Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

Unemployed? Me?

on December 27, 2011

There was a strange sound to the words as my aunt’s sister said them. As we visited in the kitchen Christmas Day, I explained that I had taught at the local university until Saturday and that I would be staying home with our children for an undetermined amount of time.

“So you’re unemployed?” she said.

Unemployed?  I guess I hadn’t thought of my situation that way.  I chose to leave my job.  I’m not looking for another full-time job outside of the home.  I believe I am very much employed since I’m busy at home and have an endless list of projects to work on. 

I’m just not going to be bringing home a paycheck right now. 

That fact doesn’t make me a different person or less valuable.  It doesn’t mean I’m not using my degree.  It doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my dreams.  Being a stay-at-home mom actually is one of my dreams.  And it’s time to follow it!

I know people will have different kinds of reactions to my decision.  So far, I’ve received support from unexpected places (even in the dentist’s office!), some admissions of envy from friends, and some more critical responses (though not as harsh as I may have expected).  I pray God will give me the courage to explain our reasoning to those who question and the strength to hold fast to this new commitment, despite negative reactions. 

And, then there is my own questioning heart to deal with at times as well.  I’ve prided myself on my financial independence since I started college as an undergrad.  I’ve found some of my identity in my work and studies.  Those things aren’t necessarily easy for me to let go of…   

This decision is a rather huge leap of faith for us.  We don’t have it figured out.  I’m having trouble getting the financial numbers to balance in my mind (and, if you know any other engineers, you may imagine how that bugs me), but my God has never let me down.  He is always faithful, and the times in my life when I’ve been called to step out in faith in radical ways have been the times He’s helped me grow the most in my relationship with Jesus.

May this season of service bring glory to Him and refine my heart in new ways.

~Dana

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3 responses to “Unemployed? Me?

  1. Laurel.hill says:

    Funny that you mention this. Last night I was talking to a friend and they said somewhere that they had heard that a homemakers worth is $55,000. I need to look for that article.

  2. Peggy says:

    Hooray for you, Dana. First, for your leap of faith and secondly, for realizing that being a full-time stay-at-home mom IS a valuable full-time job. Unfortunately, sometimes the self-worth that comes from bringing home a paycheck and having a satisfying career (so, what do you do?) takes a beating. Another issue can be the delayed gratification from being a stay-at-home mom. In a world where instant gratification is so prevalent, your new career doesn’t provide the same sense of consistent “job well done” feelings that you may get when working outside the home. But, the long-term rewards are immeasurable. As one who has been through it and now reaping the rewards of successful happy adult kids and now grandchildren, here are some tips:
    HANG IN THERE! The diapers, dirty house, and messy faces won’t last forever. I hated the daily grind of cooking, cleaning and loneliness. So, make sure you connect with other stay-at-home moms (hard to do these days) or dads! Get out of the house and fascinate your babies with leaves, colors, animals and go to busy places to people watch – it will keep them entertained while their brains develop. At least today you have the internet to keep you engaged; your blog is wonderful!
    WHEN THEY START SCHOOL find something flexible part-time that feeds your needs. Even a temp job can provide some “brainiac” time. As a teacher, I loved volunteering in the kids’ schools.
    LONG RANGE: your kids will benefit enormously by having YOU teach them manners and faith and values as opposed to what they learn from other kids or harried daycare providers.
    UNEMPLOYED? No way! You have the most important job in the world, raising responsible children. When you get discouraged or sad, please call me! I will commiserate!

    • Dana K says:

      Thanks, Peggy! I actually think my teaching experiences helped me develop some more patience for delayed gratification. There definitely weren’t a lot of students who appreciated the rigor I tried to bring to my classes – at least, not yet. I really appreciate your encouragement!

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