What I Want

When I say that I do not want to be a stay at home mother, it is because I want something else. Watch the clip below to see an example of the sort of life I would love to have for my children. I am not attracted by the particular sort of work done by the parents, but I love watching their shared involvement in raising their children well and the woman’s lesson in accepting her husband’s parenting style.

I want to be open to living life well with all of its surprises. At this point I do not want to ever be a stay at home mother for more than a few months at a time. But I am well aware that reality changes things and the future is full of surprises. I know parents whose lives and goals have been turned upside down by the birth of a perfectly average baby. I know adopted children who have needed their parents to take a sabbatical to help them adjust to their new family. I know children with special needs who have needed 24hours of focused parenting every day. I want to happily adjust to whatever it is that I end up with in life, whether that is children whose needs preclude other work, or an entirely childless life.

I want my children to be fully parented by both myself and my husband. One of the things that most attracted me to Josh was his love of children. In my mind, children are an essential part of marriage. I did not want to have a spouse who would support me in parenting, I wanted someone who would share it with me completely.

At first I would not even consider a relationship with Josh because he is generally a pretty conservative guy and I had no interest in being a SAHM of a huge family. But it turned out that Josh not only agreed with me philosophically and theologically, he also had career goals and techie skills which meshed with the ideal of shared parenting.

I want to support my husband in achieving his dreams. I encounter many mothers who love writing and take advantage of their husbands’ steady incomes in order to develop both their writing ability and their connections. This is great, and I suspect that it allows them to be better mothers than they would be if they spent every waking moment focused entirely on their children.

In our house though, the dream of being a published author belongs to Josh, not to me. If I work, then Josh will not only be able to choose clients based upon the appeal of the project rather than the money, he will also have time to write and do all the work involved with getting published. It is likely that Josh will also pursue further education based upon interest rather than income-earning potential, and perhaps become a Deacon well before the typical retirement age. These thing all seem crucial to Josh living the fullest life possible, but very few of them would work out if I did not have a career outside of our home.

I want to have children at home for many years. Some people assert that being a stay at home mother is a very short season in life. I know one couple who plan to have 6 children in 10 years, homeschool, and have the children grown and out of the house before the parents are 50. Many other families have 2 or 3 children close in age and the mother stays home full time only until the youngest begins school.

Josh and I are in our mid-twenties and we hope to be blessed with a child sooner rather than later. But we also hope to continue to be blessed with children for quite a while. It is quite reasonable to expect that when I am 50 there will still be HIV+ orphans in desperate need of good parents and reliable medication.

Josh is quite happy to think of still having children in our home at the point when his friends are retiring. So if life turns out according to plan (ha!) then we will have young children and teens in our home for quite a while. Given the choice, we would much rather be able to afford more children with me working rather than fewer children with me being a SAHM. It is a personal call, and the one that seems best to us at this point.

I want to be away from my children enough to be fully alive when I am with them. I have seen how my mother is better able to care for my younger siblings now that she has more time away from her children, and I want to start off with the advantage that took her 20+ years to learn. I watched my sisters as they were really at home virtually all of the time when their children were babies. And while they loved their children, they were miserable. I believe that it will be better for my children to have me happy and healthy and with them most of the time then to have me forcing myself through the motions of motherhood all of the time.

And I want to live life as fully as possible by giving as much of myself as possible. I do not feel that I have something special to contribute to society. But I know that women in general make “an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture” in the public workforce, and I cannot justify thinking that I do not need to contribute at all simply because I do not have some particularly brilliant talent to share.

What do you want? If you are already a parent, how has reality changed your plans and dreams?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

12 thoughts on “What I Want

  1. Katie

    “I want to be away from my children enough to be fully alive when I am with them.” Wow. As a teacher, I can fully appreciate that concept. Very well said, Rae. This was beautifully written, as well as developed with a compelling thoughfulness.

