Often I hear this statement and I just shake my head in disagreement. We always have a choice, whether we like the options or not, that is besides the point, we as humans have the ability to choose how we live our lives.
There is one area of life that drives me crazy when I hear this statement made. It is in reference to raising our children.
As a Catholic who believes in gay marriage and equal rights for all, I also believe that if you have a child, YOU should actually raise your own child. Why is that women who have children seem concerned with who will care for their baby before he or she is even born? Why isn’t it assumed they should care for their own newborn? Why has our society made it weird or crazy to raise your own babies? I hear excuses like:
- We need the money.
- I need to have adult conversation.
- I would go stir crazy stuck in the house all day.
- I want my children to see me as a strong independent woman capable of succeeding in her career.
Believe me I don’t argue with them when I hear their silly excuses because I was once one of them. And then I learned my lesson.
I took Tabitha with me everywhere I went for the first 6 months of her life. She never left my arms unless my sister or hubby were holding her, but then our lives changed. We moved to Southern California and I had to get a job. We were desperately poor. We lived in an apartment in Westside Costa Mesa, drove 2 old cars, didn’t have a savings account for emergencies, had a bunch of debt and all over furniture was handed down from our parents. We even had an avocado green refrigerator his Mom gave us from the 70’s. I mean, you know that killed me.
As we both succeeded in our jobs and our financial life stabilized we dreamed of having more financial freedom. We didn’t think about me trying to stay at home with Tabitha, we focused on moving into a better neighborhood, buying a house some day, sending her to private school, getting newer cars, building our savings, getting better clothes and you know where I am going with this.
At some point we lost focus of what was really important, Family. When I first had to work my Mom watched Tabitha but at some point I didn’t NEED to work that much, nor did I need to enroll in law school when she was 3 years old, while still working full time. I thought it was important to provide her with every opportunity in life, which required money, especially in Orange County. I convinced myself she would be proud of her Mom being an attorney. Guess what? A 3 year old child could care less if her Mom is an attorney.
What she cares about is whether her Mom will take her to the park that day, will they go for a walk around the mall in her stroller, will she get her favorite sandwich for lunch, will they play ball in the backyard and who will win at Candyland.
Even though her grandmother was doing an amazing job caring for her, it still wasn’t me, her Mom. At some point during my third year of law school I figured this out. Working full time and becoming a lawyer wasn’t making anyone happy, especially Lou and Tabitha. I came home that day and told Lou I wanted to work less and spend more time at home. His response: Thank God! He wanted ultimately wanted to be the provider and have us be more of family not just people passing in the night, cohabiting in the same house.
So from that point on we made small changes in our future family plans up until the moment Tiara was born. I had just graduated from law school, was waiting for my bar results and writing law motions from home for my Dad. When we found I hadn’t passed the bar and Tiara wasn’t well, I knew I didn’t have a choice.
I had to stay home and care for her and Tabitha. In my mind, I had no choice. Of course I could have left them both with a nanny and finished what I started, ” to become a lawyer”, but I didn’t. I just couldn’t leave them again.
The reason I am telling you this is because I just wish someone else besides my Mom and Dr. Laura had told me what I was missing by not caring for Tabitha myself. I wish someone would have told me sooner that I was making a mistake and giving up something I could never take back.
So if you struggle with this same issue, remember you do have a choice!
Have a wonderful day!
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