I have been a stay at home Mom (SAHM) for 16 years now and of late had begun to question myself as to whether my being around the house had benefitted my children.On a recent trip to the bookstore while driving back 2 happy kids I proceeded with great naivety to pose my dilema to them. Did they think my being a SAHM had greatly enriched their childhood.? My preteen, always politically correc, son immediately quipped ” Absolutely mom” . Exactly the words my sagging ego needed to hear. I grinned and with bated breath waited for my teen to respond. She chose to look away. Being of the fairer sex herself she knew that I rarely asked for other people’s true opinions with the intention of knowing what they had to say. More often than not I wanted to hear what I wanted to hear. She knew if she erred in choosing her words the woman in the driver’s seat was certainly not divine enough to forgive and that error on her part would probably lead to the commencement of a long well rehearsed speech that began with “Really? after all the things I have done for you……”
Piercing silence ensued . At that minute it seemed as if the purpose of my whole life hinged on her response. While she played the waiting game I heard my bff, my inner voice, say “Look for the answer within . The child never asked you to be a stay at home mom. It was your heartfelt decision. ” Sharp ,crisp images flashed by in my mind. Moments I had spent with them,just being there ,watching them grow. Their first words,their first steps and our wonderful soaring journeys to the land of imagination every time we read the magical world of Winnie the Pooh or Thomas the tank engine. Memories so fresh they filled my heart with joy. It then dawned on me. I didn’t give up my career for them…I did it for me. Each moment that I had spent to play ball with them,read to them ,mould clay with them , craft with them or just swing in the park with them had taught me to look at the world with a new perspective which was pure,untainted and divine. I first had a taste of the boundless joy of being in the moment with my daughter . While everyone around was in the throes of fear post 9/11 ,my daughter sang about a world where all the raindrops were gumdrops and lemon drops. That immediately lifted my spirit .( Never before had I felt so much gratitude to a purple dinosaur for teaching her that song ). With twinkling eyes,boundless energy and a passion for curiosity my children taught me to romance life. They lived in a bubble and I chose to share that space with them .A space that taught me the all encompassing truth that life is now. I had the opportunity to learn what truly matters not once but twice. How blessed was I ! No job in the world could feed my soul the way they did. Why else would every cell in my body tingle with happiness in response to those memories when in my aging mind moments spent last week posing for a selfie seemed blurry?
My daughter’s silence told me that the kids bubbles had now shrunk. It was time for me to create my own bubble filled with my dreams and my passions. I still didn’t have an answer to whether I had greatly enriched my children’s lives but it didn’t matter because what I knew now with certainty was that my beautiful children had definitely helped raise a better adult.