I have had many jobs in my lifetime. I have graduated college, gone back to college as an adult, and tried my hand at different careers. There is no job as rewarding as being a mother, I think we can all agree on that. When you decide to have children, you have to decide on your career : work or stay home. I still work and I will probably continue to do so until it’s time for me to retire. If given the opportunity to stay at home, I honestly am unsure if I would accept. Does that make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s the opposite.
After giving birth to my children, I have stayed home a combined total of 18 wks. In no way was that enough time for me. By the time we all found our groove, it was time to shake it up by me leaving the home to return to my job. After the birth of my son, staying home was an attainable dream of mine. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to raise my child in a Attachement Parenting household. Working and AP do not go hand in hand, so I was really let down when I realized I could not stay home. I counted the weeks, then days, of when I was to return to work as if I was being sent off to prison. The day I went back to work was gut wrenching. My husband had to drop him off at daycare because there was no way I could do it. I scheduled my work days so that I could get off early enough to get to pick him up. I looked forward to that drive all day long.
We choose the daycare we did because my husband’s aunt worked there and would be in the same room as my son all day. There was a level of comfort there that allowed me to feel better about leaving him at a loud, chaotic place. After a couple of weeks of being back at work, it was easier for me to be away. I still missed my son terribly and I had pretty bad guilt about working, but there was no choice. Sure I could quit and we could struggle with our bills, but wouldn’t that bring unnecessary stress on my family? By working, we were able to put money in savings and pay the medical bills that were now beginning to pile up because of Jax’s disability. Jax does not qualify for any type of assistance, despite the severity of his disease.
When we made the decision to have another baby, we toyed with the idea of me staying home with both kids. There was a part of me, however, that wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. With Jax I was a wreck going back to work. The second time around, I knew that it wouldn’t be so bad. I had wonderful friends at work. I loved my job. I felt like I had a good thing going. Sure I would give up my job for my children; there is no doubt about that. What if I didn’t want to? What if I LIKE working? Is that so bad? Does it make me a horrible mother because I actually enjoy working?
I have stayed home with my kids between jobs, on sick days, holidays, etc. so I know what it is like to be home with them all day. It is exhausting. Some days I wanted to pull my hair out. Staying home with children all day is not a walk in the park. Neither is commuting to work, working long hours, cooking dinner, getting everyone ready for bed, and planning the next day. Most mornings my house is like a Nascar pit crew. I would love to stay in my pj’s and play on the floor with my kids. I would love to not have to devote my weekends running errands I am unable to do during the week. Now both of my children stay at a in-home daycare with 4 other children. They are being watched, loved on, and spoiled there by two family members. I know they are in excellent care.
Working moms have it pretty tough. We have guilt, pressure, and the feeling of having two jobs on our shoulders at all times. Sure we have sick days, but we earn them. We stare at pictures of our children all day long, wondering what they are doing and if they miss us. We race home and squeeze our kids when we finally have them in our arms. We are away from them FOR them.
I am not worried about someone else raising them, or missing out on things. I get to raise them. I get to see all of their firsts. Me working does not mean that I am fore-going being a mother. It means that I am making sacrifices now so that they will have the best possible childhood that they can. If you are a SAHM, high-five because your job is hard. Just remember that working mothers aren’t excited to leave their little ones. They are excited to return to them and to spending every available hour they can together, making those long hours away worth it.