For Mother’s Day this year, I’m going to do something almost sacrilegious and dedicate it to my husband. You see, without my husband, there is no way I could be the kind of mother I wanted to be. For the past five years, I have had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom. I know the value of this. When I had my first child with my ex, church mice looked rich compared to us. I didn’t even get to stay home the entire standard six weeks. By the end of the fourth week, despite my lingering nausea, despite all of the complications I had from a difficult birth, I was back at work. Even though I loved my job, even though my mother was my babysitter, and even though I worked close enough to visit during every lunch break, leaving my one-month-old baby to the care of someone else nearly killed me.
This is not me jumping into the working mom vs stay-at-home fracas. I’ve done both, and anyone who thinks it’s easier either way is being rather indulgent in the throwing of their own personal “I have it hardest” pity party. Being a parent is hard work full of difficult decisions and self doubt no matter how you approach it. This is not me saying moms should work or moms should stay home. That’s a family decision. Your family is going to make different decisions than mine. That’s okay. No, that’s more than okay. That’s fantastic. I can only decide what is best for my family, and even then, I’m not always sure. I really don’t want the responsibility of making your decisions for you. Nope, this is me telling you what I wanted and what I wanted was to stay home with my child. There was just no way that was going to happen.
Sometimes life gives you a mulligan. As I’ve shared before, my first marriage did not work out well and I was blessed with a second chance at love. Everything was made new, including my approach to motherhood. This time, I got to stay home. I got to be the one to care for my child and witness every first. I got to be there when my eldest got home from school and never had to ask a soul if I could take time off for his orthodontist appointments. I went on field trips and playdates. And, last week, I graduated with a master’s degree in English Education. None of this would have been possible if I had been working. And, none of this would have been made possible if it weren’t for the hard work of my husband. He carried the financial burden of being the sole provider for our family. He paid for my graduate school with his GI Bill, earned through years of service and deployments.
And now, this fall, my youngest will go to kindergarden and I will go back to work. I’m sad that this time is done, but I am also excited that it is time for him to start school and for me to put all my schooling to good use. I feel so blessed to have had this season of my life and I will treasure it always. This is the mom I always wanted to be and it happened because someone loved me enough to make it possible. So, I find it quite fitting to dedicate this Mother’s Day to my husband and thank him with all of my happy heart!