Thank you for not allowing that last post to devolve into a bitter debate as to which lifestyle is better.
It was inspiring to see comments and emails rolling through my inbox that were respectful and thoughtful. Ideas were expressed that added to the conversation - certainly, my post cannot stand on its own without your comments. And I would not want it to. Yes, not everyone agreed with me and a few of you were a little disjointed to see me write in great detail how I would not enjoy the life of a "working in an office" mother. I cannot blame you.
I was left wondering to myself why on earth I would write a post that could be deemed inflammatory and which would surely hurt a few of my friends. Why would I potentially alienate loyal readers and longtime friends? In the end, I decided that I simply needed to work those words and emotions through that sausage grinder in my head. I am glad I did publish that post because after writing it, my conviction to fight for my staying home was even stronger.
And my reasons for standing strong were in writing.
However, in reflecting upon that post, I also realized how incredibly guilty I feel about staying home.
Last month, I took the kids to a nearby botanical garden and we had a lovely afternoon. At one point, we spent well over 30 minutes at the frog pond, watching frogs and turtles. We moved to the bigger pond and as the kids dug in the dirt and threw rocks in the pond, I watched huge hawks floating by, down low. Really low. It was one of those gorgeous late summer afternoons - bright, sunny with a coolness in the air and very slight breeze. I normally despise sitting in the sun, but that afternoon the sun felt loving and warm on my bare arms.
Sadly, that sweet afternoon was tainted with a slight sense of embarrassment. I felt bad enjoying that spectacular afternoon while Manoj was struggling with some work-related things that day. You see, these outings are not uncommon - nearly every day, I am doing something enjoyable with my kids while my husband deals with all sorts of work-related crap. We live in an area that has a plethora of parks, nature centers and gardens in addition to a wonderful zoo and children's farm. They are mostly free or reasonably priced and we take full advantage of them throughout the year. It still strikes me as pure insanity that I could have so much fun doing something that is supposed to be work.
I have a bachelor's degree AND a master's degree in accounting. I am a licensed CPA. And sometimes, I do wonder if it was all a waste. After all, I hope to never go back to that life, even later when my kids are in school. And yes, it is difficult to stomach that I am not explicitly contributing to our family's bank account.
My greatest wish would be for all mothers to have that sweet luxury of choice. It does not seem fair.
And perhaps, on some level, it is not.