A SAHM's life is the life for me.

This morning, Babycenter.com asked me if I minded being called a stay-at-home mom (Or, SAHM, if you’re into that sort of thing). I love Babycenter’s knack for asking me questions that I was just asking myself recently (get out of my head, BC!).

I don’t really care whether what I do labels me as a stay-at-home mom (except that I would go crazy if I literally had to stay at home all the time). What does bother me is the general perception of what SAHMs actually do. It seems so many people think being a stay-at-home mom makes me spoiled, self-indulgent, unmotivated, uneducated or lazy, but I’m none of those things. Neither am I a daytime TV addict. I don’t even have cable!

I frequently get snippy comments from some working moms (another term I don’t particularly care for) about how they “work full-time, so they can’t x” or that they “don’t have the luxury of staying at home.” I had one person tell me, “Well, you have to think about the parents who actually work.”

Honestly, I didn’t realize my life was so luxurious. We make a ton of sacrifices so that I can be the person who raises our children. And while the term “stay-at-home mom” implies that I have a somewhat passive role, it’s anything but easy.

When I worked a full-time graphic design job, I would enter the office in the morning with some sort of game plan laid out for me. I had a pretty good idea of my daily workload and what my day would look like. I had stimulating conversations with educated adults all day long. I had plenty of great lunch dates with friends for mental breaks. I trained and supervised other employees who made quick, tangible progress. I received awards and recognition for a job well done.

Now, I am responsible for planning out every minute of every day so that my son and I remain productive. All day long I have conversations with a person whose vocabulary I can count on my fingers. Explaining simple tasks such as how to sit on a blanket requires thinking in the same realm as an 18-month-old. I wear the hats of a nurse, a chef, a financial planner, a penny-pincher, and a housekeeper, and I may not even get so much as a hug out of it at the end of the day. And just when I think I’ve gotten some things figured out, everything changes because my son has hit another developmental milestone. Doing what I do can be pretty isolating, and it’s the most challenging job I’ve ever had.

I’m certainly not complaining! I love my son so incredibly much and treasure my time with him. My life is extraordinary, but it’s not luxurious. We don’t opt for me to care for our kids because we can afford it. Because my husband and I feel it’s the right thing for our family, we make it work and trust God to provide for our needs. And we do without A LOT.

I honestly admire women who can have a successful, thriving career and then come home and keep their house in order and still make adequate quality time for their children. I seriously don’t know how they do it! From the moment I had my son, something inside me changed. I knew right then that there was no way I could still give 100% at my job AND be an excellent, engaged wife and mom. I didn’t have what it takes to do both. Sacrifices would be made somewhere, and corners would end up being cut. So I gave up the thing I knew I could live without.

But it’s worth it to me to be the one who teaches my child his colors or sees him walk or clap for the first time. It’s worth it to be able to introduce him to new activities and experiences that expand his mind and excite him. It’s worth it to stretch myself—creatively, spiritually, physically and mentally—because I’m devoting my time to raising up Godly men. It’s a thankless, misunderstood job sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.