Hi Dr. Laura,
I absolutely had the forethought to know I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother when I was in college, but I also was an academic. I think my ultimate career choice ended up making my children's lives so much better, and I am grateful. I believe I was your listener at the time, too. Anyway, I chose to be an English teacher -- I ultimately earned two Master's Degrees and a teaching credential. My plan was to teach until I had children and then be home until they all started to attend school and then go back to work since our hours would be the same. Reality did not work according to plan at all.
I was married to my first husband for 9 1/2 years, mostly happy years; I joked when I got pregnant that we couldn't get divorced now since we were going to have a baby. Long story short, he had an affair when the baby was 6 months old and admitted it to me on her first birthday. He chose to not break it off and, thus, we divorced. Because I had my degrees, I got two part-time jobs at Community College; my family helped with other things - which was extremely supportive. I thought about never getting married again and just raising my daughter; however, in the end I carefully selected someone who didn't have prior children and knew my daughter was the priority.
Our marriage is a solid one, but not without its bumps--they are just of a different kind. Once married, I cut back my work schedule taught only one class which kept me fresh and my daughter always was with a relative or my husband when I worked all of 4 hours a week. I also ended up joining another family, and we homeschooled when the children started kindergarten. My husband and I had another child, but when she was two, my husband lost his job due to the economy--he was out of work for, gulp, 2 1/2 years.
I have to tell you that at times, I felt like Job; I worked so hard my whole adult life and yet continued to have issues. Because of my career choice, I was able to work more--I had two part-time jobs based on my family's schedule--and still was home with my kids. We didn't lose our house or go into debt during that time. My husband has been back to work for over a year, but makes $20,000 less, so I continue to work, and I continue to homeschool, and I continue to be available for my girls. My one major wish is that I had a third child--I really, really wanted one, but I am at peace because we can take care of the children we do have. And I am still the mom who puts her kids to bed and is with them most of the day. My career choice allowed me in my circumstances to avoid day care and still support my family and be there to mother my children. I am thankful.