When Himself and I started seriously talking about getting married and having kids, we decided that I would stay home with any kids we had. We didn't much like the idea of having latchkey kids or having someone else effectively raising them, and we were fortunate enough to be in a position where we could afford for me to stay home.
I have to admit that in the ten years that have passed since Thing One was born, there have been a lot of days when I would have killed to have an office to go to, just to get some peace and quiet and to get away from the humdrum day-to-day routine of life at home with very small children. A lot of days when I asked myself, "I got a Ph.D. for this??" A lot of days when I thought one more potty-training accident or Dora DVD or tantrum would spell THE ABSOLUTE END of my sanity.
I got an email on Wednesday from a girlfriend. She'd torn a calf muscle running, was in a boot as a result and having trouble driving...would I mind terribly bringing her daughter home after CCD that night? Sure, no problem at all. This little girl is Petunia's age (6) and a good friend of hers.
When we got to CCD, the friend ran up to me, gave me her school backpack and coat and asked me to hold them for her till the end of class. It was 6:45PM, and she hadn't been home yet.
This child's parents both work. They need to--I mean no judgment at all here. (They are great people and loving parents.) She is dropped off at her grandparents' house well before 7AM each workday, eats breakfast there, catches the school bus from there, returns there after school, and is picked up at dinnertime by one of her parents. On CCD nights, her aunt or uncle takes her to CCD directly from the grandparents' house, and her mom or dad picks her up from the church at 8PM. (Don't even get me started on why CCD has to run so late at night for small kids.)
By the time I loaded all four kids into my car and got to this girl's house to drop her off, it was 8:30PM, 14 hours after she left. Six years old.
And THAT, my friends, is why I am a SAHM. For all my griping, and for all the running around we do after school, I'm grateful that I can be home, because it means that my kids can be there with me.