In 1984, I was the first and only female kindergartener in my elementary school to be identified and accepted into the brand-new gifted program.
In 4th grade, I wrote a poem for my teacher, which he loved so much, he had it professionally illustrated and mounted and framed. Last I checked, he still displayed it on his wall above his desk.
In middle school, several poems I wrote were published in Young Authors anthologies.
In my senior year in a high school of over 2,000 students (juniors and seniors), I was the assitant editor and feature editor of the Broken Arrow High School newspaper and won multiple state writing awards for my newspaper articles.
I also played Varsity Soccer, was on the Oklahoma State Olympic Development Soccer Team for a period, and played on a competitive team as well. I won a college scholarship to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a Division I college to play soccer and study Journalism.
Since college, I have earned an Insurance Agent's License and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, become licensed to teach in 2 states, taught preschool, 3rd and 4th grade, became English as a Second Language Certified, and ran a successful business out of my home.
Now I am the stereotypical barefoot-and-pregnant stay-at-home mom. And you know what? I love it.
There are some who would make denigrating comments toward me (and have to my face and behind my back), insinuating that I "wasted my potential" and that I am subservient to my husband. These people don't know me very well, do they?
Anyone who knows me would laugh at the absurd idea that I am subservient to Ben. He would probably tell you that if you would let him in on the secret to get me to be so, he'd gladly pay good money for it.
And as for wasting my potential...well, I suppose we all choose which "potential" we want to develop, don't we? Sure, maybe I could have been a cuthroat reporter or a famous author. Maybe I could have used my brilliant mind for some high-paying career. Maybe that makes some people happy. Good. It wasn't what I wanted. I chose my life, and I choose it every day. I count myself blessed to be able to stay home with my children, who I love and enjoy (if you can't tell by my multiple facebook posts about them every day). They make me laugh, and I find no greater fulfillment than seeing the results of something I have taught them. I am grateful that before I send them out into the world of public school, I can be confident in knowing that the foundation of their selves and all their values came from me, and not some other caregiver who may or may not share my ideologies. I can know that they were taught more than preschool skills. They were taught manners, discipline, hard work, perseverance, compassion for others, how to resolve their own problems and be independent, how to control their temper, how to talk to other people in different social settings, that they don't always get EVERYTHING they want and that's okay, how to eat nutritiously, and the difference between right and wrong. To me, that IS my potential. That is the potential that GOD saw in me when he made me a mother. It is my greatest responsibility on this earth. What good is all the money from my high-paying career if I go to heaven and can't look the Lord in the eye and tell Him I did my best to teach more of His children how to return to Him! What good is all the status I can acheive in this life if my children grow up to be failures and can't carry on the legacy I create?
And on a side note, if it is financially feasible for me to stay home, why would I CHOOSE to add stress to all the lives of my family members, but mostly me, by trying to balance the responsibilities of managing a home, plus the role of a career woman, mother, and wife? By staying home, I not only GET to be with my children every day, but I can remove stress from my husband by supporting him in his career, manage the duties of home, AND still have time to pursue my talents and interests. Who says that by doing this I AM wasting any kind of potential? I got my degree. If anything happened to my husband, I could support my family if need be. And just because right now I am not focused on a career, doesn't mean that I never can be. Maybe when my children are grown, I'll go back to school, earn a Master's, maybe even a Doctorate, and go teach in the education department of a university. Or maybe, just maybe, while I am at home relaxed, and in my creative element, I'll write that children's book I have had an idea for at the back of my mind.