Valentines 2015

Valentines 2015

Monday, January 23, 2012

I don't want to do I?

I'm jumping back into an old debate I have with myself....working outside of the home vs. being a stay at home mom.

I have been asked multiple times recently, now that we are expecting baby #3, if I am planning on staying home to raise our kiddos. My initial response has been "3 children under the age of 2 - ARE YOU NUTS?!". I ususally elaborate a bit and explain that I really don't have the burning desire to stay home with three small children. That I feel like it would be more stressful to me than enjoyable. Plus, we have an awesome nanny who the girls love, and who I think Baby C will love just as much. And I have a good job (for now), which I like, and I feel good about.

But I think maybe I am having a hard time articulating how I really feel...and really, I have to question, do I even have a good basis with which to make this decision?

That, I just don't know.

I will start at the beginning. I thought it would be hard to go back to work after having the girls. And it was. But it wasn't incredibly hard for me. In fact, I enjoyed not being cooped up in the house all day long and being able to be in the presence of other adults with whom I could talk to about things other than poopy diapers, reflux, and how much milk I'd pumped or the girls drank that day. It was refreshing. I felt like I was needed. And not that I didn't feel like I was needed at home, I did! But I felt like I was needed SO much that I was slowly suffocating. Nursing and pumping and burping and changing diapers seemed like a constant activity with absolutely no down time. When I was at home I had to make the concious decision of whether or not I would like to take a 30 minute nap because after being up most of the night both girls happened to fall asleep at the same time, or whether I would like to shower for the first time in several days.

Once I was at work, I had time to eat lunch! To pump! To respond to emails (work of course, but responding to ANY emails at that point was a major success)! To talk to other adults! And I loved it. Thrived on it.

I work 4 - 10 hour days and have every Wednesday off with my girls. I love my Wednesday's off with my girls, but I have to admit, they can be a little chaotic. Most of my time is spent trying to do dishes, throw in a load or fold a load (or 10) of laundry, picking up tupperware off the kitchen floor for the 17th time, making breakfast and lunch, putting toys back into the toy chests, going to the grocery store, reading reading and more reading, pick me up, put me down, vacuum the floors, scrub the toilet...the list goes on and on (as you all can relate to I'm sure =)). I spend a very decent amount of time on Wednesday's managing my girls and a pretty small amount of time enjoying them. By 5 PM I am absolutely exhausted. I can't imagine doing that day in and day out! And then considering the whole thing again while adding in a third child?! Eek! With what time?!

I have spoken with my mom about this several times and she has explained every time that when you are a SAHM that you have all week to get done the things that I am trying to fit into one day. That when you stay home with your kids it isn't stressful every day because you aren't constantly rushing around trying to get things done. Things slow down. You slow down.
One example my mom used was: you don't have to find time to nurse your baby and find time to pump because your baby is there with you. When he is hungry, nurse him. There is no reason for you to pump afterwards. And the girls can be right there with you - building with blocks, reading books, etc. - while you nurse. They won't be alienated during the process.
"When you stay home with your children you will have more of an opportunity to enjoy what you have in front of you."
It sounds lovely, doesn't it?

And I want to believe her, I do.

But I just can't see it. It sounds like a fairy tale land to me. My perspective must be skewed. (Maybe from having twins?) I am a working momma who is always busy and rushes all day to get everything done, and I really can't relate to what it may be like to be a SAHM.

Here's an example of my inability to relate. Feel free to clue me in, because I feel like I am quite clueless...

The girls and I attended a MoM's playgroup last week (during the day) at PE 101. They loved it. I loved it. There were a ton of other MoM's there with their kids, and I am quite sure that every one of them were SAHM's. I decided after our play group that I was going to set up some play groups at PE 101 - one in the evenings so the working mommies and/or daddies could come too, and one in the daytime primarily for the SAHM's. I thought that the SAHM's would probably jump on the opportunity to do both a day time and an evening play group (weeks apart, and at a time when the daddies could come along too)...but generally speaking, they didn't.

I was perplexed.

