Jonathan and I were both blessed to be raised by stay at home moms. Dad was the breadwinner of the home while mom was the cook, maid, nurse, best friend, voice of reason, dry cleaning lady, and taxi. Our goal is to repeat history and have me to stay home with Joanna and her future siblings in their first years. We're still figuring out the logistics to see if we can actually afford for me to stay home, but we're praying it's God's will.
The unemployment rate in this country can certainly be overwhelming. 1 out of 10 people are looking for a job, and even more are underemployed and barely able to get by. We were a single income household for the first 2 years of our marriage, living on one paycheck and savings. At this point in our lives, logic would say "but, if you make more money having two incomes and having her in daycare, why are you going to give up your independence?" Two very loaded questions in that one statement. We finally have two incomes and have found ourselves to be financially stable. Jonathan and I would make money with two incomes since childcare is very affordable in Lynchburg. But its not about the money.
When I was a nanny for three amazingly adorable active boys, I had the time of my life being their not-quite-parent-but-kind-of when their parents were working. It was a 3 days a week from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. gig that helped me go to George Mason and finish my degree. I learned so much more than the textbooks taught in my childhood development classes, most of the lessons about myself and my own limits. However, as I watched little Nay Nay grow from a 6 month old monkey into a 3 year old acrobat, I couldn't help but be sad that his parents were missing it. He was the third child and most parents don't take as much notice on the third child (and that's coming from a third child). They missed his first steps. They missed the look in his eyes as he realized he kept his balance longer than ever before. They missed his laugh when he grabbed his goal - his bottle of formula. It made me so proud and so sad to witness this moment. This is why I want to stay home: I want to be here for Joanna.
But what of independence?
*sigh* I admit that I was the first to say "I'm absolutely going back to work. I need to work for my own sanity." The more pregnant I become, the more I fall in love with the idea of witnessing my child(ren) grow and learn. I have 2.3 degrees to my name and I am fiercely independent when it comes to many things. (I not only march to my own beat, I married a drummer.) I love my job and my staff, but I know being Joanna's mommy will be the best job I'll ever have. Becoming a parent means giving up a part of yourself to give it to someone else. It's not about my independence as a woman - it's about my child and my role as both a woman and mother.
Ultimately, to each his own! I vow to not judge mothers who choose or have no choice to go to work after giving birth. It's a very personal decision and I hope we can go the route we desire. God willing, He'll provide so we can do this for Joanna!