A year ago today I published a post on the question of "Where do you see yourself?" In that post, I essentially detailed my vocation - to be a wife and mother - and how so many people, including persons I know personally and respect, fail to understand why I can't "do it all." They may applaud my goal to have as many children as possible, but they raise doubts about the economic feasibility or my own personal level of fulfillment if I don't have a career plus children. And some of their points may be valid. Economic feasibility is definitely a concern for anyone in this day and age, but my husband and I trust that God will provide as we need so long as we are following His plan. When we were preparing for marriage, our priest asked if we would have children, even if money was tight. And the answer was a resounding yes. Any children that God sends our way are an immense blessing, and as long as we accept that blessing with joy, gratitude, and responsibility, He's not going to let them starve. Sure, we might have to cut back on other things - dates; movies; organic food; etc. But never do we want to let our personal financial habits and lifestyle to be something that stands between us and another child.
Over the past year, my husband and I have faced struggles of various sorts, as every couple does, but I firmly believe that our marriage is stronger and grows stronger each day because we work together. We communicate our thoughts, our needs, our goals, and our dreams. We tackle major decisions with discussion, reason, and compromise. And most importantly, we support each other. 16 months of marriage isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things, and I look forward to many, many, many years to come; however, in those 16 months, we've repeatedly been blessed with God's grace, love, and guidance as we tackled each seemingly insurmountable issue that came our way. By no means are we perfect, but I have full faith and trust that together we will follow God's path and build a fulfilling, successful marriage, one that will hopefully be a testament and model to our children.
And speaking of children, here's the main reason for today's post's title - our daughter is due in a few short months. Every day we get closer to seeing her face and holding her in our arms, and I grow more confident that my decision to stay home and raise her (and our future children) is the right one. I am not here to disparage the families where both spouses need to work, for whatever reason. I realize that economic circumstances are not always within our control. And that every family is different. But I do know that for me and my sisters, my mom's decision to stay home full time and homeschool when I was just finishing 2nd grade was one of the BEST decisions she and my dad ever made.
I want to give my daughter everything that she really needs. And she doesn't need the best clothes or all the toys or fancy vacations. She needs my love and attention. She needs my example, and that of my husband, in how to act, how to love God, and how to pursue her relationship with God. She needs our love and support and encouragement on a daily basis. She doesn't need to be raised by strangers because her parents don't feel like staying home. We are truly blessed that we can afford to live on a single income - a tight budget, most definitely, but the sacrifices to that budget pale in comparison to the reward of giving our daughter what she really needs.
And that is why I'm not going to "do it all." I don't need a career to be fulfilled. I have one already. I'm a wife and a mother. Sure, maybe I'll work from home part time - especially if it's a flexible schedule that works around what my family's immediate needs are. Extra income for the future is always nice. But it's not necessary. My responsibility and obligation are to my family, to my vocation, to my husband, and to my daughter. They come first. Not some career. They deserve my full attention and energy and love. And if I stretch myself too thin by trying to "do it all", they are the ones that will truly suffer.
So yeah, society doesn't really understand my decision at all. Several of my old professors and employers don't really understand it either - they support it, which is nice . . . but even now, they still question "Why can't you do it all?" They say, "You've got a great job. It's an easy job. We can make accommodations for your daughter." And my response is that it may be an easy job. The work itself is enjoyable. But the strain of a full-time career is already wearing on me, and I'm just pregnant. I spend the first 11-12 hours of my day on this career, and my vocation as a wife and mother suffers. Because then I have 4 hours in the evening to do everything else that I want to be doing as the wife, the mother, the heart of the household - cooking; cleaning; laundry; shopping. And taking care of my husband. Making sure that his needs are met. And that I'm doing what I should for my growing child - which is insanely difficult when I'm out of the house 12 hours of the day. And the only reason I am sacrificing my time and energy for my husband and child right now is because we discussed it and decided that it is what's best for our family in this moment. To work and save towards the future as much as possible until our darling daughter is born.
I may be physically capable of "doing it all," but I cannot do it all well. And I refuse to sacrifice my family for a career.