I've had such mixed feelings going through this decision-making process. I have agonized, prayed, talked to people who cared, talked to people who didn't care, wept, worried, and exulted. It's been exhausting, but I have some God-given peace now.
I truly feel that God has been whispering in my ear, guiding me to this decision. Otherwise, it would never have happened. This was never in the plan. Here's a short history of my work-related decision-making.
Me: Dad, Cory and I are thinking about getting married.
Dad: You better stay in school and get your degree. Don't be dependent on any man!
Me: (Eye roll)
Cory: You're planning on working, right? Cause, I'm a teacher, and well...
Me: Of course I'm going to work. Don't be ridiculous. Not only am I going to work, but I'm going to be awesome at it. I'm going to be the best damn something that ever there was. (Ok, so I didn't say that. But I was probably thinking it.)
Me: Do, do, do, da-dooo. Of course I'm going to have a baby and work. I'll have summers off. And holidays. No worries. I got this.
First August after Cate is born
Me: (weeping) Please don't make me go back! She needs me. She's part of me, and she's walking around without me. Things will never be okay again ever!
Cory to everyone else: Who is this crazy hormonal woman and what did she do with my wife?
Everyone else to Cory: (nods of agreement, eyebrows furled in we've-been-there sympathy, passing him a secret bottle of whiskey)
Everyone else to me: We know, honey. Don't worry. It'll be fiiiiiine.
Half-way through this school year:
(Lying in bed, reading books)
Me: (Nervous, wondering if I'm crazy) So, uh, Cory. I have a question for you. And you can say no and that you think I'm crazy. Really, I won't be offended. I've just been thinking, and well... I'm still not sure! So don't think I've made any decisions, so....(on and on and on)
Cory: Are you thinking of staying home with Cate?
Me: (Tears. Happy, scared, thankful tears.)
Look, I want to make it perfectly clear that I don't think that this is what every woman should do. I know there are some women who should work. And they are awesome, and their kids are awesome. I knew for certain that I was going to be one of those women. Until I didn't anymore. I have no other explanation for it other than God changed our hearts. I say "our" because it happened for Cory, too. He is not letting me stay home, and for that matter, he's not making me stay home either. He wants me to stay home. I don't know if Cate will be any different because of it, but I know for certain that I will be. I just know that it feels like yesterday we brought her home and I've turned around and she's two. I don't want to miss any more of it than I have to. Plus, I've yet to meet a mom who stayed at home with her kids and regretted it.
There's lots more to say, but I'll have to stop here. But take heart (or beware)! Much more on this topic to come, I'm sure.