The Better Choice Was to Quit My Job

by Marisa Sharpe
I always knew that when the time came for me to start my family, I would quit whatever job I had and be a stay-at-home mom. I knew how important it was to be home because my own mother was not able to be a stay-at-home mom when I was growing up. I did not want the same for my children. I had earned a master's degree and was working as an elementary teacher when I married, and I loved my career. My husband spent the first two years of our marriage finishing school and had a job waiting for him upon graduation.

 Four months later, while on vacation in southern Utah, on the side of a dirt road, by cellphone, he was laid off. No warning, no severance, no nothing. Three days later when I didn't start my period, I told him we might be pregnant. His exact words were, "I just got laid off; of course we're pregnant!"

To our great joy (we had been trying to conceive for three years), we were. My husband was very diligent about searching for new employment: networking, interviewing, calling, everything that goes along with the process. I continued working and being the emotional and financial support for our family. 

 Now, saying one will quit a job to start a family when the husband has a job with good prospects is one thing. Saying one will quit a job when the husband is unemployed is quite another. My husband had much anxiety over the matter; I remember being quite calm overall, but to have both of us unemployed just wasn't prudent. I knew it was just a matter of time before he had another job, but how much time? The baby was due in December. 

Eventually, the unemployment benefits ran out. He was able to get a part-time job and a foot in the door with a company. When they finally made him an offer, it was less than I was making as a teacher and had horrible medical insurance and zero maternity coverage. We felt that was not the right path for us.

My pregnancy progressed, and another school year began. In late September, I attended General Women's Conference. The theme was "Choose the Better Part." I sat in the meeting, and all doubts melted away; the better choice for me was, of course, to be a stay-at-home mom, no matter the sacrifices. I knew I would be quitting my job in December--even if my husband did not have a job. Now I just had to tell my husband. 

I was nervous to tell him, but when I did, he was very calm and just said, "That's the right thing to do." I was so relieved for his support of my spiritual decision, but I think the pressure increased on his shoulders that night.

Two months later, right after Thanksgiving, he received a call from a company with whom he had interviewed several months before in May. They wanted a second interview. Two weeks before my delivery, he was offered a job. The salary was meager, but at least it was more than a school teacher's salary, and it had insurance. We gratefully accepted. 

An additional tender mercy was when the company found out his wife was about to have a baby, they said, "Get the baby here, be with your wife, enjoy the holidays, and report for work after the new year." 

 That is probably my best Christmas season ever! We had our long-awaited daughter, we were able to spend two weeks together without unemployment weighing on our minds, and we knew of a surety that blessings come after the trial of your faith. I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom and consider it my greatest privilege!