My Darling Children:

There has been so much going on in our lives and so many changes since Kathryn was born. When I look back at the last two months, I can’t believe all we have accomplished and how we have grown as a family. Some of my greatest moments have been watching the three of you interact and get to know one another. However, I must admit one of the things that has brought me the most peace is being able to be home with you. What a difference in our lives now that I am at home full-time.

When I was teaching, I would often have student teachers in my classroom. One of my responsibilities was to meet with the student teachers at the beginning of their rotation and introduce myself to them. I would, of course, explain my background, my teaching philosophy, about you and then I would get around to telling them about my future goals. I would look into these eager faces about to embark on their professional lives and tell them that my future goal was to be a stay-at-home mom. This statement was often met with disbelief and many questions.

In principle, the idea of being a stay-at-home mom seemed the only option to me. But I must admit that when I was pregnant, and the time to be at home was getting nearer, the reality of the situation frightened me a bit. I did not know what to expect. I had never before had the opportunity to stay at home where I could care for and nurture my family for an extended period of time. I had always had work, and found a way to juggle both work and a family. How would I feel now that there was no more juggling to be done?

Before I left work, people would often make comments like, “I am sure you are looking forward to your year off but by the end you will probably be ready to get back to work.” I heard statements like this so often that I began to wonder if they were correct. What if I couldn’t wait to get back? What if the reality of the situation was nothing like the picture I had conjured up? Well the reality is nothing like I imagined.

It is very different, yet so much better. I had these rosy images of me making bread, having dinner on the table when your dad and Patrick got home, having the house neat and tidy and still having lots of energy at the end of the day. Well that truly was a dream. Most days, when daddy and Patrick get home, dinner is no more than a plan, the house has toys, books and pictures reminiscent of our day and I am ready for a couple of minutes alone. I find myself still trying to juggle to get everything done and not nearly as many hours in the day as I imagined there to be when I worked. But I also found something else – a sense of peace and happiness that I have never experienced.

A peace and happiness that comes from not only being surrounded day in and day out by the things I love the most, but by being able to say I have dedicated my life to working for my family. Does this mean I will not go back to work full-time? Well, your dad and I hope not. We hope to find ways to make my staying at home permanent. However, if I do have to go back to work, I will take back a lesson that I will teach to all the children in my classroom, something I want you to know and believe from experience: that every time we tell a little girl she can be whatever she wants to be, and we list professions such as prime minister, doctor or lawyer, we should include at the top of that list, each and every time, a stay-at-home-mom. Not only is it the most rewarding career I could ever imagine, but it is also the most challenging. It is the only career where things change and grow each and every day. Where every action you take affects the lives of another. Where you must continue to study and learn and continuously update your skills. Where the job never ends, but even when you mess up, you can’t be fired. Best of all, it is the only job where in the middle of the day, someone will grab you, hug you and tell you they love you.

My darling children, I am so thankful that I have this time with you and pray that in the future, you and your families will be able to say with pride that you have a stay-at-home mom.