This article was first published in 2002 when my youngest entered kindergarten (and before we adopted child #5!). But it’s still pertinent today, and I was reminded of that after receiving two emails from readers this past week who were struggling with this decision. May this encourage those of you who have kids in school but still want to be committed to the profession of motherhood.
You’re Still At Home and Your Children Are In School?
By Jill Savage
I can hardly believe the day is here. In fact, I’m not quite sure what to think of the prospect of this new season of life. Because of the spacing of our four children, we have had a preschooler at home for 17 years. For the first time in my career as a mom, I now have all of my children in full-day school. What will I do with myself?
The question was posed to me the other day, “Now that all of your children are in school what will you do?” When I responded that I would remain committed to full-time motherhood, the second question followed: “Why?” While there are fewer of us home full-time when our children enter school, most who remain home do so with the same convictions I have. Let me share with you why I think the profession of motherhood is still a valid career choice for me:
Maintaining The Energy To Parent—It is so difficult for me to put in a full days work outside of the home and come home feeling ready to handle the challenges of parenting children. Keeping a strong marriage takes energy as well. With homemaking as my profession, it is the activity to which I give my primary energy.
After School Hours—A recent study was conducted with sexually active teenagers. When asked when and where they most often had sex, the most common reply was in their own homes between the hours of 3pm-5pm! My children need my presence for accountability, for encouragement, and for communication. Those hours after school are also when they talk most about their day, their struggles, their hopes, and their fears. An after school snack and a listening ear are important parts of my long-term career goal of helping my children mature and learn about the world in which they live. I don’t want to miss that.
Parenting Responsibilities—I don’t believe it’s my oldest child’s responsibility to parent her siblings. While she is certainly capable of caring for her brothers and sister on occasion, and even being an occasional taxi driver for extracurricular activities, she doesn’t need that responsibility every day after school, on school holidays, or during the summer.
Sick Days, Field Trips, Volunteer Opportunities—Being available to care for a sick child at home without concern of how many personal days I’ve used up at the office is emotionally freeing to me. Accompanying field trips or helping out at the school are valuable ways for me to stay involved in my children’s education. The school, the church, and the community need volunteers who have time and energy to help with worthwhile endeavors. I believe that’s a good use of my education and my skills.
Laundry, Meals, and the Fine Art of Homemaking—Just because everyone is in school, there’s still the same amount of laundry, the same meals to prepare, and the same house to manage. There are appointments to make, bills to pay, and groceries to buy. I don’t believe I’ll want for something to do.
Many moms use this season to return to school themselves or pursue part-time employment just during the school year, while keeping family the priority. It’s a good season to explore some of those opportunities. I’ll probably do that as well, with some writing and speaking opportunities. However, with one child in full-day kindergarten, one in sixth grade, one enjoying his sophomore year, and one entering her senior year in high school, there’s plenty of work to be done at home and in the lives of my children. I still believe there’s no better profession than the profession of motherhood!
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