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 -