I grew up in the post-60s feminism era, never questioning the idea I would go to college, have a career and be married with children. But I went off track early, quitting college during my sophomore year. I then got married and had my first son. I worked part time and it was stressful and I hated leaving my baby, but that's what I thought I had to do.
I went back to college when my son was one, trading babysitting with friends who were also in college. Son #2 came along and I continued college part-time, still planning my eventual career. I had big dreams. I was going to be a mover and shaker and people were going to respect me and look up to me. I was going to be "Somebody".
Son #3 was a big surprise. At this point, I gave up school. Still thinking staying home with the boys wasn't "enough" and I needed to "contribute" to the household, I looked for a part time job where I could work evenings so my husband could be home. One of the boys started throwing up, almost on cue, as I was heading out the door to a job interview. I just couldn't leave a sick kid with my husband, who was tired after a long day of work and I couldn't bear leaving a sick kid at all! I felt like God, the Universe or whoever was giving me a sign. I didn't go to the job interview and did not get the job.
Son #4 was another wonderful surprise, and by now I was solidly in stay-at-home-mom mode. But I still felt guilty. I felt inadequate because I wasn't earning money to help support our family. We lived in a tired little 80 year old house, and I badly wanted to fix it up and redecorate. When we had visitors, I cringed at the worn carpets and stained wallpaper I could not afford to replace.
Years later, I realized how blessed I was I didn't complete college, go to work and then have children who I would put in day care. My boys don't remember the threadbare carpet, but they do remember how I was always there when they needed me. And now, as they approach adulthood, we listen to your show and I make it a point to encourage each of them to marry a woman who wants to stay home and raise her children and to expect that (as the man, husband and father) he will take care of his family, even if it means choosing to live in a small, modest home and sacrifice things other families call necessities. We now know the biggest necessity of all for children is to have their Mommy to themselves and little else matters.
Thank you, Dr. Laura, for your clarity and support of stay-at-home Mommies!