I didn't understand at all. I have the girls 100% to myself once a week (and of course I'm home on the weekends too), and sure, we will go to playgroups if they fall on the day I am off or if they are somewhere I REALLY want to go, but otherwise, we are all for evening and weekend playgroups where BOTH of us can go. Equal parenting.
Some SAHM's shared that sentiment, but others did not. Nope, several responded they would only do play groups during the day, not in the evenings.

But why? Is that time the SAHM's "time off" (if there was such a thing)? Their "break" from their kids now that daddy is home? A chance to have some time alone? I really have no clue.

From my perspective, I am thinking - shouldn't the daddies get to be involved in the fun stuff too? Shouldn't they get to play and have fun with their kiddos outside the home? Do only the mommas get to do the fun stuff with their kids?

I think perhaps I am a bit niave to how the world works in the life of a SAHM. I mean, I know we all have a different family dynamic, and we all parent differently, because we all do. But are things SO different to a SAHM that I can't even really understand where they are coming from or what their life is like on a day to day basis?

And then one step further...if I can't relate to a SAHM, how can I be sure that I don't want to be one??? Do I want to be one?

So tell me...what is your life like as a SAHM? What is your life like as a working momma? Do you share my sentiments? Or are your thoughts totally different? Can you share them with me? Thanks!!!

Until next time -


  1. You must be my life twin. We're in the process of relocating (AGAIN) and I may have to stop working for a while. I don't think I'll enjoy a being a SAHM partly because the days I'm home all day with the girls, it get overwhelming with the todo list. I hate to contradict your mother, but it sounds to me like you personality type needs that outside stimulation for a happier home life.
    It's strange you're bringing this up because the book that I reviewed on my blog today actually helped me come to terms and make my peace with the fact that being a SAHM is not a path I want to take if given a choice. I'll stop talking now, cuz this is a big topic for me and I could go on and on.

    1. I think you and I are very alike Olusola! You should have gone on and on because I am quite sure I could have related 100%! The todo lists are my biggest vice....I just can't put it down and play with my kiddos instead...I just can't...and I think that makes me a not so good SAHM.
      I also need to pick up a copy of that book!
      BTW - I am totally bummed you are going to be relocating AGAIN! Geez! You can't catch a break!

  2. I love how honest you are!!!
    I really can't relate to a working bear with me as well :)

    For me, my best days at work (before kids) don't come close to the worst days at home with my kids now. Because I just don't want someone else raising my kiddos. I want to be the one disciplining them, putting them down for naps, feeding them, cleaning them, singing to them during the day, talking with them, getting to know them, watching each milestone emerge.

    As far as no playgroups for the evening, for my perspective...when hubby comes home we have dinner and family time and our kids go to bed fairly early. We have enough other obligations in the evenings some weeks and it just to me, would feel like one more night out. We eat dinner, play, bathe...put the kids down and relax together and catch up on our days. I know I wouldn't go to an evening playgroup. NOW...a Mom's night out?! Sure!! :)

    I just posted about what my day is like on my blog...did you see it?
    I also have a schedule for the week and on it, is what my "focus" is that day. I don't do laundry and clean the floors and kitchen and bedrooms's all spread out. I do laundry twice a week. I focus on one to two rooms a week.
    I spend a ton of time on the floor with my kids and schedule several playdates with other SAHM's during the weeks so I can get my "adult conversation" in and my kids can have fun too!

    For me, it's always been a desire to be home with my kids...this is all I ever wanted. I never have looked back at the working outside the home world.
    My sweetie makes sure I get out with my friends, we make sure and do date nights together and we have a good balance.

    NOW...that's not to say days aren't rough. Today was a rough day. Jack emptied everything from every known toy bin all over the house, was rough with the twins who are teething....there was lots of timeouts and tears and I was pooped. It was a bad day. But I still feel like if I wasn't learn them and grow them...we'd both be missing something. I want to teach Jack all I can while I can...and not have someone else do it.

