Early in adulthood, I decided I wanted to be at home with my children. I didn't have any at the time, nor was I in a relationship that was leading to marriage, but I knew that's what I wanted and I knew it was what Heavenly Father wanted for me, too. My mom had been able to stay home with me an my sister and reflecting on what a huge benefit and blessing that had been to me, helped in making the decision.
I planned my life according to this decision. In choosing what to pursue as my undergraduate degree, I picked what I was good at and something that would potentially allow me to work from home if I needed to work after having babies. After working, serving a mission for the church, and working some more, I decided to go to graduate school. The program I picked and felt good about was only offered at a private school in DC, unless I wanted to relocate to another part of the country. This meant a lot of debt and time commitment but it was something I really wanted and, like with the earlier decision, knew Heavenly Father was pleased with this decision to further my education. I worried about my desire to be at home with children conflicting with the financial commitment and not wanting to just hand the debt off to some unknown future husband. But ultimately I felt excited about the program and that it would all just work out. I started classes and about 6 months later had a job that was in the field and offered complete tuition reimbursement for four of the six semesters of the program. This was a huge relief to me.
I also decided late in my mission that I wouldn't delay starting a family after I got married. Of course this was a decision for me and my future husband, but these two decision significantly impacted who I seriously dated. John agreed with me on both these decisions and they were what he wanted, too.
Despite making these decisions early in my life, I never imagined how difficult it would be to follow through on them. It hasn't been difficult to make the decision to be at home - that feels like the best decision I've ever made - but it has been hard to leave work behind. Over the past months, I've pondered on what life will be like after I stop working: what will I do with my days before the baby comes and after he comes; worries of being isolated; and so on. These concerns can't be fully resolved until those bits of my life happen, but I have been actively working to overcome them and to adapt and grow into the life that motherhood brings. I imagine loving it (and I hope this post will remind the future me of that at moments that I feel I don't). The rightness I feel about staying home helps me overcome these concerns, too.
I've been touched by the support I've felt from friends and colleages at work. To me, it has been unexpected how understanding everyone has been in a world where women are sometimes expected to be everything in every aspect of their life. I'm grateful to know that not everyone buys into that expectation.
I told one colleague a couple weeks ago that I would be staying home with my son. She is someone I have great admiration and respect for because of the things she has accomplished and her big heart. She didn't say anything at first, but she didn't have to. She looked at me like I was the most amazing person in the world. I was so touched. She hugged me, telling me that I had a very lucky baby. I told her I was a very lucky mom.
After this week, I will no longer be working. I wanted time to prepare for baby's arrival. The change is bittersweet, scary, and exciting, all at the same time. I am grateful to have the opportunity to stay at home with our son, to be supported by my husband and family and friends, and to be a mom.