I am 48 years old. I’ve worked for over 20 years of our 32 year marriage but sometimes I wonder : What would life have offered If I’d chosen this or that instead.

Playing house is a favorite game for many little girls ,it was for me. We were dirt poor and my mama I call by her name Rachel would throw us up a bed sheet on our clothes line to play under. We have a ball making dirt cobblers in her old pans and putting rocks in for nuts. We would pretend to be mothers making dinner in the kitchen.

For hundreds of years, becoming a wife and mom was the natural course of life for most women around the world. There was no alternative. As the world progressed toward gender equality, however, little girls began to dream of one day becoming doctors, singers, cosmetologists, and even the president. Some of these girls grow up and become women who are able to balance being a wife and mother at home and a career woman at work as I do.

Some figure that marriage and motherhood are not for them and dedicate their lives to other passions. Others choose to dedicate their entire lives as dedicated wives and mothers. There is no wrong choice and each woman must go down the path that is right for them. Being a stay-at-home wife and mother requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. It is a 24/7 job with no paycheck in which my mother did all that while my dad got out and climbed mountains and dug herbs and wild plants for a living.

Yet all of that was worth it. Being able to watch one’s kids grow up and having a home-based business was lots of added work but priceless. Being able to support one’s husband and serving as the backbone of the family is a role that is irreplaceable. There is the fairy tale of getting married at a very young age and spending happy days having a family, but in reality it’s what you make it.

More than thirty years later, the kids have their own personalities. One is 32 and suffers from post-traumatic stress from an accident where his friend died. My second child is 21 and had some really bad drug issues and the other is 15 and been diagnosed with kidney disease. It’s not been easy nor pleasant but the rewards, like the grand children coming to visit can also help one cope. The husband is a very good man, he has his faults as I do not have any, with exceptions to mid-life crying spells and temper tantrums from time to time and food binges that make my gallbladder beg for mercy.

Being a mother and wife meant that one’s social circle consisted of church, Walmart and talking about each other’s kids on the phone if someone took the time to call you.

But what if one had chosen to pursue a career instead of becoming a wife and mother after getting married at a young age? But when one thinks about being there for your children’s first steps, watching them grow up and then enjoying your grandchildren then one becomes overjoyed with emotion reminiscing these priceless moments.

It’s hard to know how to feel sometimes. If I personally had a choice to change anything In my life It would have been my mistakes, and many there are. Not change anything else, just change the wrong steps I’ve made in life and allow God to guide me more and me guide less.

Originally published at medium.com