    That is my two cents (or like 85 cents haha)

    That said...everyone is wired differently. And that's OKAY!! :)

    1. My daughter is 2.5 months (so we haven't really reached any of the fun stages yet), and I have no trouble admitting that I'm really looking forward to going back to work when she's 3 months. We'll have about two-three weeks where I'm working from home and also taking her out to the office with me (I'm an academic, and my officemate is away for a few months, so this isn't a problem), and then she starts day care, and I'm looking forward to that even more. I don't have the patience to handle well the tedium that is interacting with an infant day in and day out without a break, and so I think it's a real plus that she'll be able to go some place where there are people who do have that patience. Being away from her will make me all that more happier to spend time with her.

      Maybe I'll change my mind when she's older, but right now, I really don't think that being a SAHM for too much longer is on the cards!

    2. Krystle - I LOVE your 85 cents worth! And I did read through your day on your sounds A LOT like ours! We are a pretty scheduled household. And I do spend several hours on the floor with my girls on Wednesday's when I am home, I am just running like crazy while they are finishing up their breakfast or napping trying to do laundry and dishes and clean and such, and THAT is what wears me out! Things may be stressful at the office some days, but I'm not physically exhuasted when I get home from work like I am on the days I am home with the girls. Maybe that's it...maybe the girls only stimulate me physically and not mentally, and I need that mental stimulation to be fully happy/content? Hmmm...
      Thanks so much for sharing about yourself, your day, and your perspective!!!
      Sara - I was totally in the same boat! I went back to work at 10 weeks, and I only really looked back once, I think when the girls were maybe 9 months old and realized that I was leaving them to go somewhere else. They didn't want me to go, and that was hard. That probably went on for a month? But they got past that, and now it isn't all too hard anymore. Now they stand at the door for several minutes and wave at me when I leave=).
      My mom stayed home with my brothers and I, and my husbands mom stayed home with him and his siblings, so I kind of figured that I would be wired to want to stay home too. I was sad when I figured out that that wasn't really me. I really enjoy my girls in the evenings and on the weekends when I am home with them though, so I really think this is likely the best path for me as well. Enjoy going back to work!!!

  3. I don't think either option is a fairly tale, and both are hard. As women, we don't have easy choices to make, we feel guilty about what we choose and we are hardest on ourselves. I think the most important thing is making the choice that works for you and your family.

    Being home is certainly not easy. The days are looooong, especially during the winter. I try to keep busy and like PP said, it's good to spread things out over the course of the week and to schedule fun activities for the kids. I feel like it is a luxury to be able to be home while they are still so young.

    Nighttime playmates wouldn't work for us because my girls go to bed around 6:30pm and by that time, I'm happy to put them to sleep and to finally unwind, relax and catch up with my hubby.

    1. You are SO right Samantha! I feel very guilty that I don't want to stay home with my kiddos. I feel like I should want that! But we have an AWESOME nanny, we really do, and she works very very well for us (and the girls LOVE her!!). It's still hard to accept though...I feel like I don't want to be around my I am choosing not to raise them on my own...and I don't like that. Sigh.
      It's good to know that you don't feel that staying at home is "easy" either. Not that I in any way think that it is - in fact - I find working to be much easier! I really have a lot of respect for you SAHM's! I really really do!
      I am sensing a theme with the early bedtimes with SAHM's...our girls don't go down until about 8:30 at night! Is that strange??? Should our girls be going down earlier??? They normally get up around 7:30 in the mornings, and that has always seemed okay to me...but then there are several of you lovely commenters who put your kiddos down between 6-7 PM! Should I be doing that too?!

  4. Hmm... you didn't *say* to write a novel but I'm going to go ahead-

    Being a stay-at-home mom isn't for everyone! I kind of agree with- Olusola- your personality doesn't sound like it would necessarily be a good fit. That being said, being a SAHM doesn't mean you have to stay at home all the time! It is hard to get out with several little ones but it can be done. My SAHM mom philosophy goes along with that old poem about how cobwebs and dust bunnies will still be there when your babies are grown up. The focus around here is healthy happy children and a house that is livable. I try to pick a room every day and clean that one room. But you know, that's a GOAL. It doesn't always get done. My dishes aren't always washed, my clothes aren't always folded but my children are happy and growing and thriving.