  2. Kathleen

    This is very well thought out. And I have to say that I adore that video. I almost never make it all the way through an embedded video unless it’s under a minute. This one? I glanced down to see how much was left, and I was at 6:21. Thanks for sharing. It was very affirming…expect to see a post on that video soon. :)

    1. Rae Post author

      I think that I’ve watched parts of that video at least 20 times since I found it last year. I am glad that you took time to watch it! I look forward to your post.

  3. Michelle

    What I have wanted HAS changed as we have added to our family. I know, though, that my husband and I fully share in the parenting experience. I work full-time at an 8-5, M-F job. My husband works nights and weekends with Tues-Wed off work. So, he cares for the children while I am at work and I care for the children while he is at work and/or sleeping (on the weekends). I suppose when I think about it…some people might think I have the ideal world…if ideal is where the parenting is split 50-50 along with two full-time jobs. I think the one thing I wish we had more of was consolidated all-family time. We get what we can (on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and during the days on Saturday and Sunday)…and thankfully, we still make it to Mass as a family all the time and we make time for family prayer. But…sometimes I hope for a schedule change where perhaps my husband got four 10-hour shifts with three consecutive days off every week….and one of those days be one of my days off. Oh well…can’t truly have it all I suppose. :)

    Love your post…

    1. Rae Post author

      I hope that your husband’s schedule does change so that you can have more family time. I know that we won’t be able to have everything, but I really hope that by having one spouse who can set his own work schedule we’ll be able to have more time together… but there is always something to be cut, and I don’t think that I can really know what we’ll have to cut until the time comes.

      Thanks for sharing your situation!

  4. That Married Couple

    I was trying to figure out what it was that I liked about this post, and I finally realized: it’s that clearly you’ve put (your own) family first, and that you’re flexible. You know the deepest desires of both you and your husband, and you want what is best for each individual family member along with the whole. And you’re of course smart enough to realize that this may call for different working situations at different times.

    Thanks for sharing your vision, Rae!

  5. Claire

    I enjoyed reading this post and I hope to get back to the computer and write a little of what I “have wanted” and what “I want now”. First, though, I want to ask, what did you mean by this portion:

    And I want to live life as fully as possible by giving as much of myself as possible. I do not feel that I have something special to contribute to society. But I know that women in general make “an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture” in the public workforce, and I cannot justify thinking that I do not need to contribute at all simply because I do not have some particularly brilliant talent to share.

    1. Rae Post author

      I am looking forward to your comment about what you have wanted and what you want now!

      I was raised in a subculture that thought that women had an important contribution to make to the world, but that that entire contribution took place in their individual homes through their service to their husbands and children. Now my belief is that women, like all humans, must contribute in every sphere. Every area is better when filled with the important contributions of both men and women. And there are many areas where women do not make contributions- sometimes because they are busy with more valuable child-raising, and sometimes because they do not see the point.

      So I don’t see myself as some amazing exception to the women-should-stay-home rule. I see myself as an average woman who has something valuable to contribute to society in the public sphere because women as a whole must make important contributions to the public sphere.

  6. Pingback: Eternally Thankful : Guest Post at NoWealthButLife.com « Bradley Birth « Sarah Joy Albrecht

  7. Jordan

    I just happened to find your blog this morning but I’ve already read a ton; you hit on a lot of great topics that I have on my mind often! This is how I feel as well, especially your wish to be fully alive when you’re with your children most of the time, rather than partially alive being with them all of the time. That’s how it seems to work out for me, anyways. I think whether working or staying at home, it definitely won’t benefit your children for you to be absolutely miserable (and the thought of “but this is the RIGHT choice!” according to some other person or book will not be very consoling when you’re losing your mind). I also really enjoyed that video; I don’t know about “trying” to parent in one style or another (which I guess is the point of the video, although it feels like giving another name like “Free Range” does sort of paint it as yet another option), I’ve sworn off any articles on parenting, and I threw away my “What to Expect the First Year” after the section on “let your sexual being baby play with his/her genitals”. I never feel enlightened or aided by reading anything of the sort; I only ever feel more insecure if I give in and read things like that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers