Plain and simple, a pre-holiday conversation with a longtime friend spelled it out for me:

She: Have you gone back to work yet?

Me: No.

She: Do you have to go back to work yet?

Me: Not really.

She: Then don’t. Stay at home as long as you can. It’s worth it.

This comes from a woman who had her son young. Her son is now preparing to graduate high school and she is gaining back her time to do with what she wishes. But she also stayed home with her son until he hit middle school. While I was commuting and paying daycare tuition by working long hours and pining away for my baby Girl from the West, she was home with baby son. I wouldn’t say I envied her at the time. But now, I see the value in this time.

It took me more than a year to see this value, which I realize comes from those who covet the position. Another friend, when asked what she wanted for Christmas, said she wanted to “stay at home with her baby.”

It really does come from those who aren’t in it. Because being in it isn’t that cushy unless you are UMC or the Hiltons. But it takes realizing that those who aren’t staying home want to stay home that I’d better relish it as long as I can.

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