I want to start by saying that I am not one who has ever believed that a woman's place is in the home and that a mother should be home at all times with her children. There are many reasons a woman who is a wife and mother may choose to work; financial commitments of the family, preparing for the future, maintaining certification, need for fulfillment. These come to me immediately and I have been in one or more of them most of my life. I also know that there is nothing wrong in making the choice to be at home fulltime. This is a great blessing in the lives of those women and their families.
I was attending Ricks College when Ezra Taft Benson, then President and Prophet of the LDS Church, made the statement that a mother should be at home and raise her family. President Benson qualified his statement with the phrase "where possible." Even at that young age, I could see that it was a goal to strive for, but not a reality for many. Within five years of that statement, I had friends who had been married, had a child or two and were now divorced; friends whose husbands had become ill and no longer able to work; friends whose husbands had died unexpectedly; and friends whose husbands could not on their own financially support the family.
I had been blessed to be raised in a family where, except for one year when there was a financial necessity, my mother was home. The cost was that my father worked many jobs or took on additional assignments at school to make sure there was enough money. There were still many things that we did not have and I can remember begging my dad to let me go to work with him in the evenings as he ran the community school program, often making up assignments that could only be done at the school, so I could spend time with him. The other side of the coin was I never had to worry about going to daycare, I always had a ride to and from activities, I had someone at home to help with my homework, etc.
My point in this long introduction is that I do not believe that we should judge anyone for the choices they make, because we do not walk in their shoes. We can only make the best choice for us.
For the last six years, I have had the privileged to work with the most wonderful group of people. The officers of the Hurricane City Police Department are a truly dedicated group of individuals. They do their job for the people they serve and protect with professionalism and integrity. I am inspired by them daily and will be forever grateful for the time I have spent with them.
When we first moved to Southern Utah, Hunter refused to move with us. He had been the child most impacted by our moves with the military; attending three different schools in three years and at one time telling us that he would never make another friend because we would just make him move again. The impact of the constant moving and the time apart from the family were key factors in Rick's decision to leave the active duty military. So we moved back to Utah and family and our kids were able to put down roots.
After six years in the same neighborhood, with the same friends, attending the same church and schools; Rick was informed that he was going to be the target of an upcoming lay-off. He started looking for work elsewhere and decided to put his Master's degree to use. He interviewed for jobs close to where we were living, but ultimately was offered employment as the Town Manager for the Town of Springdale. This meant that our family would now need to move south and Hunter did not want to go.
It was one of the hardest things we have ever done, but after much prayer, the decision was made to let Hunter live with Grandma at least until the end of the school year. At the start of a new year, in the worst snowstorm in years, we left our son and set off south to new adventures. Hunter lasted one month away from us. When he moved south, we asked him what had changed his mind. His response was very profound from a 13-year-old boy. "When you know what Heavenly Father wants you to do and you don't do it, you will never be happy." He too had prayed and known that moving south was what our family was supposed to do, but his fear of leaving his friends and the known for the unknown had kept him where he was. By moving forward, he received blessings he could never have imagined.
Fast forward seven years..... 2010 was a year of upheaval. The foundations that anchored our family were literally burned to the ground. We have spent the last months working to rebuild a sense of security in our lives. We have all suffered from panic attacks, anger and depression; all the things you would expect with Post-traumatic stress. In September 2010, I realized that I could not do what I needed to do to support my family emotionally and continue to work. I went to the Chief of Police and to the City Manager and expressed my concerns. At that time, they proposed a six-month program that would allow me flexibility to deal with my personal life while continuing to work. I so loved my job and the personal validation that it provided me, that I agreed to this plan.
In January 2011, I came to the realization that I absolutely needed to be home. At this time in the life of my family, Heavenly Father was telling me my children needed me more than Hurricane City needed me. I have spent the last four months feeling bad when at work, because I should be at home, and distant at home because I knew what was at work. That 13-year-old boy was much wiser than his 44-year-old mother. It only took him a month to realize that he would only be happy when he did what he knew he should do. But those words uttered by him all those years ago have resonated with me and I know their truth.
So now I am off into my own unknown - full-time motherhood. Hold on tight, it could be a bumpy ride, but that is life.