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Mom's Time Out

Big "really matter" decisions

Abigail Shiyer

(3/2010)  As a parent, I am always questioning what I should do about this or what I should do about that. Some are little "don't really matter" decisions - like …Should I get my daughters hair cut short?, Should I let my kids eat candy before dinner?, Should I let my daughter wear summer dresses in the winter?, Should I let my son wear girls shoes and pink sun glasses?…

Some are medium "kinda matter" decisions - like… What's the best way to discipline my kids?, Do I need to worry about letting my kids visit with kids who may be a bad influence?, How much TV is too much?, Am I feeding them enough fruits and vegetables? Do I call the doctor every time one of them has a fever?...

Then there are those big "really matter" decisions - like… Should I send my daughter to all day kindergarten the day after she turns 5?, If so - should I send her to public or private school?, … or Should I home school my kids?... Who should have custody of my kids if something should happen to my husband and I?, and the list goes on - and will continue to grow as my kids get older.

But - one decision that we made - which I would consider one of the big "really matter" decisions was for me to stay home with them instead of working outside of the home. It's funny because it was an easy decision for us. Don't get me wrong - we had to get pretty creative with our finances, but we felt it was worth it. I have waited my whole life to have kids and be a Mom. But, even though it was an easy decision, I have come back to this one quite a bit.

Is it really best for the kids? Would it be better if they were in a daycare setting where they would be around other kids and be "socialized". Would they be more independent and outgoing if they "got out" more and were around a larger variety of personalities? Would they have nicer clothes to wear and better "stuff" if we had a second income? Would I be a better Mom because my time with them would be so much more precious? Would they be safer on the road if we had a newer, larger SUV?

I have even wondered if this decision was made out of selfishness. I mean - let's face it kids adjust to just about anything - quite well I might add. Am I being selfish because I don't want to miss anything? They are only going to be this small once - this is it - it's not a dress rehearsal. I want to experience it all. I would go crazy if I were sitting in an office while someone else was enjoying my kids at the park.

So - Am I being selfish? Have I made a decision that could alter my children's lives based on my wants and needs? Well - I have come to the conclusion that the answer is a big fat NO. And this winter has really helped prove to me that my decision to stay home and care for my children was a solid one. Here are the facts:

  • My son has been sick 35 out of the last 45 days. He has had days on end that he has been so miserable that only his own mother could stand him.
  • My daughter has been sick about 20 of the last 45 days. When she is not happy - no one in the house is happy.
  • I have collectively wiped noses about 589 times.
  • We have made 6 trips to the doctor's to be told the same thing each time. Give him Tylenol to control the fever, make sure he stays hydrated and come back if the fever persists.
  • After the first major snow storm, my daughter declared the she "hates winter" and refused to go outside anymore.
  • We have been snowed in for weeks on end and my kids are climbing the walls. We finally had to let them ride their scooters in the house.
  • I am embarrassed to say we have watched so many episodes of Dora, Kai Lan, Blue's Clues, Special Agent Oso, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - that I find my self singing along with the theme songs…

Based on the list above, I firmly believe that had these children been in the care of anyone else - they would have been killed. So - I am so proud to say that my decision to stay home with my kids is the very reason that they are still with us today. I have saved 2 lives. How many other people can say that? That they have made a decision that has saved lives. It feels great!

All joking aside - I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be home with my children. I'm sure every Mom wants to be the one to comfort their children when they are not feeling well - but, not every Mom has that option. And - who knows… who really knows if kids are better off being home with a parent during the day or having a "day care" arrangement outside of the home. Maybe it does really boil down to what you are comfortable with - or what you can swing financially. I guess I will never know if we made the right decision for our family - but it sure was nice not having to worry about taking off work because the kids are sick again…and it sure is great to know that if they are sick again tomorrow - I can just hold them all day… again. So - for me - Best Decision ever…

Read other articles by Abigail Shiyer