A few weeks ago I was faced with an extremely difficult decision. A decision that had me tossing and turning at night. One that, before it was made, kept my stomach in knots and drove me to tears. What was it? I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not I should go back to work. While I was pregnant I was certain I would be back at work 6 weeks after Dex was born. I loved my job and I thought I would want to go back. What I didn’t know is that I would love being a mom so much more. A few months before Dex was born my husband and I decided that I would take at least a year off. Oh how happy I am that we made that decision. That first year with my little boy was the most precious and beautiful time and I’m so grateful we had the circumstances to allow me to do that. As Dex has gotten older the topic of me returning to work has occasionally come back up. Partially because of the guilt I feel watching my husband work so very hard for us and seeing all of that stress and responsibility on his shoulders alone just kills me at times. I appreciate and respect what he does for our family more than I could ever put into words so I just wish I could do something to lighten his load. That and the fact that at times it can be challenging to live on a single income. So, earlier this month, I turned in my application to the local hospital. After several interviews I had the job! It was perfect! Close to home, only 2-3 days a week, great hours, decent pay. At first I was excited and proud of myself. Proud to think that I could contribute to our family financially. Proud that I could keep up my secular skills while still spending the majority of my time at home with my son. We are fortunate enough to have both sets of grandparents close by so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a sitter or ever having to put Dex in daycare. I walked, with my head held high, into my soon to be new boss’s office to go over the final details and she handed me my schedule. It was then than my heart dropped like a brick. I forced the smile to stay on my face and shook her hand as I cheerfully said, “See you Monday!” and walked out the door. As soon as I stepped into the corridor I burst into tears. The tears didn’t stop the entire drive home. I was so confused. Just minutes ago I had been genuinely excited and eager to start this new job and I really felt like I was ready. My husband and I talked and decided to see how I felt at the end of the week. I had made up my mind that I could at least try it for a month…of course it would be hard at first to leave Dex…but who knows…after a week or two I would probably get used to it and even enjoy it. As the week dragged on I just felt this horrible pit in my heart and soul and felt nothing but dread as Monday grew closer and closer. We talked and talked and went back and forth over every pro and con and prayed for wisdom to do the right thing for our family. It became abundantly clear what had to be done. I walked back into that office and tearfully explained that I would be unable to take the position. I truly thought I was ready to go back to work but I didn’t realize I was no where even close until that moment she handed me that schedule. Thankfully she was incredibly kind and gracious and as a fellow mama, she understood the reason for my decision. This time when I walked out of that door it was with a smile and a feeling of lightness and confidence knowing I had done the right thing. I know for many moms it’s not a choice and it’s something they have to do to provide for their babies. I will forever be in awe of the sacrifices they make and marvel at how incredible those women are to be able to provide emotionally, physically and financially for the needs of their children. Other moms need and or want to work for other reasons and I applaud them as well. I honestly don’t know how they do it and part of me wishes I could be more like them. Wishes I could be stronger, able to work, care for my son, husband and home…able to do it all without falling apart. But that’s not me. For the moment this mama needs to be with her son and he needs me. I know it was only two days a week and it might sound silly to some but the way I see it days add up to weeks and weeks to months, months to years……. years that I will never get back. He is only little once and I don’t want to miss out on even one second of it. Will I regret not taking the job? I haven’t yet. Would it have made life a little easier? Maybe in some ways it would have. We may not be able to go out as much as we had in the past and I may have to go without those cute new trendy pair of shoes or that new dress but is he worth it? A thousand times yes! If I’m choosing between those things and him then I choose him, I choose life, I choose love. Things will always be just that… things. You can never put a price on love and family. I am far from perfect and I make mistakes as a mom everyday and will continue to do so….but this won’t be one of them. Years from now there will be things I look back on and will have wished I had done them differently……but not this. No matter what mistakes I make I will always know that I was THERE that I tried my very best and I gave every bit of me that there was to give. One day I will go back to work, maybe years from now or maybe circumstances will change and I’ll have to go back much much sooner, but for now I’m right where I want to be. Making memories and building a bond worth so much more to me than any paycheck.