ABERDEEN, S.D. — As little Andrew Rohrbach greets the visitors at the door, he immediately begins to introduce some of the members of his family. “This is my Jessica,” the 3-year-old says as he throws his arms around his older sister.
“This is my Joy,” Andrew continues, pointing at the little girl crawling on the floor.
“And this is my mom.”
The mom, Vickie Rohrbach, smiles.
“One of the greatest things about being a mom is seeing how my kids react with each other every day,” Vickie said. “I love seeing the love they have for each other. I’m happy I’m home to do so.”
Vickie and her husband John have chosen to take a more traditional route to raising their seven children — 14-year-old twin boys, Michael and David, 11-year-old Jordan, 9-year-old Matthew, 6-year-old Jessica, 3-year-old Andrew, and Joy, who will be 1 this month. John works at Student Loan Finance Corp. during the day, while Vickie is a stay-at-home mom.
Vickie, 41, has her hands full, but she’s not alone.
According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 5.5 million parents — 5.4 million moms and 98,000 dads — chose the same stay-at-home route in 2003, the latest year for such stats and the first year they were collected.
And of the moms who do stay at home, 88 percent of them do so primarily to care for their children. The Census Bureau calls parents staying at home a growing trend, based on the increasing number of children who live in such households.
In 2002, the Census Bureau says there were 10.6 million children with stay-at-home moms. That’s up 13 percent from eight years prior. Overall, the bureau believes about one-fourth of all U.S. kids live in such households. This percentage is also up slightly in the past decade.
But stay-at-home moms will tell you it’s no picnic.
“You’re never off duty,” Vickie said with a laugh. “I don’t find it boring at all.”
For Vickie, who has a degree in public relations from Moorhead State University, the choice to be a stay-at-home mom was easy. Two weeks before the twins were born, she stopped working.
Heather Muntean, 31, also stopped working full time as a nurse once her children were born.
“I always wanted to be able to stay home with my kids,” said Muntean who has four girls with her husband Sam. “I just believed it was a calling for me more than anything. If God was going to give me these children, I wanted to be able to raise them.”
Vickie said the decision to stay at home was the right one for her.
“All I ever wanted to do was to be a mom,” she said. “My husband and I actually talked about how we felt about it on our first date.”
Vickie said John was looking for a wife who wanted to stay home and raise the kids. She was looking for someone who bought into the same beliefs as she did.
“At that point, I was already thinking about it,” she said. “We talked about it and he told me how he felt. It was something we discussed from the beginning.”
Fourteen years later, Vickie Rohrbach said she has no regrets. The Rohrbachs homeschooled the kids until a couple of years ago.
That’s when the twins started going to First Baptist Christian School in Aberdeen. Jordan and Matthew started there this fall.
“The homeschooling really bonded us as a family, but it got to the point where their needs were too spread out,” Vickie said. “I couldn’t give adequate time to everybody anymore.”
Although she said the joys far outweigh any of the negatives, Vickie admits there are times when she gets stressed.
“Of course, you have your burnout days,” she said. “Of course, I wish I could go for a walk whenever I want to. Your freedom is a little bit limited, but the benefits outweigh all of that.”
Muntean said sometimes she gets lonely, but she loves the benefits that have come out of her being able to spend more time with her daughters, 5-year-old Hannah, 3-year-old Kate, 2-year-old Abby, and 6-month-old Alexa.
“They’re all so affectionate,” she said. “They want to be with you all the time. My husband and I have date night once a week, and they’re always so excited when we get home.”
Vickie’s children are similar. Their love for their mom is clear. Jordan said her favorite thing about her mom is that she’s able to always be there for them.
“She’s very active and she goes to everything we have going on,” Jordan said. “I like that.”
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