I started working full time when our first born was 4 months old. I loved my job and saw no intentions of ever staying at home. The idea of staying at home all day and JUST BEING A MOTHER/WIFE sounded boring and unaccomplished. Most would think working at a correctional facility would be enough to make me want to stay home but it wasn’t….I loved it! We got pregnant with our second child when my son was one… yes, I carried her all nine months while working in a prison. Even that didn’t make me want to stay home.
I felt accomplished, strong, financially safe, and I was contributing to the betterment of the world and to my family.
Fast forward almost five years from when I started, we were pregnant with our third child…again I carried her while working in the correctional facility. Our oldest was really starting to become a little boy, he was funny, smart, and full of energy. I started to miss him while I was at work, wondering what his little mind was brewing next. Our middle child, is everything they say a middle child will be, full of spice and vinegar, she was at that stage where she was learning to walk, talk, and her personality was coming out.
When Finnley was born, I knew I couldn’t go back. It was a gut instinct that wouldn’t go away. I kept praying, praying, and praying… the nerves and anxiety wouldn’t subside. With Brad working very inconsistent shifts and being called in, we would go days without seeing each other and he could go a full week without seeing the kids because while he was home they were at daycare. I woke up one morning and swallowed my resistance because I knew what was right. I was playing a tug of war in my head about making something of myself through work or being what my family needed me to be. In my daily reading that morning I read a very common verse but it spoke profoundly to me, “train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) I knew I needed to be home, to train them up the right way or at least attempt.
Financially, we were scared but we knew it was the right thing to do. I put my notice in and we took a leap of faith. It was a very bittersweet moment for me, as I was overwhelmed with joy to be closer to my children but scared of the unknown.
It has been one year since we made that decision and without a doubt it was the best decision (outside of marrying Brad) I have made. It has all worked out and even better in some ways than we had hoped. The relationship I have with my children is so much more in depth than it was a year ago. The relationship we have as a family is stronger, especially the relationship the kids have with Brad. It doesn’t affect us if he gets called in or works a crazy shift because we will be here when he gets home. We have date nights during the week, we have family days at 2pm or 9am instead of waiting for a weekend or one of his days off.
I have so much more respect for stay-at-home parents, raising a family is tough work. There are days where the prison seems like a vacation compared to being at home with three kids fighting, punching, yelling, or peeing randomly on the floor (it happens!). I also have so much more understanding and respect for those parents who work because, you are stronger and more courageous than me. It takes pure strength to hit the 9-5 every day and still clean the house, make dinner, get the kids to practice or heck just a bath, and find time for yourself.
This year, this journey, has taught me patience, unconditional love, to have faith, build a strong spiritual foundation, to be spontaneous, to be adventurous, and to trust in God no matter his plan.
Today, I got to cuddle with my beautiful girl while she decoded. We talked for thirty minutes about princesses and ballet, at the end she said, “mama, when I grow up I want to be a mom just like you.”