After I had my first child, I told an old college roommate that I planned to stay home and take care of him. She replied, “How totally boring. You’re just going to stay home? I can’t imagine being stuck like that.”
Now, ten children later, I do not regret that decision. In fact, I have never regretted choosing to stay home with my children. People wonder how we can afford to raise so many children on one income. The answer is simple. Heavenly Father has blessed us to be able to do so. For me, staying home with my children has always been about exercising faith—not just about being able to financially do so, but also that my staying home will benefit my children.
I vividly remember struggling financially early in my married life. I’d graduated with a bachelor’s degree and it seemed like the answer was for me to go to work. Yet, my husband and I had made the commitment to keep me home. Faith preceded the miracle. Once we put our faith in Heavenly Father and then had a trial of that faith, he blessed us. And he’s continued to bless us in so many ways.
Over the years, I’ve received comments about the decision to stay home. My grandfather, who raised me, told me on several different occasions that I was wasting my life raising a bunch of kids. He said, “If I’d known you were going to waste your education raising kids I would never have encouraged you to go to college.” I don’t see my education as wasted at all. In fact, I believe my education has made me a better mother.
I have a solid testimony of following the counsel to stay home and raise my children. I shudder to think how my youngest son would be doing if I were not home with him reading to him, talking to him, playing with him, and encouraging him to strengthen his muscles. It’s a fact that no one cares more about my children than my husband and I do. It’s also a fact that no one can better serve my children, especially my youngest son, than I can as I stay home.
It is a privilege and honor for me to be a wife and mother. I have never wanted anything else. Perhaps, it’s because I felt cheated as a child since my parents died when I was so young. Maybe it’s because I always wanted a big family like the Brady Bunch when I was growing up. Whatever the reason, I am so thankful each and every day that Heavenly Father has blessed me with a large family and that he has blessed me with the opportunity to be able to stay home and raise them.
I do not judge those who make a different decision than I have. Everybody has to make their own decision when it comes to staying home. Not everyone is in a position to do so and it’s not my place to stand in judgment of anyone’s decision because I have not walked in anyone else’s shoes. I do believe wholeheartedly that if moms have the desire to stay home and are willing to put their faith in Heavenly Father, he will provide a way. I’ve learned in my life that Heavenly Father always provides a way to accomplish a righteous desire and staying home to raise a family is certainly a righteous desire.
I love being a mother. I love watching the kids play together. I love seeing their first steps, hearing their first words, and listening to them when they first begin to read. I love the choking hugs and sloppy kisses. I love to eat (well, maybe not all the time) sandwiches made by my 5-year-old. I love to listen to them interact with each other and play games together. While I don’t enjoy the fighting, whining, or complaining, I love to see them realize they’ve done something wrong and apologize for it. I love to hear them bear their testimonies and explain points of the gospel. I love to watch them develop their talents and share those talents with others. I love to see them serve each other and those around them.
Of course, being a mom isn’t all sunshine and roses and I’ve certainly experienced some hard times, but all in all, I don’t regret my decision to be a mom or to stay home with my kids. It may not be easy, but it is definitely worth it. I have no doubt that our families will bring us the greatest joy.
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