Is The Stay at Home Parent Sacrificing?

by : Becky Parr

I am the stay at home mother of five children, four of whom are biologically mine. I'm asked quite often how the heck we get by. I almost never give an honest answer. To do so would only make the person asking the question feel belittled and make me sound superior and that's not what I would ever want.

When I look at the world around me today I see so many lost little faces. Little people feeling disconnected and big people feeling like they missed out on something but knowing not quite what. I have friends who work fifty to sixty hours a week. They take two vacations a year and have two new cars. Their children all have the best video games and computers. They are very stressed people. I know parents that only work forty hours a week. Both parents mind you. They also have at least one new car and massive credit card debt to get their kids the latest games and phones and computers. They are very stressed people. The thing I find amusing is where these children can be found. Not where the brand new computers are, ours is many years and many repairs old. Not where the latest video game equipment is, we don't own even one, wait I might still have an Atari. Yep, you guessed it, they're all at my house, lamenting about their horrid math teacher or gushing about the hot guy in 3rd period while I'm stepping over a toddler and a husky (my pound rescue and my comic relief)trying to fit 2lbs of pasta into a pot designed for much less because my 5 year old is using the big pot for a homemade "science experiment.". The children wandering in and out of our home range from 18 months to 20 years. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

We live comfortably, no new cars, no state of the art electronics but we're not walking or taking the bus and we have cable. How we manage to get by is very simple, we prioritized. I'm not sacrificing anything by staying home to raise my children. Even if I did have to take the bus, have no TV and do without meat in my meal plans 6 of the 7 days a week it still wouldn't be a sacrifice. (If that sounded a little specific, it was, we have had to do those things and I'd do them again, happily. Ooooh, there's a word not used very often in conjunction with doing without.)

One of the little ones spent the night a while back. She was about 4 at the time. We got up on Saturday morning and took inventory. The only thing in the house we had enough of to feed us all was the makings for French Toast. She asked to call her mother about half way thru, I said sure and overheard her call. She had called home absolutely amazed that there was another way to make French Toast. Mom. she said, did you know that some French Toast is made with bread and eggs? Aunt Becky didn't even put it in the toaster! Sacrifice? Please. My children will be raised with my beliefs and morals, not whoever the daycare center has making minimum wage pretending to give a rats ass about my children. I'll know them well enough to see warning signs of future trouble and they'll know me and my expectations. It occurs to me that instead of asking how much a person would sacrifice to be a stay at home Mother/Father, the question should be do you know what you're sacrificing by not being a stay at home Mother/Father.

As I sit here writing these things I know that I'm sounding a wee bit defensive. Yeah, I said wee bit, problem? Huh, well, Huh? OK I keeed, I keeed! This comes from a part of me that has listened to women in our government as well as media and business people that make raising ones own children sound like a job that's not worth the time of a well educated, motivated individual. Like by choosing to take complete responsibility for what I have brought into this world is somehow hurting the the cause known as Womens Rights. I for one don't think getting out from under a big hairy knuckled thumb to replace it with a dainty well manicured one is what the original bra burners had in mind.