By Cheryl Demas
I have tried in the past to explain to childless friends why I left a good, high-paying job to work at home, to stay home with my kids. I’ve never really felt that I could adequately describe the reasons I want to be home with my girls. I’ve never felt that I had successfully convinced anyone that I’m doing what I really want to do. They still seem to think that I’m sacrificing something, or missing out, just so I don’t have to put my kids in daycare.
Now Mother’s Day, (my favorite holiday) is right around the corner. After all, who wouldn’t like to have a day dedicated just to them? The only thing that could be better than Mother’s Day would be Cheryl’s Day, but I don’t think that is too likely. So I’ll settle for Mother’s Day.
A few years ago, my daughter made a huge tissue paper Mother’s Day carnation corsage for me. She presented it to me on Mother’s Day morning, and of course expected that I would wear it all day. And I did. I wore it to church, to breakfast, to the mall … from other mothers I received smiles and knowing glances, from non-mothers, I received stares and curious looks. I could tell they were wondering what would posses me to attach several square yards of multicolored tissue paper to my chest. I overheard one of the young salesclerks at the mall say to a colleague as they walked away, “It must be a Mom Thing.”
I knew they could never understand, so I didn’t even try to explain. But after I thought about it, I decided they were right. It is a “Mom Thing.” Before I was a mom, there was no way I could have understood it either.
Before I had children of my own, I always liked kids, but I was always glad to get away from them too. I assumed it would be the same when I had children of my own. I would enjoy my time with them, but then I would need to “get away” and have time for myself. So when I was pregnant, I imagined that after a short maternity leave, I would continue on with my 40-50 hour work week without a hitch. I was caught completely off guard by my desire to stay home with my children. These aren’t like those other kids, I could take or leave. These are “my kids!” Leaving them with someone else is like leaving part of myself behind. I just couldn’t do it. And that’s why I’m working from home. It is the only way I’d have it.
My childless, career minded friends might not understand why I’m doing this, and I shouldn’t expect them too. No more than I would expect the girls at the mall to understand why I would wear that giant corsage. It’s just a “Mom Thing.”