I have been working from home full time for more than four years now. Before leaving Regular Employment, I swung between working from home part time and working as a part time teacher – all because I am insistent on having significant control over the care of my then only child. There was even a school year I went back to teaching full time and I dealt with it by bringing M7 (who was then only a year old) everyday to school. He stayed in the library with his yaya whenever I had a class and the clinic became our breastfeeding/naptime room.
Throughout the past four years, the lure of regular employment would come knocking on my door every once in a while. Since teaching is something that I Love as well, I would always be tempted to reconsider. The decision not to give up my work from home status has not always been financially sound for us, but I have not regretted it so far.
A lot of people would probably think that it is such an admirable decision to be the one to stay home with the children, and I am one of those who thought this as well. Right now though, I would bravely come out and admit that Staying home has become a selfish decision on my part. Sure, there are benefits all around – both to my husband and to our children – but I realized along the way that what drives me to stay home and to continue doing this every day are what I get from it.
Before anyone gets a vision of me lounging at home the whole day, let me say that this is definitely not what my typical day is like. We do not have any househelp/maid/yaya/amah with us and I currently have a 40-hour-per-week work from home gig. I will not even try to list the things that I do every day because this post is not about that.
I will also not justify the decision to stay home by saying that my kids get the best care from me. I am pretty sure there is someone else out there who is a better mother; someone who is more patient, creative, caring, and loving. If we offer a good enough salary, I know we will be able to find an excellent yaya for the children – someone is more efficient and can cook better.
The thing is, I cannot really prove that me staying home for the kids is the best option for them. I know, however, that I am getting a big kick out of being at home with them. Nevermind that I have reached my boiling point many times than I have ever thought possible – I have also had many moments of near ecstasy whenever they are acting like angels and being very helpful and cooperative. Sure, I miss having meaningful adult conversations aside from those with my husband – but I get the chance to pick my kids’ brains and make sure there is room in there for my wise words.
I am sure they will not remember much about afternoon naps that I struggled for them to make, but I will remember the eager smiles I get after the nap and the affectionate plays we have before I ask them to get up. They might not remember the activities we do together, but I get to savor the time when they want to do everything with me.
Many years from now, they will have vague memories of their childhood years, but my recollections will be vivid (hopefully!) and tender. I know they will grow up into good people even if I choose to go back to working outside the home, but then I would have missed out on those random moments in a typical day.
So yes, I choose to stay home with them because of selfish reasons. I simply want to spend as much time with them as I can because their time with me is fleeting and short. I want to be the one they run to when they are sad or upset, as well as when they are happy or want to celebrate their achievements. I want to be the person who knows them best now because in a few years, I may not be that person.
Right now, I am the person they love the most (yes, probably more than they love the dada hehe!) and call me selfish if you will, but it’s one of the many reasons I choose to stay home and bask in their love and affection.
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