, and I hoped and dreamed about my future husband and children. It felt normal and natural.
I wasn’t discouraged from dreaming about those things. However, I wasn’t taught to believe it was an admirable goal in and of itself to be a wife and mother. I was encouraged to make good grades in school, have goals and meet them, and I always knew it was expected that I would go to college and have a career outside the home. My mom was a working mom for the majority of my youth (she was a stay at home mom only until my younger sister went to Kindergarten).
No one said I couldn’t be a wife and mom. However, teachers and counselors, friends and family praised me for my good grades and my potential to succeed in a future career. The question, “What will you be when you grow up?” was met with the expected answer – the listing of several careers I was interested in pursuing one day. I excelled in school, and as I grew up people told me over and over that I should pursue something big, that I’d be a success in any career I chose. I was “smart enough” and “capable enough” to get into a good college and get a good job. So that’s what I did. When I graduated from high school I applied and was accepted to college.
I began my studies in a promising major – Pharmacy. I was going to be a pharmacist. I’d be financially secure and respected in my career path. My parents were proud. My teachers in high school were proud. My extended family was cheering me on. It felt good, but somehow it didn’t feel …right. My heart just wasn’t in it. I never really understood why until years later, but I quietly attended my classes, studied hard, and made everyone proud.
When I decided to switch my major to Psychology no one batted an eye. I was lucky to have such freedom to choose for myself, and I found out that those who were encouraging me to do Pharmacy truly only wanted the best for me. They accepted my change in major, and graciously let me enjoy learning all about mental illness and diagnoses, counseling and career options. I thoroughly enjoyed the subjects and I ended up graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Religion. I planned to be a Christian counselor. It was a well-laid plan, very smart and would be a great career for me. Again, everyone who knew me was proud. I graduated with honors, and was accepted into a graduate counseling program to go on to get my Master’s degree.
In the meantime, I got engaged. I had met my husband during my freshman year in college, and we had dated all four years. He proposed our senior year and we were married that summer. The wedding was a blur of perfect bliss and being surrounded by people who loved us and supported us.
Life was going beautifully, even better than planned. I had never been happier. We began our new life together with hope and enjoying the newlywed life. We had a tiny little one-bedroom apartment, and since my graduate school was over an hour and a half away, I decided to go to work instead of pursuing that graduate degree in counseling. I had no doubts at all in my mind that I was making a good decision, and it didn’t take me anytime at all to decide to let that career choice “go.” I worked in preschools in various capacities and was perfectly happy. I loved kids, and looked forward to having my own someday soon.
Doubting What the World Would Have Me Do
I don’t really know when it began to bubble up in my conscious thoughts again that I really wanted to be a stay at home wife/mom. I began to realize that the only reason I ever even went to college or considered graduate school was because that’s what I was “supposed” to do. I was supposed to have a full-time career outside the home. After all, that’s what everyone else did. I didn’t know any other stay at home wives/moms (besides those in my mother’s generation).
Everyone I knew had a career, and I recognized that I would be embarrassed to admit out loud that I secretly just wanted to stay at home, keep house, and start a family. I felt like everyone would say I was just being “lazy” or “backwards.” So I kept my thoughts to myself.
Besides, I didn’t have children yet and the only reason why women stay at home is to keep their children because childcare is so expensive, right? I had adopted the perception of reality that if you can work, you should work. You should live in a big house, you should have a nice car, and you should have two-point-five kids, and you should put them in childcare so you can pursue your ultimate goal in life – your career. And if you can do all that and make ends meet then you were successful as a wife and mother.
But somehow I never believed all that deep down. My heart longed for fulfilling days at home loving my husband, keeping the house clean, paying bills, prepping meals, running errands, and raising children. When would those days come?
I decided to get my Master’s in teaching. I’m not really sure why, but I think I chose teaching because I truly loved kids, and my heart’s desire was to make a difference in the world and help people – it always has been. What other career choice could I have made that wasn’t more perfect? I thought. I realize now that my heart just wanted children of my own and I was more than ready to start a family. But still, I enjoyed teaching back then and I thought it was a good career choice for me.
Upon graduation, I began teaching public school. We bought our first house. We had two reliable cars and plenty of spending money to use on whims and luxuries. We had it made. We were the perfect happy young married couple without children. And to the outside world, it seemed like we had it all. Our friends who had children were sometimes envious, telling us that we were so “free” and to soak it up while it lasted because once we had kids “everything would change.” As if it was something bad I realized. As if it was something we needed to plan for, no – brace ourselves for.
God’s Plans are Always Good
So we were “responsible,” because that’s what we were supposed to do – to wait to have kids until we were financially stable, had a house and two jobs, two nice cars, plenty of grocery budget and to be able to afford childcare. We were doing all the right things everything that society told us we should do. But it never happened – we were never “ready.” We didn’t quite feel like we were financially stable enough, had a house big enough, had a car reliable enough, or jobs that were steady enough… we would have waited forever. There would have never been a “perfect” time, we began to realize.
To our surprise, our first baby was conceived in spite of preventative measures. Oops! We were shocked, and thrown a bit off course by the sudden change in plans, but we were both elated to find out. It was a wonderful whirlwind of a year, and after she was born I took the maximum amount of maternity leave possible as a teacher, 12 weeks, and then went back to work.
I did what I thought all moms this day in age should do, I went back to work so I could help provide all the things she needed. I put her in an in-home childcare and left her for 10+ hours a day while I taught school as a public school teacher.
Struggles as a Working Mom
I tried to do it right. But it just wasn’t making sense. Nothing did. I felt like I was working so much and missing out on so much.
I remember the battle of trying to keep my milk production up while working 10 hours a day, and only having one 20-minute break period to pump (and scarf down my lunch at the same time). Breastfeeding ended way too abruptly.
