I have the privilege of being a part of the board for the engineering alumni association at Alabama. It’s a great group of people getting together to try and enrich the engineering school and thus enrich The University. A bunch of people who have done a lot more than I have, who have worked for far longer than me, and who are — with one exception, me — currently in the work force. Last Thursday and Friday were filled with my first board meetings to attend. I just got on the board and when they called last spring to see if I was interested I made sure to let them know that I am not currently in the workforce. They said that was fine.
My first meetings rolled around and, while everyone was perfectly nice to me, I always got skittish when they asked where I work. The first time I was asked on Thursday I answered simply, “I’m a stay at home mom.” By Friday afternoon I was answering the question by qualifying that while I’m a stay at home mom I’m looking into some consulting opportunities but I just haven’t found something yet that I’m interested in.

It rattled me that I felt that being a stay at home mom wasn’t/isn’t enough. No one made me feel that way, but somehow I felt a little ashamed that I am at home with Charlotte every day as opposed to coding for some company somewhere. And that ticks me off at myself but it’s also something that I can’t really deny. And I wonder why was I making myself feel bad when everyone accepted my current role?

I’ve been gifted with this time home with Charlotte. Yes, it is trying and hard and mundane sometimes but it’s also wonderful and invigorating and so so special. I was here when she rolled over for the first time. I saw her take her first steps towards me without being lured by something. I’m here to wipe her nose when she’s sick and to take her outside to explore. I pick her up from school and ask her questions about her day. I’m shaping her life each and every day, for almost every second that she’s awake. And that’s important.

But sometimes it’s not enough. And I accept that. I accept that in a room full of working engineers I’m going to feel left out. I’m going to work harder at making sure that it doesn’t make me feel incompetent or that I have to overcompensate with humorous anecdotes or embellishing my career aspirations. Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Always. Computer Science and engineering was just a means to an end to get us to a position where I could do that and thankfully we made it to that place.

Still, accepting that doesn’t mean that I’m always 100% satisfied with being here all day. I keep looking for something that will motivate me and get me excited to start a project. So far, software design isn’t that thing for me. I don’t really have a desire to get back in to it right now. But maybe sewing is. Or photography. Or blog design. Or writing. Or something that I haven’t quite found yet. But I’m on the lookout for it and praying for God to make that path clear to me. And until then I’m just going to enjoy the days at home with my daughter and do my best to be the best mom to her that I can be. And I think, for today, that’s enough.

**For another great post on a topic similar to this check out Kathy’s recent post.

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5 Comment

  1. Reply
    Whitney Walker Alexander
    October 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Beautiful post. Just know there will always be one girl who envies you until she has a baby girl of her own (that’s me!). Love you!

  2. Reply
    Jay, Leslie and William
    October 22, 2010 at 12:28 am

    As of Monday, I’m officially a SAHM too. I, too, worry that it won’t be enough…that I won’t be enough. I worry that I won’t be good enough to provide the learning/stimulating environment that he needs, and that he will fall behind his peers. I also worry that when I do get back into the workforce that I will be too far behind my peers to catch up…these are all valid fears in my mind, so I wanted to let you know that your not alone. We do have the hardest jobs out here, and I’m nervous, but excited at the same time. I know that we have prayed about this, and that God has lead us into this direction for a reason. So, do not fear, we are out here thinking the same thoughts as you. When we are old and grey, looking back on this very special time in our lives, we won’t regret having not worked and stayed home with our babies…but we may regret if we hadn’t.

  3. Reply
    The Vaughns
    October 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I stumbled across your blog through Kelly Dixon’s (high school classmate) a while back, and Leslie Lovelady and I are best friends. I appreciate your honesty in this post since I struggle with these thoughts regularly as well. I have stayed at home with my son for a little over 2 years and now have a daughter. I was an attorney prior to this and at times, I wonder what in the world I am doing staying at home . . . I worked my tail off through college and law school and am licensed to practice law in two states, and at times I feel like I’ve given up on my career. Like you mentioned, when I feel this way, I remind myself that I am able to stay at home because of what I’ve done for myself and my family in the past. If I need to return to the workforce sooner than planned, I have the education and ability to, just like you. And that in itself is a relief and provides a sense of security.

    I worked for the first 6 months after my son was born, and while it was nice to engage in adult conversations and be a professional during the day, I do wish I had been home with him during that time. Since our daughter has arrived, I’ve been at home with her the entire time and I’m seeing things that I missed the first time around. I completely agree with Leslie that we won’t regret at all these years being at home. Yes, the days can be extremely trying and tiring, but they are also the best days of your life.

  4. Reply
    Mrs. Jones
    October 24, 2010 at 1:13 am

    I’m with Whitney – so many of us are envious of the wonderful opportunity you have! I pray that I get to do the same one day down the road, and that I will be as graceful as you in raising a sweet baby girl!

  5. Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 1:21 am

    When you were telling me about this at the game a few weeks ago I was thinking “I sure hope she blogs this.” You did…and you did it so well. Charlotte is blessed to have you for a mommy!

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