This past Monday, after almost a decade outside of the banking industry, my wife Amber went from in-home childcare provider to professional banker. How did it come to this? First, a little backstory…
Roughly nine years ago, my wife Amber and I were expecting our first child, Luke. Prior to getting pregnant, Amber expressed her desire to stay at home with any kids that we would have and raise them until they went off to school. We were both in agreement on this decision, however, as poor early 20-somethings just starting our respective careers, our budget didn’t allow for Amber to focus solely on being a full-time mom. Since Amber had experience with kids from babysitting, working as a nanny, and helping out in her mom’s in-home daycare, opening up her own seemed the most logical step to take. It gave her the ability to be a stay at home mom and allowed her to contribute much needed income to our finances.
Yet, this transition from career woman to daycare provider was not without its sacrifices. There were the big sacrifices, such as no longer having the opportunity to spend her days interacting with people who had responsible bowel control, deep cleaning the house everyday, and taking only two weeks of maternity leave. I won’t even go into the fun that is tax season as a small business owner. There were also small sacrifices, such as being unable to go to the bathroom without having the equivalent of a mini-SWAT team trying to break down the door, and missing out on sipping coffee while listening to the morning radio show during her commute.
Through it all, Amber was happy as a daycare provider. Our family grew, and she cherished the time she had at home with our children. Not content to just sit at home, she took everyone out and about around Omaha. We have many pictures of outings to the zoo, splash pad, parks, and the annual fall daycare get-together at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. I can’t help but smile when I think about the families that went from daycare clients to lifelong friends. Case in point: We live three houses down from Amber’s very first client, her current boss was her second client, and our dog Dakota was a stray given to us by another one of her clients. Its funny to think about how different our lives would have been had Amber not done daycare…
Fast forward to late 2015. Amber gets a call from her old assistant branch manager (now branch manager), asking her if she would be interested in coming back to work. After much discussion and number crunching, now seemed the best time to make that move. Over the years, we’ve had many conversations regarding when she would eventually quit providing in-home daycare, at which time she’d either go back to school or work outside the home. While this current opportunity presented itself a few years early, it was too perfect to pass up.
I believe that if you asked Amber if she would have made a different decision nine years ago, her answer would be a firm “no.” In spite of the challenges along the way and career opportunities she may have missed out on, I don’t think she would have traded it for the world. I only have to look at our kids to know what her answer would be. I know without a shadow of a doubt that our kids would not be the little people that they are today without her love, presence, and constant encouragement in the early years of their lives. I am humbled that she would choose to put her professional career on hold to be a stay at home mom, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.
Thank you Amber, for following your heart, loving our family well, and being the wife, mom, daycare provider, and now banker you were meant to be. The kids and I are so proud of you and can’t wait to celebrate your successes with you not only this year, but for many years to come. I love you!