A woman came to my door selling her services as a financial advisor.
She told me she’d once been a stay-at-home mom but couldn’t handle it, so she went back to work.
How many times have I thought I’d like to be at work?
Far too many to count.
Work would be easier, I’ve thought. I could go to the bathroom by myself. I could drive in my car and listen to the radio and not hear whining, fussing, crying, or non-stop talking. I could think uninterrupted thoughts–while driving, while going to the bathroom, while staring at a computer screen, while eating lunch in the break room. I wouldn’t have to answer “Why?” repeatedly or create ways to entertain a toddler or suffer through tantrums.
I would have 8 or 9 or 10 hours a day in which I did not have to be instantly interruptible. I could lose myself in my work. And I could just be Ashley.
But you know what? My mission is not to be away from my children. Sure, I’d appreciate a break from them every now and then–a chance to recharge, to be with my husband or friends, or just sit and stare at a wall thinking deep thoughts.
What I really yearn for is support. That is what’s missing in my life and in the lives of so many other stay-at-home parents in our modern society. I don’t want to be away from my kids half as much as I want help being with my kids.
It’s disheartening that with social and technological advancements comes inevitable loss. Sometimes the loss–in this case, the loss of community–weighs so heavily upon me that I want to pack up my family and move to a region far removed from the modern world where mothers are supported through an extended community of family and friends. (And where the majority of one’s time is spent outside, and where the food is not genetically modified, and where “nursing in public” is not part of the lexicon, and where sharing a bed with your baby is not equated with putting him to sleep next to a knife. . .)
I bet they have very different struggles to contend with than I do. But I bet they’re happy. I bet their kids are happy, too.
Despite all the good in my life, I can’t help but be disappointed by modernity and nostalgic for a time and place in which I’ve never lived.
I only have one chance at life, and I wish circumstance didn’t play such a role in dictating what happens in that one chance. Because, more than all else, I want my husband, children, and I to live the fullest, happiest lives imaginable.