    I have to say- I laughed when you said that evening is a SAHM's "time off." You are a mother! You know you don't get time off! Not even for good behavior! Evening is- getting dinner on the table, getting babies in the bath, putting on pajamas, reading books, going night-night, family time, time for Daddy to hear about our day etc. And since my husband is in the Army, there are a LOT of nights where he isn't home until after bedtime or that we have Army-related commitments outside of the home. So we woudldn't be going out to any nighttime playgroups either. Because between dinner, baths and bedtime, there's not much time left.

    Can I make a suggestion though? No matter what you decide- please get yourself a cleaning service! You work so hard, I think if you had a cleaning lady, you could enjoy more of your days off. Just think, no scrubbing toilets! If I worked, I would totally have a cleaning lady!

    1. Stephanie - thanks for your input!!
      I didn't mean that the evenings were LITERAL time off by any means! Of course I know that being a mommy is a 24/7 job with NO downtime, I just think in my mind if I were home with the girls all day long that when daddy got home, well, he can tend to them for a little while while I have 30 minutes of "me" time! But that's just me, and that could be part of the fairy tale world that I just don't get - lol!
      And a cleaning service would be AWESOME! The only problem I see with that is I am the type of person who totally would go through and "clean" the house first, before the cleaning lady came! So I don't know how helpful that would actually be! LOL! But a great suggestion!

    2. I knew you didn't! I was just teasing you girl! You need to read an article called "Don't Carpe Diem" by Glennon Melton (its the first thing that comes up when you google it). Its about how we all think that motherhood should be nothing but shining moments but really, motherhood is drudgery interspersed with shining moments.

      I don't care what you choose- but I want you to find some joy in your journey! It almost seems like you can't enjoy being at home but you feel guilty for being at work. Its too bad that staying home versus working has to be such a big Decision. It would be nice if you could just try it out for awhile and see what sticks. Or can you negotiate some kind of third option? Would it be possible to work 2.5 days a week and be home the rest of the time? And if that didn't work out maybe you could go back to full time? I don't know how flexible your job is.

  5. My condensed response: :-)

    My life as a SAHM is not how you described. Its much different and much better. I love it.

    I think the first 3 months are in the trenches hard and boring and awful. For me, anyway it was. Then the next 3 got better. Then the next 3 were great! Then the next 3 were awesome! Etc. Etc.

    I've had to make decisions about things during the day. Like I can either get on all fours and play with my son as he destroys my house or I can fold laundry. Or clean a gross toilet. My hubby for awhile would have liked to have come home to a spotless and tidy home. But now he comes home and wife and son are equally happy and happy to see him so I think he is feeling better about that. HE does more laundry now. HE cleans the kitchen now. I still have to do the darn toilets. Bleh.

    Its not black and white. There's tons of gray. Do you need to do. Try things out. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing is permanent. If you became a SAHM you might find you love it - (not at first when this guy is so little, though!). But you know - give it a half a year or something. Or a year. You might find your miserable and then that's no good either. OR you may work for a year, and stay at home with baby boy hollibaugh is closer to a year. There's lots of options! You'll find the one that works for you.

    1. You have very valid points. The first three months with a newborn is pretty awful! The more they grow, the more they become human and the more fun they are! I definitely prefer my girlies now to 3 months old...although man do I miss those snuggles!
      I think another thing is the expectation I would have for myself...if I stay home, I need to make sure everything is done...dishes, laundry, cleaning...but really, just because I am home doesn't mean I have piles of time to do these things. Changing perspective changes everything!

  6. These are MY thoughts, not calling down judgment on others :)

    First, being a SAHM is the best, hardest, most frustrating and rewarding thing I have ever done (including earning my MDiv and working live theatre).

    Second, I have a schedule for cleaning my house. I do laundry M/W/F and spread the rest of the cleaning out Monday through Friday. But I have the option of not doing something because my son wants to read with me. I don't have to get it done today, because I will be home tomorrow, too. Once in a while it is still overwhelming, but most days not so much.

    Third, we don't really do afternoon/evening anything, except go to my parents' house. Afternoons are for naps, and then it's the "daddy is home, dinner, bath, bed, get ready for tomorrow & wash the dishes" rush (and the kid goes to bed between 8 & 9). Plus, I want to spend time with my husband; I love and adore him! I don't even want moms nights out!! We do try to get out a few mornings each week, but I find behavior and attitude better when we are not so busy.

