When I was pregnant with my first son, I almost had a miscarriage and was put on bed rest. I had to quit my job. My husband and I had been married only 9 months when I got pregnant. It wasn't planned, but that's just how things go sometimes. I didn't go back to work in any capacity until my youngest was in kindergarten, that was about a 10 year span. When I did go back to work, I worked out of my home so that I could be at home when the kids got out of school for the day. I haven't worked outside the home since.
I was lucky enough to be able to do this, but it was a trade off in many ways. I didn't make as much money working at home. I didn't have a lot of "adult" interaction when my kids were younger. I had a lot of former friends who were still in the work force who perceived me as "less" of a person because I stayed at home with the kids rather than going out to a job every day. But I was there when my kids first smiled, said their first word, took their first steps. I was there when they cried or were sick. I was there when they learned to read to me and learned to write. I was there when they rode their first tricycle and got their first tooth. A trade off to be sure, but one that I chose and I wouldn't have chosen anything else.
Not everyone has the opportunity or ability to be a stay at home parent. For me though, it has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Yes, I could have gone out and made a lot more money. I could have gone back to school for even more education. I could have moved up the corporate ladder. To me though, the rewards of watching my kids grow up far outweighed anything I traded off by staying home.
The recent article by Katy Read Regrets Of A Stay At Home Mom has generated a lot of buzz and commentary. Ms. Read, after a divorce, found it almost impossible to get a job after staying at home for years and regretted doing so because of what has happened to her now. I find, that her regret is situationally based. If she had not been divorced and more or less forced to find financial support in the work force, would she still regret her decision to be an at home mom? I doubt it. Her situation has caused her to put her blame on her choice to stay at home because she now views that as the ONLY reason she can't find a job. In reality, the reasons she can't find a job are probably many and varied and have only a little to do with her decision to stay at home. The economy, the current state of hiring, the fact that there are probably hundreds if not thousands of people applying for the same jobs she is. It is always most convenient to find blame rather than work to find an answer to one's problems.
I have no regrets. I've learned to live life without them. Choices are made, trade offs are accepted, and life goes on. If you are truly at peace with those things, then regret doesn't figure into things. I wouldn't trade off my time with my children for anything.