I think that in my life right now, I am so completely content in my marriage, with the children, homeschooling them and generally with the current state of things. I am satisfied with the way things are, I just enjoy being. I almost used the word "happy", but it is just too transient of a state. Being happy will come and go, and being content doesn't mean there aren't ever any struggles, but overall, I am content. I find myself lately in a very peaceful state.
It could be my age, when I look back, it seems like during my twenties I was always "striving" for something, I had "ambitions" and that was really the focus of my energy. At the same time, there were a bunch of changes during my twenties, going to college, getting married, having children, there was a huge period of adjustment with every change. It could be the natural order of things, I mean, things have settled down quite a bit for me, my kids are older and its all less frenetic. I also notice that during my twenties I was influenced by what other people thought of me, by societies expectations, I was influenced by external forces. Now don't mistake what I am saying, I have always been a free thinker and my own person, but those external forces doesn't hold much sway over me at all now.
When I first began staying home with the kids, I felt like I needed to offer an explanation for it. "oh well, we couldn't afford the daycare for three kids, we wouldn't make any money, if we could I would have a job in a heartbeat!". That wasn't true at all, I wouldn't ever make that choice unless I was forced to. I know myself well enough to know that my priorities fall in different places, and I would really suck at making the hard choices that would entail. (Which again, to be politically correct doesn't mean that is the case for each mom). There is a certain amount of weirdness involved in being a stay at home mom when it come to filling out forms. You get the general impression that people might think you are a slacker. And you get alot of "woman power" lectures in college that really don't ever revolve around a woman nurturing and taking care of her family, that has somehow become a "less than" role, its always about a woman going out and working and making some amazing contribution. But I think the contributions of Moms who nurture their children and do an incredibly awesome job of it have been underestimate and grossly overlooked. It is seen as a backwards choice, as some sort of a crime against womanhood. Being a homemaker clearly doesn't make you any money. And I am not advocating that every Mom should be a stay at home mom, I have a great deal of respect for moms who work. I don't believe that every woman should make the same choice I do, I just don't think that either choice should be disrespected.
I really enjoy being a homemaker, and I make a distinction between that and a currently stay at home mom who plans to pick up her career as soon as humanly possible. Its not that either is better, but there is a shift in thinking that occurs. I see my career as being a homemaker, its not a transient state for me, even if I "moonlight" for some extra cash. My higher priority will always be my career as a homemaker. I don't' think everyone has to, or that I have chosen a morally superior way, its just what is right for me and my family. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from baking and preparing meals for my family, its a source of pride to me that most of what we eat is made from scratch by me. It just happens to totally float my boat. It also makes everything cheaper, but that's another source of satisfaction for me, when I am able to save our family money that would be wasted on piddly little things that we can use purposefully. Being careful with money isn't a source of shame for me, wasting money would be. We have very purposefully been removing ourselves as much as possible from the consumerism end of things. I love looking over and seeing the girls wearing clothes I made for them. I think I would be right at home in an episode of little house on the prairie (as long as they had washing machines, beating the laundry on a rock down by the river is a bit much for me).
I feel as though we have chosen a slower, less popular way of life with homeschooling, and having very traditional gender roles that probably isn't going to win me much respect, much less a Nobel peace prize (they really ought to change the standards for that though, I mean, anyone who can broker peace between siblings deserves it). But the rewards I get are much deeper, and more meaningful to me than that ever would be. I feel as though I have the opportunity to be there for everything, to nurture and teach my children, spend time building a relationship with my husband, and to make a beautiful home environment for us that really is a sanctuary and a haven that we look forward to retreating to. The things I could purchase with extra money would be forgotten quickly, but the rewards of a peaceful home life and the memories we create will last us a lifetime.