    I love what Krystle had to say. And for me, I will never look back and regret staying home and experiencing my son's very life, but I would look back and regret having missed it because I was choosing not t be there.

    Give it a shot if you can...NOT during maternity leave :). And don't use Wednesays as your day does not compare to five! Either way....i think you are a good mom and your love for your kiddos is evident!!

    I have found that a lot (not all, but a lot) of families with a SAHM revert to pretty typical gender roles. Equal parenting? Sure, but because I spend 8 hours more each day with our son, I do know him and his needs better than my husband. So I do find it more of a 60/40 split than a 50/50. And that takes adjustment, both practically and mentally and emotionally :)

    1. Thanks for your post Rachel! I think you have a great point - trying out the SAHM thing NOT during maternity leave may definitely change my perspective! And I figured that being a SAHM was all of those things - awesome, difficult, frustrating, and rewarding! I am so glad you have stayed home with your little man. I can tell that you love it regardless of how frustrating of a day you may have had. I see your love and your joy. It's beautiful!

  7. As a new mother of 3 kids 3 years and younger you couldn't pay me to stay home with all of them. Like others have said it is probably a personality thing. My 2 older kids still go to daycare while I'm on maternity leave and I can't wait to go back to work. I don't think that makes me a bad mom. I love my girls with all my heart but I also know that I'm a better person by going to work and they are better by going to school. I get the adult interaction that I need and they get the structure that they need. I think you have the perfect set up by being able to work from home 1 day a week. It allows you to get an extra day with the girls (and soon to be little guy). If you end up doing it I will give you major credit. There is no way I could do it and you have 2 little girls that are the same age. I am lucky to have a 3 year old that I can go tell to play and she understands. My 1 year old is far from that. Whatever you decide just make sure that it makes you happy...that's all that matters :)

    1. THANK YOU!!! I thought I was nuts for thinking that! But it's true! I just don't have that desire I guess...instead of being excited by the prospect of staying home with all three of the kids, I am terrified! So glad to hear from you and know that I am definitely not alone.
      And wonderful point - I will make sure that whatever I choose makes me happy - that IS all that matters isn't it? A happy momma = a happy household! =). Thanks for commenting!

  8. Wow...I could have written this post.. and I think about this all the time.. if you've read my blogs about this..I have similar struggles.. but you know; I'm not really sure I'm the SAHM type..I guess I'm stereotyping 'types'...I mean what does that mean exactly?? I'm not even sure.. I do know that my kids get much more from daycare than they would from me. I mean when I'm home I clean and write and we watch tv and cuddle and we sometimes go to the park or the store.. but at Daycare they do crafts every day, go outside everyday, play games, sing songs... I suppose I could do all of this stuff, but I don't think I would.. and I'm not sure what that says about me. But like you, I do long to spend more quality time with my kids... and sometimes when I'm home with them or we all take a holiday I love it.. but sometimes.. after a weekend..I'm ready to tear my hair out! Anyways.. I'm not being much help..I get that.. just sharing.. :)

    1. Thanks for your comment Heather! It is nice to hear that I'm not alone in my struggle with this! I think my girls at this point are getting more from their nanny then they are from me. They play, read, sing songs, do crafts - just like your daycare! And while I could do that, and I can't say with 100% certainty that I wouldn't, I think it's unlikely. I can't block out the laundry and the dishes and the 15 other things that need to be done too, and rationalize playing or reading. I mean, I DO play with my kiddos A LOT, I do! But then during any "downtime" there isn't really downtime, and that isn't my idea of a good time either! And I really think I need the adult interaction of work....
      Anyhow, I'm rambling...thanks for your input and your post!!!

  9. I tell you...I toy with the idea of staying at home (just to mess with my husband, really), but...

    I couldn't do it. Maybe "couldn't" is too strong. I would prefer not to. Ideally, I would love to be able to work part-time and stay home part-time.

    Unfortunately, my current job doesn't really lend itself to that set-up :-/


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!