I can’t even believe it myself as I’m writing it. Wow how time flies! My oldest son will be twenty and my youngest is mid-way through his seventeenth year. I’ve been a stay at home mom for twenty years!!!
I didn’t realize I’d be a homemaker this long, back when it all started. What a journey it’s been. My kids have grown and changed and so have I.
Three points I’d like to make:
First off, I want to say I’m grateful for the blessing of this lifestyle. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. My husband’s stable career in law enforcement and his upward mobility to the highest ranks allowed me to be home to raise our two boys. We’ve been blessed to live in a beautiful part of central NJ, a western county considered one of the most affluent areas in the state. Not that we’re affluent. We’re comfortable, thanks to God’s blessings, but we are also people who enjoy a simple lifestyle. The car I presently own is nine years old. My previous car was the one that brought both my newborn boys home from the hospital and I had it for eleven years. I get kind of attached to my vehicles 🙂
Second, I probably couldn’t have done it any other way, or at least it would have been a different and difficult path with who knows what ramifications. Just prior to conceiving my first son, I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. Initially it was overactive. After radioactive iodine therapy it slowly transitioned to underactive and eventually to non-functioning. I also had a previously diagnosed condition that wreaked havoc with my hormonal balance. For a good part of my children’s upbringing I suffered from insomnia, chronic fatigue, and migraines. Not until the last five or so years have I felt that I’m on the right prescription (a naturally-derived form of thyroid replacement as opposed to the more-often prescribed synthetic ones) and taking helpful herbal supplements. This is all to say, I don’t think I could have successfully managed my health challenges and a career and raising a family and keeping a marriage together. Something would have had to give, I know that for a fact. I’m glad it wasn’t my family.
Third, I have my regrets. Who doesn’t?
- I wish I hadn’t been such a worry-wart when my boys were little
- I wish I’d known each of their difficult phases was temporary and normal
- I wish I’d had more energy to match theirs and have more fun with them
- I wish I’d read an extra story and cuddled a little longer and listened a little more
- I wish I’d realized how fast time would pass, how fast they’d grow
In other words, I wish I’d known certain things earlier on in my life and health journey. I wish I’d done certain things differently and I wish I hadn’t done some things at all.
We’ve had our share of difficulties and disappointments, trials and tribulations but despite it all our family has managed to thrive. We’re grounded in good values and common sense. We’re relatively healthy, happy and strong. We’ve accomplished great goals and made some wonderful memories. I’m very proud of us.
My oldest son is currently in college pursuing an education in business. He shares an apartment off campus and is getting the hang of being a semi-independent young adult. My youngest is in his third year of high school. He’s already certified as a junior firefighter and just waiting to officially turn eighteen later this year to begin full duties. He also volunteers at the local rescue squad and runs his own computer business. My husband retired from law enforcement several years ago and currently directs the NJ office of an interstate security company. I continue to volunteer as I’ve done throughout all of my SAHM years, first at the kids’ schools, later at a crisis pregnancy center, now at my church in various ways. I’m enjoying having the time to pursue multiple interests: blog, read, bake bread, hike local trails, travel, learn new things, help others, deepen my faith, appreciate the world around me, and plan for my husband’s (and my) retirement and our empty nest future. I’m also mom to an adorable Corgi-Shepherd mix who is the center of the universe. I guess it won’t be a completely empty nest.