Is it worth it?

As of May 2007, the average annual salary of a homemaker in the U.S, if correlated to the total cost of outsourcing each element of his or her work to an external contractor, would be approximately $138,000.

Have you seen the Tyson chicken commercials where children give their mothers standing-wherever-they-are-ovations? Yeah, that's what's going on here.

Domestic Engineer.
Domestic Diva.

Call it what you will; it's still rock and roll to me.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom and I knew, to me at the very least, that meant I'd be a wife. I knew I wanted to go to school and I knew I wanted to work. And somehow it has all played into the equation during the course of my life thus far.

I met my (now) husband before I finished my degree. I had one semester left when we married. I finished it, while working full time and learning how to be a wife. Ted was also working full time and going to school part time while he was learning how to be a husband. I like to think that Ted didn't actually have to learn how to be a husband. He must have come pre-programed with an almost perfect understanding of his elect job. I've said it before and I'll say it again: being married was not a big adjustment for either of us, but rather like the best gift you could ever give someone. I immediately loved having my best friend by my side no matter what and I will never want it any other way.

Once I finished school, Ted went back full throttle while still working and being an amazing husband. We had purchased a home during my last semester and also added to our family a medium-sized red bag of bones shaped, somewhat, like a dog. We were in remodeling mode like never before and I was working, working, working. It was a hard job but someone had to do it... it just wasn't me. I found another job and Ted and I both kept working full time.

We traveled a little, spent a lot of time on house, a lot of time with our dog (and cleaning up after him!), and a lot of time with each other. ... I imagined someday we'd have children and I hoped, since I was done with my degree and to a certain extent (emotionally, perhaps?) done with working, that day would come sooner than later. And then it didn't, and it didn't, and it didn't. So I decided to stop thinking about it.

You know what happens when you stop thinking about things? Those things normally come to pass, assuming it's in the proper time and season.

Several months later, after having worked full time all the while, along came our little girl. That raggedy hound dog was still around, the house itself which can be a full time endeavor, and that blessed husband. But once our little one was just shy of full term we decided I was done with the working world. For this season, at least.

I want to make it clear that this decision was hard for me. I wasn't making a lot of money (less than at my previous job) and I wasn't overjoyed to go to work every day. But I did have a great boss, worked for a wonderful program, and really enjoyed my co-workers. They asked if I would work part time. They asked if I would like to work from home. I thought about, mulled over, and prayed about each option and in the end, these weren't the right options for me.

So what would be the right option for me?

I really wasn't sure. I thought about working with a certain organization that provides respite and assistance for families with children with varying degrees of disabilities. Just part time and as much as I wanted while still being a mama. But that wasn't right either. After more prayer and fasting and thought I decided that at this time, and in this season of my life, I was supposed to be the mom. At home. The homemaker. The domestic engineer. Call it what you want, but for me it's my everyday life.

... I wondered if it would be worth it. I had worked hard on my degree and I had done very well in my profession. So, really, would it be worth it?

I wasn't sure how this was going to work out. I was a little nervous. The month before Gwenna was born when I wasn't working but rather just waiting was no good. BOR-RING! I wondered if it would get any better.

Oh my, did it get better!

My little girl looks up at me with the bluest (sometimes gunky) eyes and wraps her tiny fingers around mine. She gurgles and coos and even her cry is dainty and sweet.

Everyday I try to do something in my home and I try very hard to make dinner for my family every night. Most of the time I succeed. But why do I do it? I do it because this little girl that my husband and I brought into this world depends on me for constant nurturing. I do it because my husband needs me to. But I also do it because he appreciates me and loves me. I do it because my little girl is worth it and my husband and worth it. And at the risk of sounding like a commercial, I am worth it. This is the most rewarding job I've ever had, and I've had a good number of jobs.

As I think back on my uncertainty of days past, I'm glad that it has turned out like this. Not every day is a dream, but if it was, the best days wouldn't be the best and the worst days wouldn't prove how strong I am.

So to answer my own question - is it worth it? - oh yeah, it's SO worth it!


Erin said...

I needed this post! I love the mom thing. I am SO happy that I get to spend my days with my baby... but it's been a hard adjustment for me to say home, make sure the house is clean, make sure I am taking care of my husband, laundry, dinner, decorating, home improvements...ugh! I need to just relax and enjoy what I am doing in this stage of my life. Thanks!

Bill and Emily Grant said...

This is so good. I know I don't know exactly what you are talking about quite yet, but I am facing the same decision. It is funny because I have always said that I plan to stay home with my children, but it has surprised me how much I have loved teaching. I have already had pressure from some around me to keep working and just figure something out, but I know deep down inside I won't. I think being a mom and wife will be the most important things I will EVER do. I just love how eloquent you always are! Keep up the good work!

The Browns said...

Here here! You are amazing Kelly! It's taken you a lot less time than it did me to come to this conclusion. I had the hardest transition from working, schooling, crazy person to stay at home mom.

Sean and Erin said...

This is so sweet Kelly! I've had the same concerns about being a mom, so I'm glad to know that it's worth it :) Also, I liked the part about your relationship with Ted...that's how mine is and I like hearing that other people have the same just makes me happy!