I spent so much physical time and emotional energy on those kids in my classroom and had nothing left for my own child when I got home. There were so many mothering moments missed during that first year and a half of my oldest child’s life, because I was too drained when I got home from work to do much else than feed her, bathe her, and put her to bed. Her infancy was over before I knew it.
I have very little memories of my first child’s earliest developmental milestones or even moments that I had with her. I knew in my heart that I was missing out. She was walking, and I didn’t even see her first steps. She was talking (Spanish before English because her babysitter was Hispanic), and I didn’t even teach her – or know what she was trying to say half the time. I regretted those missed opportunities to teach her myself.
Each day that went by I longed more and more to be able to be at home with my child, and I began to realize that that’s where I truly belonged.
I tried to “stick it out” and do what I was “supposed” to do. I would cry on my way to work in the mornings and on my way home from work in the evenings. There were times at night after I had rocked her to sleep where I would just stare at her and just choke back the tears.
I desperately knew my time with her was precious and very limited. It was going by so quickly and I was missing it. I was missing almost all of it.
One day I completely broke down and had to admit it to myself and my husband what I wanted, what I needed. My heart was at home, and that’s where I wanted and needed to be. I believe that God placed that desire there, and He was calling me to pay attention to it. In His perfect timing, God was placing a desire on my husband’s heart for me to be at home with our child too.
Quitting Work Outside the Home
When my husband and I decided that I would stay at home, we stopped worrying about the details and just did it. We did it on faith that we would somehow survive. We felt like God was calling us to do this, and we had faith that he would provide the way. At the time I didn’t even know that he would eventually call me to homeschool too.
When I first left work to stay at home, I only had one child, and she was 22 months old. I was happy to be able to spend every minute seeing Laynie grow and learn and bond with her the way that I hadn’t been able to before. I began following a daily preschool routine with her because it just came naturally. A year or so later we formed what seemed to be a completely natural conclusion to go ahead and homeschool our child (and any future children).
And here we are, 9 years later – still homeschooling and loving it!
Peace Became the Prioritized Luxury
It was so worth it. I was happy. My husband was happy because I was happy. When he came home from work I wasn’t stressed out or depressed. I was happy and fun to be around because I was able to be, I wasn’t emotionally drained from a long day at work. He benefitted because he was able to go to work and come home to a happy, peaceful setting and just enjoy spending time with his contented wife and child.
We were at peace. I no longer felt like crying or complaining about anything. I no longer felt overwhelmed and miserable. I could actually enjoy the time that I spent with my child. And I could actually be supportive and affirming to my husband. In contrast, while I was working I was taking antidepressants and going to counseling for obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression. I was having panic attacks at work. I was going to a chiropractor weekly for adjustments because of the tension in my neck that was giving me chronic headaches. Within a month of quitting work and finding peace at home – where I knew without a doubt that I was supposed to be – I was able to quit all of that. It was as though I had been miraculously healed.
I understand now that I did not have a “biologically destined” mental disorder but that I was just stressed and overwhelmed and I was in a place that I was not called to be. I was made to be at home. For the longest time I tried to listen what the world would tell me to do, and I was unhappy.
Although we lost over half our income when I quit work, and we’ve had to make A LOT of financial sacrifices, we consider my work at home as an “investment” in our children. Luxuries have long been left behind, and although we’ve sorely missed them, we know that we’re investing in peace, joy, and contentment. I may talk about homeschooling being “free and frugal” here on my blog – but in reality, it’s very expensive with what we’ve given up in order to be able to do it. However, I wouldn’t trade the God-given peace we’ve gained for anything in the world.
My Heart is in the Home
The realization didn’t come until a few years of being a Stay-at-Home mom that I was simply created to be one. That’s where my heart always was. It’s just the way God made me. My thoughts are always on my husband, my home, and my children. I am fulfilled in being at home. I wouldn’t have chosen any other “career.”
I believe God has put a godly desire in mothers to keep our homes, serve our husbands, and raise our children. When counseling younger women, I am always quick to tell them to listen to their heart’s desires when choosing a career, a husband, or whether to begin to have children. I believe God places those desires in our hearts and blesses us when we listen to them.
That’s why nine years after leaving the workforce, I still have no regrets. My husband has none either and has been a huge support, working so hard to bring home barely enough for us to make ends meet all these years. I’m very proud of him supporting a family on so little, and doing it with joy and self-sacrifice (while technically being able to qualify as disabled with a chronic medical condition). He’s an amazing man and I’m so grateful to him.
We now have three children, and we plan to homeschool all of them for as long as God calls us to. Laynie (11) is moving into 6th-grade homeschool this fall, and when given the choice, still wants to be homeschooled. That blesses my heart, and I want to make that possible for her for as long as she desires. I’ve been prayerfully considering putting Lily (5) into public school this coming year and Liam (3) into half-day preschool, just temporarily since I’ve got a promising work-at-home graphic design and virtual assisting business right now that I’d like to spend a little more time on pursuing. We need some income from me so we can make some major home repairs that are needed right now, and pay off some medical bills we’ve accrued. So Chris and I are always praying for wisdom as we reassess our options each summer.
Even if things change dramatically and God tells us we’re not supposed to homeschool at all anymore I would feel at peace with that. I’ve learned to do whatever I feel God is leading me to do, and I’ve seen Him bless us in so many ways by our obedience.
If your husband enables you, and you know in your heart that it’s the right thing for you and your family, simply ignore those who aren’t supportive of your role as a wife and mother. When you trust and obey God’s will for you, you will be truly happy and have no regrets.
There is nothing wrong with being a Stay-at-Home, homeschooling wife and mother. Embrace it proudly if you want to make it your “career” goal – it’s truly your biggest achievement in life!
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