My husband knows never to broach the subject of staying home with the kids to me. Over the years, he’s seen me turn into an insane, angsty monster (I mean, mother) whenever I stayed home with them – whether it was with one, two or three kids. I would always be the one who took time off from work to take care of them when they were unwell. It has always been this way. The kids would never want anyone else, not even their father. And then there were those times I’d take time off to spend “more time” with them. But if you hung around us longer and see me spend “more time” with my kids, especially if it’s more than forty-eight hours, you’d actually hear me begging God and everyone else to let me go back to work.
At work, I get to read the papers, check my fb account, poop in peace and chew my food during meal times. At work, I get to engage in intellectual conversations about issues concerning our society and the world at large. I do work that is meaningful and believe in what I do with all my heart. I receive little notes every now and then from people who tell me I’ve made an impact in their lives. I have colleagues who are caring and sincere, and most of all, genuine – unlike some of my friends who say they work in a place where office politics is rife and that they get backbitten on a daily basis.
Besides, I think my kids should go out there and interact with other children and play as much as they can in a happy environment for as long as it is possible. I mean, if they stayed home with a nanny, granny or helper, what would they do all day? Watch tv? At least at childcare, they get to learn and play in a protected environment with caring teachers. And when we all come home at the end of the day, we’ll get a healthy dose of one another and time spent would be indeed, quality time.
So this is what I subscribe to. Until lately when fatherkao asked me to consider staying home. And homeschool the kids.
It must have taken a lot of faith for him to even ask me to consider and for him to even think I will want to, and can, do it! Stay home, and homeschool the kids, all three of them? Hullo? Will I even survive the first day?
But I decided I will be open to the idea in the light of rising childcare fees and the fact that maybe, just maybe, this might be the best thing I can ever do for my children. So with that, fatherkao and I began a series of conversations for over three weeks, weighing pros and cons, and thinking ahead of ourselves. On my own, I thought about it every waking moment. I also checked out homeschooling curricula, spoke with friends who stayed home and those who stayed home and homeschooled their kids, worked out the finances, and prayed for wisdom.
I also had pros-and-cons “SAHM versus FTWM” matches in my head on a daily basis for the past few weeks.
“I won’t be able to get any me-time. No more pedicures, massages, foot rubs and facials.” FTWM 1, SAHM 0.
“Will my piles problem return? I won’t be able to have regular meals and then I’ll be probably constipated forever.” FTWM 2, SAHM 0.
“No more monthly paychecks! This means I won’t be able to buy things for myself whenever I feel like it! I have to *gasp* ask my husband for permission?” FTWM 3, SAHM 0.
“I’ll lose touch with the world and become an old hag with terrible hair, coarse skin and un-manicured nails. I won’t have the chance to wear pretty dresses, shoes and makeup! I won’t get to talk to adults about adult things and my brain will start vegetating for the lack of intellectual engagement!” FTWM 5, SAHM 0.
I could go through this all day and chock up at least a hundred points for the FTWM side, while the SAHM score remains at zero.
So, what is my final decision about staying home, you may ask. It seems obvious, isn’t it? That I’m not mentally prepared for it. That I’m not ready to make the sacrifice. In all honesty, I am still far from being prepared, mentally, emotionally and physically, but I do have an answer after a month of deliberation.
This is it:
If not now, then when? They are worth a try, come what come may. And so the journey begins next year.