Now, 9 years removed from the decision to stay home with my kids, I have an interesting perspective on things. I just want to begin by saying that this was the single MOST important decision I have ever made. I also want everyone to know, that I made the correct decision when I chose to stay home with my son and then my daughter 4 years later.
The Rough Start
It started out a bit bumpy, but I soon got the hang of it. Here I was staying home with an infant boy, who was not a good sleeper, and having very little idea as to what to do was difficult. I found myself calling my mother on several occasions for advice. I kept telling my mom how hard this was, and she would just chuckle and tell me that I was fine. She actually said to me that I would be just fine and know what to do, simply because there was no alternative. Thinking back on that, I now see that she meant that I would succeed at this fatherhood thing because my son is depending on me … and I know that. Even now, it doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense, but I do get it. Even my mistakes were right … because I always had my son’s best interest at heart. When my daughter joined us, I found that the difficulty increased. Anyone who tells you that the second child is a breeze, is flat-out lying to you, In my humble opinion, it all becomes twice as hard.
I had my ups and downs. I got to walk the neighborhood with my stroller. I got to go to the public library classes for toddlers. Pump-it-Up became one of my favorite places. I learned all about patience and understanding from my kids. My time-management skills became much better. And yes, there were the sleepless nights, the projectile vomiting, the constant crying and other factors that I struggled with, but (to sound a bit cliché) it was all worth it. Today, my son is 11 and my daughter is 7. I feel very proud to say that I raised them both. I finally went back to work part-time last year and full-time this year.
Here is the thing though … Yes, I do miss being at home with them … Yes, there seems to be a lot of things around the house that don’t get done because I am at work during the day … Yes, the additional income is helpful … but the biggest adjustment has been me getting used to the kids becoming more and more independent. It actually saddens me to think that they don’t need me as much anymore. I dread the years to come when I have to grapple with the realization that they don’t need me at all anymore. I know, in some way they will always need me, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is my biggest fear.