“So, if you were to do it all over again, would you choose to stay at home? I mean, do you really think you feel fulfilled and all?”
The question caught me off guard. It came from a young lady very dear to me who is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.
To be a stay at home mom. That was one of the biggest decisions I made years ago, and the ripple effects have influenced the lives of many more than my own.
I am an RN, raised in a home where college was the least that was expected of me, and for the last decade of employed life, I worked as a labor and delivery nurse. I loved it.
I loved the one on one interaction and knowing I could make a difference in how a patient and her family handled the pains of labor. I could help make it an experience they would end up remembering fondly instead of with chills of dread.
I loved the adrenaline rush of knowing how to handle a crisis and working with the team to resolve it. I loved the furious cries of a newborn babe and the tear streaked joy in a mother’s face upon seeing her child for the first time.
It was not always joyful, the work I had to do. There were the few patients who hated the world and colored the air with such acid you shuddered to think what kind of parent they would be. There were the cases of heartbreak where a child was born way too soon, whose lungs were incapable of absorbing the life giving oxygen. There were the stillborn. I knew I could somehow comfort the parents, a word here, a touch, a tear.
I made a difference, and I loved what I did.
Yet, I never questioned whether or not I wanted to be a stay at home mom. If it was possible, it was what I wanted. Thankfully, my husband helped make that possible.
Did I always love it? No, not always. It’s rare that anything is always enjoyed. Was it the most fulfilling thing I could do with my life? YES!
When the kids were old enough to send off to school, I was criticized for making the choice to homeschool. It was another one of those choices that effected more lives than my own. “It’s wrong to waste all those talents.” I was told. “You are wasting your life. You should be out there making a difference in the world.”
I remember looking at my well-meaning accuser with total shock. Using my talents? God knows I was being forced to develop talents I was sorely lacking, being stretched well out of my comfort zone! And oh, how aware I was of the lack of talents I had! It was so much easier to get in there and coach the grateful patient, treat according to the science I had been taught, the standard of care. But figuring out how to raise little humans in a way that was pleasing to the One who placed them in my custody? Dying to myself for the needs of others? Opinionated, impatient me? Whew! Talk about driving me to my knees! It’s amazing any of us survived.
I learned, and continue to learn. And as I learned I taught. God’s grace used me despite my many gaps.
Instead of charging out into the world seeking self fulfillment, I sought to fulfill what I was called to do. Instead of trying to change the world myself, I immersed myself in four world changers. Where my talents of writing, music and art could have enriched a few lives, I delighted in training four more writers, musicians, and artists. Well, some more artistic than others. Where I sought to make home a place of beauty, peace and sanctuary, (Not always succeeding, we are still a sinful, selfish, and stubborn bunch way too often) our children grew to trust us with their hearts. Through learning to love and respect my husband, our children learned what marriage can and should be. Where I served God in the privacy of our home, I helped form four more who love God with all their hearts. My influence has quadrupled. Plus some. My children will have children, God willing, and they will pass on what I helped teach. And their children will pass it on to their children. Unto a thousand generations. Talk about satisfying.
I am not saying this is the only right way, but would I do it again? A thousand times yes. Was it fulfilling? Absolutely, and more so by the day. I know I made a difference. I may even have helped to change the world.