Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Stay-at-Home Whut??!?

I have been having an internal struggle for pretty much my entire adult life. The question that I have asked myself at least 15 hundred million billion 50 thousand (Adam's favorite number when he wants to emphasize something) times is whether I should quit my job and stay at home with my kids. The story is long and boring for pretty much every person that I have ever talked to about it, but it's seriously been my biggest concern for many years now. I may have been good at being a SAHM at one point, but with the route my life has taken, I think it's safe to say that I'm not the same person I was when I first got married. Back then I actually thought that Phil and I would finish school, settle down, and start having kids (not necessarily in that order) within at least a year or two of our wedding date. Once a baby was on the way, I would most assuredly quit whatever pitiful job I was in and happily skip home to do my best to be Mrs. Cleaver. I was never all that anxious to climb the career ladder, so those ideas weren't really a stretch for me. Anyway, as I mentioned, the story is long and boring and I certainly don't need to recount all of the gory details here. Let's just say that at some point during our almost 9 childless years, things - namely me - changed. Imagine that.

A couple of years ago my sister asked me why in the heck I was still working. She knew how conflicted I was with the whole thing, and she knew that I was working because I wanted to be working and not because I had to. Phil was finally done with all of his schooling . . . we were settled down . . . the kid thing had finally happened . . . yet the happily skipping home part just wasn't something that I had managed to do. After listening to me drone on and on for what must have been the 15 hundred million billion 50 thousandth time about it, she just flat out asked me "Why have you decided to keep working?" It was in that instant (and not really until that instant - my epiphanies aren't generally all that speedy) that I realized that I hadn't decided to keep working; I merely had not made the decision to go home. How sad is that? Although I liked my job (it wasn't so pitiful after all) I wasn't really working because of that. I was working because I was afraid to take the plunge and go home. I've thought about that a lot (Remember? It's been my internal struggle for years.) and realized that what I thought was a deliberate choice was really no more than avoidance. The really pitiful thing turned out to be that I have continued to work for two more years after the epiphany finally struck. Holy cow! When I put it in those terms, it's kind of embarrassing.

I really have spent the equivalent of at least a solid year's worth of time thinking and talking about this and asking for opinions from everybody who I thought might be willing to offer one, so I have a lot, LOT more to say about it, but for now I just want to announce that I am finally going to do it. I am quitting my job. I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom. Whut?? The fear is still with me, and I'm certain that June Cleaver is not the mom that I will be emulating, but I'm going to do it. I'll be happy if I can manage, at some point, to convince my kids and my husband that taking care of them and our home is not something that I want to avoid. I finally understand that what I am moving toward is a lot more worthwhile than what I am leaving behind, and I'm no longer just saying that while hoping that it's true. I really, really believe it.

So, in just over a month my world is going to change dramatically. I have had a job to go to since I was 15. That's, uhhhh, at least ten years now. Really, what's the point of putting a precise number on it? The fact is, I've been working for a very, very long time and soon I won't have a paying, job to go to. If there's anybody out there who hasn't tired of going round and round with me on this and wants to volunteer for SAHM therapy sessions, let me know.

9 comments:

Kjae said...

The number you're looking for is 24 (almost). Okay, I'll give you 23 for two more months. Not quite the number Adam has for emphasis, but pretty hefty anyway.

I am so PROUD OF YOU, Chica! Really, it's not a monetary gain that you will have, but the gain your boys will have because of you.... well, that's more important than ANYthing else.

June Cleaver is overrated. I'm more of the Roseanne mom myself, but that's okay. I am determined to believe that because of our simple (yet tremendously hard) decision to stay home our families will be blessed beyond comprehension. It will only take you a little while to adjust, don't worry.

Think of the play dates we can have regularly! Oh wait, that might not be an incentive judging the way our boys screech when we're all together!

Sis, you're da man! Or something like that anyway. I've waited for years and years to hear those words, and now you're committed! I know you have always felt very fulfilled by your job, very important and very necessary... but the fact is that ALL of that, plus a ton more, will be true as a SAHM! The blessings will come in small ways but one day you'll combine them all to see great miracles in your boys. I promise!

I love you, you eventual unemployed woman you! Whoo-HOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Buell Fam said...

Well Congrats. I understand your situation completely. I finally got a job I liked and then had a baby! I love being at home with my sweet Aubrey, and I can honestly say I have never been bored! I do work from home part-time - but I am sure you will find lots of projects and play and work to keep yourself occupied!

Kelsen Family said...

Julie,
I think it is great that you took so long to make the decision. Staying at home is not the easiest job in the world. It sounds good, but for me, it is a lot harder than working your 40 hour week. I wouldn't want it any other way though.

Congratulations!! I think you made a wise choice and I'm so excited for you. It will be amazing to be able to watch the kids grow from a different view.

Here is to SAHM's!!

Julie said...

Thanks Heather and Kelly and Michelle. These boys have proven to be pretty durable so far, so I’m hoping that will continue once they are with me instead of licensed childcare workers. I seriously am scared of this whole thing. I’ve worked for a long time, and I was actually at home when we were in Texas for that one year, and I’m telling you that being at home is wayyyyyy harder than working outside of the home. It's not even close as far as i'm concerned. Kudos to all of you who do it so well! I just hope my boys (all three of them) are patient and forgiving as I try to figure out how to be home full-time. Send any tips my way. :-)

Michelle said...

Julie -
WOW! wow, wow, wow! Julie, you know I have so much respect for you and your decision. We have got to go lunch and discuss... Thanks for the inspiring post. You know I'm right there with you...I have a feeling we'll be taking a few trips to Thanksgiving Point together this summer!!! Ü

Julie said...

Hey Michelle -
Does that mean that you are going to join the SAHM ranks with me soon? After all the years of talking about it, are we actually going to do it together? Thanksgiving Point here we come! In the meantime, when ARE we going to lunch? Jana and I have missed you the last couple of times. There's so much to discuss. Pick the date and I'm there.

Kjae said...

WHOA!! You moved. It's like those little pictures of you people are real or something. First they're on the left, then they move down a bit, now they're on the opposite side! How DO they do that??!?

I'm having a bad dream about this tonight, I can feel it.

Julie said...

I was up - coughing again - until after 1:00 a.m.. How does somebody kill time while they are awake at that hour? I was messing with my blog. I thought I put it back to how it was, but obviously skipped one vital step. Sorry I scared you. I'll put it back. One of these days though, you are going to see a cool blog at my address. Until I get it all worked out though, I'll try to not scare you.

Maribeth said...

Hi Julie--
It's so fun to read what's going on in your world. Thanks for sharing all of the fun and thoughts. Congrats on your decision to stay home. It's a big one. I've been home full-time for 13 years and it is still the hardest thing I've ever done. And I don't think I'm any closer to figuring the whole thing out. But there is much joy to be had, both now and way down the road. You'll be great at home, though I will miss dropping in on you at the Wilk! We've come a long way since our days at Ricks and BYU. Anytime you need to unload about being a SAHM, I'm always HOME!!
LOVE YA!