SAHM = Stay-At-Home-Mom.
From 1981, when I was twenty years old and knew everything, and therefore did not need to finish college - to 1990, when our first child was born, I held a string of jobs. I was a clerk for the Department of Sociology at Kansas State, a bank teller, a clerk for an Experiment Farm run by Kansas State, a secretary for an insurance/real estate business,and a bookkeeper at a John Deere dealership. At one point, I scheduled local commercials at an NBC affiliate.
When Mitch was born, Dave and I decided that I would quit my job and stay home to raise this child and any future children. Actually, it wasn't really a decision, it was a foregone conclusion. We both expected me to be a SAHM.
I loved those years and would do them again in an instant - provided I get to be 30 again and have more energy. I took pride in caring for my children, running an efficient household, being the "class mom" who got volunteered for every school activity, and discovering creative ways to entertain and educate our children. I'm proud of the job I did.
I returned to work part time when they were in grade school - working only during school hours at a medical clinic across the street from their school. As far as they were concerned, life continued as always. When they were nearing jr. high, I got the chance to be a librarian - a life long dream - so I returned to full-time employment. When we moved to Green Acres, both kids were in college, and a second income was helpful - so I found my current job in the office of a manufacturing plant.
This Friday - May 1, 2015 - will be my last day there. I am "retiring" . . . at least from the public workplace. I will be helping Dave run the construction business we purchased at the first of the year. Along with some bookkeeping duties, my main responsibility will be to feed the crew. Stopping work to drive into the nearest town (grain bins aren't usually built inside city limits) and finding a cafe or fast food can take a large chunk from the middle of a work day. And often the nearest town is too small to have a restaurant. So, on the days that they are working within "reasonable driving distance" of home, I will take a hot meal to them. On days when the drive is too far I will either pack a cold lunch to go with them or, if available, let them eat out. W e are also hosting a monthly employee get-together to promote teamwork and a "family" feeling.
None of this is set in stone. If I decide to visit one of the kids or my parents, Dave and the crew will fend for themselves as they have in the past. My parents are now 78 and 80, and they live about three hours away. I'm excited to have the freedom to visit them more often and be there when needed. Without a 9 to 5 job, I can also take advantage of deals on plane tickets to visit the daughters in Albuquerque, without worrying about scheduling time off work (cause the deals are never on a weekend!).
As I was trying to explain to a co-worker why I am leaving, and why I want to take on these new jobs, it dawned on me that I'm returning to being a SAHM. The family dynamic has changed. Someday my parents will need more care than my children. Our six employees and their families have become our extended family. But the job is the same -- caring for my original and extended family, running an efficient household and business, being the dependable "gofer" and "girl Friday", and discovering creative ways to entertain and educate the "family".
Yes, I'm excited for time to have a clean house and a well-maintained yard; time to garden; time to attend a Bible study; or time to read, sew and paint. I'm excited to wake up each day and no longer think about what I have to do today, but what I want to do, what I get to do.
There will be no tears over leaving a career; no feelings of inferiority because I don't have a title; no regrets about what I could have or should have accomplished. Only joy at returning to what I was created to be - a stay-at-home-mom to all those whom I call family.