Dear Mr. President: I Chose to be a Stay-at-Home Mom

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Though I have very strong political views, I remain apolitical in this place, so please don’t misunderstand the nature of my post today. This post is meant to encourage women who choose to stay at home with their children.

I emphasize choose because, in a recent speech, President Obama made stay-at-home motherhood sound like a sentence rather than a voluntary and honorable choice when he said, “That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

And why not?

Before I begin, please understand I’m not denigrating those who work outside the home. This is a choice (there’s that concept again) for many women; for many others, it is a necessity. My choice was to stay at home.

I made that choice when I was 17, around the time Smith College was trying to recruit me. I also walked away from a full music scholarship because I determined a music career wasn’t the best choice for someone who wanted to stay home. My secondary passion was writing, so I would instead go into journalism, which would allow me to freelance from home while raising my children. Music would become secondary.

While in college, I turned down an opportunity to audition for a contract with a major record label. This did not fit in with my plan. Later, as an editor at a major metropolitan newspaper, I chose to leave behind opportunities for advancement so I could stay home with my firstborn.

Please note staying at home was not by default. In high school, I was in the top 2 percent of students nationwide. In college, I was one in four from a class of thousands selected for the senior honor society. I ascended quickly in my career. I’m an educated, accomplished woman. Nor was it easy. Our income was nearly cut in half. So why would I make such a humble and humbling choice?

The idea was fostered in my topsy-turvy childhood. My late sister and I were abandoned several times over and were abused in between. In our home life, we never knew stability. We never knew nurturing. We never knew love.

I was determined to be a chain-breaker – the one who would pass on a very different legacy to her own children. I would sacrifice whatever I needed to sacrifice to be there for them, to love them, to nurture them, to teach and train them. I would be there to pour Christ into their lives  every waking moment. I would be there to point them to a gracious Savior who had entrusted this stewardship of motherhood to me.

A former colleague who didn’t affirm my calling commented that she needed more in life than to say “goo-goo ga-ga” all day long. I knew in my heart those days were precious and few, and I didn’t want to miss one of them. Was it humbling? Yes. But did my role require I lower my worth and intellectual capacity? Absolutely not. I taught my children the Scriptures. I taught them the classics. I taught them music. I taught them critical thinking. I taught them the value of hard work. I taught them to evaluate their lives and decisions in the light of God’s truth with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Do I wonder what my life would have been like had I gone to an Ivy League School, had I pursued a career as a professional musician, had I climbed up the corporate ladder? Of course. But I have great job satisfaction as I look at the now-grown products of my efforts. And my choice is one this American is glad she made. I ask you to respect it, Mr. President.

10 thoughts on “Dear Mr. President: I Chose to be a Stay-at-Home Mom

  1. Dan McDevitt says:

    My wife was a stay at home by choice, when the kids were in HS she went back to work. At that point I became Mr. Mom taking kids to school, cooking, shopping. I never regret putting my career a step back for my family. There is no substitute for time spent with your kids. I am blessed to have two great adjusted young adults.

    After all, what is love? God calls us to love. Love is sacrifice at it’s core.

    Very good topic Cheri

  2. Cheri Henderson says:

    That’s it, Dan! As I said up front, the intent of this post is to show support for women like me who made the hard but rewarding decision to stay home. I commend you and Tammy for your investment in your children. May it be repaid in spades. From what I’ve seen, it already has.

  3. A mother staying at home in order to care for her children is such a great thing to do, but the problem is that not everyone can afford to do that due to bills they have to pay. It all depends on your financial status as well as your monthly bills.

      • Well, we’re living in a time anything that comes from the Word of God will not be welcome by this perverted society. That’s the reason why when someone says He’s doing this and that as result of his faith in God, society tends to ridicule that person.