family, parenting, photography, writing

Forget Money and Power. I have Playdough.

Emily and her monstersThis morning, Wyokiddo and I spent the better part of 90 minutes playing with her Playdough.  We started out making jewelery, but pretty soon, she invented her own “game” and was making Jack O’Lanterns out of Playdough and various loose parts we keep around the house like google eyes, faux jewels, craft sticks and buttons.

Together, we’d roll the Playdough into balls, then she would set about decorating them.  Some got a stem, some got eyes, some got bling.  I just sat back and watched.  I loved seeing the concentration on her face as she decided objects with which to adorn her creation.  I loved seeing her little fingers nimbly picking up tiny pieces and fixing them in place.  I loved hearing her giggle at her own silliness.  It was a joy to just be there and share that time with her.

It is morning like this that make me feel grateful that our family chose to have me be a stay-at-home mom.  And my heart is full knowing it was absolutely the right choice.

When Outdoor Guy and I got engaged eight years ago, we realized that some really big decisions loomed ahead for us, certainly bigger than which set of dishes would be on our registry.  We met and dated while both working for our state wildlife agency, but living almost 400 miles apart.  He was a culturist at a fish hatchery, I managed the agency’s public information and publications.  One of us was going to have to quit our job and move.

We weighed the pros and cons of our situation.  Both of us loved our jobs and were darn good at them.  We both had potential for advancement.  As a manager, my position made more money but required a great deal of travel and overtime.  His position came with a house and flexibility and a great deal of stability.  But then we talked about what we wanted for our future, and the choice became clear.  The Monday morning after we got engaged, I told my bosses the news.  Outdoor Guy and I chose a future with a family and the chance for me to be a stay-at-home mom.

It hasn’t always been an easy road.  There are times I miss the excitement of working and being part of the action.  Outdoor Guy has changed careers from fish to pheasants to create a better situation for our family.  We had to learn how to support two of us, then three of us, on an income that previously had supported just one person.  We budget our money carefully and live frugally.  We drive used cars.  Vacations are a once-every-five-year luxury, not an annual event.

Occasionally, I’ll get an offer to go back to work.  And for about two days, I’ll be tempted by it.  I’m lured by the excitement, the money, the variety of schedule.

Then I’ll have a morning like this.  A lazy day with nothing on my agenda but watching my dynamic little girl play.  I’m soon reminded that anyone can run an agency’s public relations.  But I’m the only one who can be Wyokiddo’s mommy.  And that’s the best job of all.

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