November 27, 2010
Never apologize for the choices that you have made in your life. Be authentic.
When my oldest son was born I had to go back to work when he was 7 weeks old. We knew it before we even had him. Our first child had died after her birth in March 1984 and I wanted another child really bad. We waited about 8 months until I got pregnant, knowing that I would have to work after the baby was born. I was fine with that as long as I had another child. I wasn't willing to wait another 3 years to have a baby in order to be able to afford to stay home. Fast forward to the day before I went back to work after he was born.
I was picking our son up from our church nursery after the morning worship service. The minister's wife was in the nursery holding him and as she handed him to me she said "so tomorrow mommy is dropping you off at someone else's house to be raised." I just stared at her and made a comment that we needed my income. Her reply was that I needed to bake my own bread.
Okay, now at that point in our marriage baking bread was not going to be the money saver that was going to allow me to be home full time. Also, I needed support and not criticism at the time. What I should have said was this. "My husband and I agree that my working is the best for our family and we would appreciate that people not stick their nose in our business." I didn't say it as this was the minister's wife and she intimidated me. My husband did make a comment to her later about "not criticizing my wife." I wish I had his boldness.
One year later I had quit my job to stay home with my son. In order to be able to afford to stay home I babysat a little girl who was the same age as our son. So the minister's wife criticized me again by saying that I should be home and focusing on my family, not someone else's child. I responded with "mind your own business." She was so dumbfounded and didn't know what to say. I walked away making no apologies for my life nor did I ever apologize to her for that statement. I always greeted her at church with a smile and put that moment behind me but I was shaken up for quite awhile.
It is very emotional to stand up to people for what you believe and to also realize that you don't have to justify what you do to other people. But in saying that, I realize that we as women are alway seeking approval or validation for what we are doing. No one can live your life, but you. There will always be people who will judge others and want to give them unwanted advice.
I'm home number one because I want to be home and number two, it happened earlier than I had expected due to the loss of my job. I had job opportunities but I turned them down as I saw my situation as an opportunity to finally be home full time.
By being home full time and living on one income, I have made friends and acquaintances uneasy. I make them uneasy as for years, in my circle of friends and acquaintances, we would tell each other that we wanted to leave the rat race and be home for good. Now that I am doing it, it makes them very uncomfortable. The majority of these people really choose to work, whether it is due to retirement money, extra money or really the real reason is that they love their jobs. Own it - and don't feel bad because you are living the life you choose to live whether you hold down a full time job or whether you are home. You may be working full time because you have lost the majority of your retirement due to the recession. Your family may need the extra income and you provide a vital support for your family. Maybe you enjoy your job and would not enjoy being home full time. It's okay. Don't seek to justify to others why you work.
In the alternative, if you have made the switch to being home full time, don't justify that to others either. It is really no one's business the choices we have made. When people ask me what I am doing these days, I tell them that I am home full time. They think it is temporary and I tell them, that this is my new career. I am home for good and am very happy. I usually get a "I wish I could do that" and I respond "I wish you could too." and then I move on in the conversation.
Just live your life ladies and along the way you will always encounter people who will feel that they owe you their opinion. Don't seek justification for the life you are living, whether you are working outside of the home or you are home full time. Enjoy your life, even if you are working and don't want to work. Perhaps you are home and unemployed and want to have a job. In the meantime, enjoy the life you have and "Bloom where you are planted."