Recently I met a university student who was approaching graduation and greatly looking forward to excellent financial prospects. As he shared with me figures he expected to earn that quite simply sounded astronomical, I couldn’t help but wonder if his focus was a bit “off”. Yes, money is necessary, but it certainly isn’t everything. Leaving the conversation I chuckled to myself wondering what he would think if he knew that I hadn’t been paid in more than a year.
Most days the job of a stay at home mom is anything but simple. I balance life as a chef, chauffeur, cleaner, nurse, coach, translator, personal trainer, general entertainer (specializing in song, dance, and funny voices), librarian, finder of lost toys, spiritual director, photographer, security guard, speech pathologist, health and safety inspector, and the list could go on. All this for a boss who is simultaneously easy to please and extremely demanding. The role is ever changing and carries infinite responsibility. I’ve been on call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for thirteen months and my boss doesn’t believe in vacation, sick days, or sleep. But to be clear I’m not complaining.
It’s not entirely true that I have not been reimbursed for my efforts. I get paid daily in giggles, cuddles, hugs, and a variety of smiles ranging from sweet, cheesy, cheeky, and sly, not to mention the dreamy smiles as he falls asleep. I receive bonuses and commission in the form of first words, day long silliness, a little guy crawling to meet me when I arrive home on the rare occasion I leave without him, and the amazement of watching my son grow, change, reach and then surpass milestones. Cliche as it may be, a monetary value can’t be put on these things because they really are a priceless gift from God.
I left a job that I thoroughly enjoyed for one far less glamourous. It is also the most rewarding and fulfilling role I’ve ever played. In the end, I consider myself far from deprived and undervalued but rather very lucky and thankful that I get to spend my days at home with my baby enjoying all that being a mom entails. In this sense I am most definitely rich.
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