I'll just come out and admit it.
My kids are 11 and 13, and I'm still a stay-at-home mom.
I know, I know. I hear it all the time.
"What in the world do you DO with all your free time?"
It always gives me pause when people ask what I do, and in an effort to soften the blow, I start out with the, "Well, I write for some publications" diatribe and then blow out the rest under my breath: "And I'm a stay-at-home mom."
I really shouldn't be ashamed.
The term "stay-at-home" doesn't accurately describe the career of motherhood, in my opinion. It gets a bad rap. I prefer "work-from-home." Because really, most moms are busy from sun-up to bedtime. I honestly don't know any who sit around and Netflix binge. Present company excluded, of course.
We don't earn a paycheck and we sure as heck don't get overtime. Or vacation. Or personal days. Or sick leave. We feel the financial burden from being a single-income family and we budget accordingly.
Despite it all, I have a quiet certainty that this is where I am meant to be. For now, anyway.
My kids love that I'm home, as crazy as that sounds. I am immensely grateful that I can drop them off and pick them up from school. I am immensely grateful that I can be home with them after school. I'm immensely grateful that I'm here when they want to talk about issues or concerns in their lives. I'm immensely grateful that when they are off from school or sick, I'm available.
In these years, my kids need me even more -- albeit in different ways. I know we have moved past the whole stage of diapering and teaching them their shapes and colors. Now, we are in a new season. A critical one. My kids are discovering who they are becoming, what they believe in and what they stand for.
Now more than ever they need support to navigate these unfamiliar waters of puberty, peer pressure, relationships, second-year Spanish, the nice-looking boy who smells like Christmas fir trees and yes, even trombone lessons.
I want our home to be their safe place, their refuge from our increasingly tumultuous world.
To the moms who work outside the home: You have my complete and utmost respect. I see you and I know I couldn't do what you do. You're amazing and I love the example you are teaching your kids.
All over the world, mothers are working tirelessly in order to provide and care for their children. Whether you work outside the home or not, the dedication doesn't waver. We are all on the journey together, and rather than judging one from the other, how about we support each other in what works for us individually?
But if I'm really being honest, being a work-from-home mom gives me time to bake a lot of cookies and find all the crumbs underneath the kids' beds.
That's worth it all right there.