It’s everything I ever wanted: three beautiful, healthy children and the opportunity to stay-at-home to raise them. But I’ve been doing this for four years straight and I am so tired. As selfish and ungrateful as this sounds, today I don’t want to do this anymore. And yet, I have no choice. Or, do I?
Have you ever worked hard on something and later felt guilty anytime you resented it? Perhaps it was getting through school to get the job you thought you always wanted or maybe it was caring for someone in your family- someone sick or frail. And when you are at that job or at the hospital, you know it is where you are supposed to be and yet, you feel tired. And you think, “Not today. I just don’t want to do this today.”
But there’s no one to take your place. There’s no substitute for you. And you feel trapped. You need the job to pay for the things you own or the person you are caring for truly needs you by their side as they battle whatever it is that is ailing them.
Today, the two and four year-old argued so loudly they woke the baby. I knew I wouldn’t get another break from her for at least three hours and I felt the despair setting in. I called my sister and lamented that as much as I didn’t want to do this, I had no choice. We chose to have three children back-to-back and now, here we are.
But as I said it, I could hear my devil’s advocate chiming in. “You do have a choice, Lauren. You can put them in daycare.” The thing is, I don’t want to put them in daycare and in deciding that, I have made a choice. I chose to have them. I am actively choosing to stay home with them.
You chose to have the things you need that job to pay for- a home, an education, a car, the things you purchased on your credit card. You choose to be the person at your loved one’s bedside. Sure, you could choose to leave them, but would you? No, you wouldn’t. You choose not to.
By tweaking the way we perceive our hardships, we are more-able to handle them. After the baby woke, I went for a brisk run. I burned off the stress, I released my exasperation so that I could jump back into the ring.
I felt trapped until I remembered I chose this life and I continue to choose it every day that I stay home.
I love my children, I do. But I’m tired. And today, I didn’t want to do this anymore. Still, I found peace in the realization of my choice to stay. I hope, you, too, find peace in yours.
Photo by Camille Vaughan Photography