Sometimes I used to start up a conversation when waiting for the bell to ring at my daughter's school before it flooded.
Or rather, sometimes someone would start a conversation with me because honestly, I'm usually half asleep when I'm standing there. But there are those who are Morning People and they are ready to converse.
I join in, so I'm not rude.
A few weeks ago, a mother was asking what I did for a living. I said I wrote and stayed at home and she went, "Oh, still? Aren't your kids in school now? Or do you have a smaller kid?"
I don't think she was trying to be mean. My brain wasn't awake enough to really form a proper response. I said something like, "Well, my husband's schedule is insane, and if I had a job we'd worry we'd never see each other."
She went, "Oh, I have to work. I have to be independent."
Her words hung in the air. I said nothing. The bell mercifully rang, I kissed Natalie goodbye, and hurried my non-independent self home.
I do get what she meant, and I don't think she meant it in a mean way. At least I hope not. But here are the reasons why I do stay home.
1. My husband seems to deploy every year. If I had a job, I'd have to figure out child care. I would not want my kids to miss out on time with me when they are already missing time with their father.
2. We are not in debt. We paid off my car. We have no credit card debt. We don't live paycheck to paycheck. We budget. Well, actually, I budget. I'm in charge of the account. I pay the bills and I know if we have extra to do fun stuff.
3. My son has Autism. He doesn't deal with change well. If I worked for 8 hours a day, it would mess up his schedule and he could have a meltdown. I think he'd be okay in the end, but I don't want to put him through that.
4. My husband has a crazy schedule when he's home. He's in Security Forces. His schedule can change weekly. One week he'll be on the day shift. Then they might change him to the night shift. Sometimes the days he thought he'd have off are no longer off. We worry we'd never see each other if I worked. It's not worth it to our marriage.
5. I like eating my bon bons. I'm kidding. I eat Little Debbie snacks! No, really, what I mean is that I enjoy having time to write. My goal is to get a book published "the real way." (I do have one self published called The Swimmer's Assistant.) I sometimes get paid to write blog posts, review items, or write articles on websites. Writing is what I love to do.
6. I want to be available if the school calls. Sometimes Tommy is having a rough day and they need my advice. If I were working, I might not be able to take that call. I'd miss school performances as well. I wouldn't be able to go to class parties or have lunch with my daughter. My daughter is a kid who needs attention.
7. I'm never bored. Some people who stay at home say they get bored and I'm like, "How?" If I'm not running errands, cleaning, parenting, or cooking, I read. Or I write.
And yes, I am fully aware that there are women who feel the same as that lady at the school: they want to be independent. But again, I feel independent in my own way. I can manage a home when my husband is away for months on a time. I mow myself. I fix toilets myself. I can sort of build things myself. If we ever needed the extra money, I would get a job in a heartbeat. I also understand that there are single parents out there who do it all without a partner all the time. You guys are my heroes.
But my story is this: I stay home, because it's where I need to be.