I realized the other day that I have stayed home full time with my children longer now than I ever had any career. I got married fairly young-I was only 23 and only 2 years out of college. I had been at my first "real job" just over a year when we got married. Anne surprised us (well-we tried for her but didn't expect her to come on that first try!) and entered the world just 11.5 months after we got married! I went back to work part time and it was a perfect compromise for me. I like staying busy and I always had thought one child wouldn't be enough to keep me busy enough. I was right so 2 full days a week at an office plus a few hours at home was the perfect compromise for us. I kept busy and social and I was still able to spend a lot of time with my little girl. However, as she got closer to her her 2nd birthday I became more and more unhappy at work. John and I endlessly discussed it, hoping I could stay at work another 8 months, 6 months, even just another month. But the longer I tried to keep working the more unhappy I became. One day, just a few months after wanting to quit, I woke up and realized I could not stay one more day at work. I told John I would give my 2 week notice that day and I did. It was a quick surprise for every one involved but it was truly the only choice for me to make. Two weeks later I was a full time mom. It wound up working out perfectly since only 2 weeks later I got pregnant with Jamie and he proceeded to suck every ounce of energy out of me-I spent half of each day on the couch sleeping during my pregnancy with him!
That was 4 years and 4 months ago. I was at my first, and only, real job for 4 years 2 months. As I realize how long I've been home and how much longer I want to be home (at least another 6 years if we didn't have another baby and we will!) I am so grateful I get to do this. Yes it is beyond the hardest job in the world. Yes every day I wish I was as lucky as my husband to have a stash of sick days-but mamas don't get sick days. And yes I am usually pushed and pulled emotionally farther than I think I can go. But every single day, without fail, I look back and am grateful I get to do this. I truly couldn't imagine doing it any other way.