I have been on both sides of the fence in this scenario, with several differences.
- My son was older (5) and in public school.
- My 9-5 was usually a 6-1 as a waitress, and I wasn't usually working a 40 hour week.
When my son was a baby, I was in a pretty unhealthy relationship, and if my memory serves me correct, quite depressed with my life. I didn't work for several reasons, none being that I wanted to be a stay at home mom. After things started turning around, when I got out of the bad relationship, moved on, became healthy and happy again, I found a job, and felt comfortable working because my son was either in school or with a family member.
Things changed when I became pregnant with our daughter 5 years later. At first, I had every intention to return to work a mere 6 weeks (AMERICA, YOU SUCK) post-partum - but as my pregnancy progressed, and I fully embraced this beautiful life growing inside of me, I literally could not imagine leaving her with anyone for even a moment. By the time I delivered, I was almost in tears at the mere thought of returning to a job that I no longer enjoyed as much as I did when I started, and also at the idea of placing my daughter in a daycare or even in the arms of a loving grandmother/noña.
Now, that may sound drastic to you, or perhaps if you're a working mom you are offended that I find anyone but myself caring for my daughter to be sub-par... But, that is not my intention. Everyone is different, and every mother, father, baby, etc react differently to different situations, and sometimes they just have no choice but to adapt. So please, don't be thrown off by my personal sentiment as it only relates to this particular relationship between my daughter and myself.
Back to my point, we took a long hard look at our budget, and honestly things were not looking in our favor for me to stay at home. We put our trust in God's hands and regardless of what the numbers looked like on paper, we were(are) trusting Him to keep us afloat, and 15 months later He has not let us down. We have cut down on quite a few things, and I've been budgeting, couponing, and we have gone mostly paperless (kitchen and nursery, not the bathroom...) and have started making many other common household supplies to save money.
Being a working mom of an older child, before and during my pregnancy, I always sort of envied stay at home moms. I mean, from the outside looking in, I thought the typical stay at home mom spent her days lounging on the couch, eating bonbons, surfing the boob-tube, maybe doing a load of laundry, and usually doing some form of cooking to prepare dinner for a hungry family. (See example below)
But... Things aren't always as they appear. Now I'll be the first to admit, I have my days where I don't feel like superwoman, and don't do much more than ^, but I feel MEGA guilty about them, and usually make up for them the following days with vigorous scrubbing, baking, cooking, sweeping, mopping, washing, creating, shopping, meal-planning, list-making, coupon-clipping, and plenty of Facebook updates/texts to verify that I am in fact, a busy, busy bee.
My original point, which I seem to be beating around the bush on, is that regardless of how hard we work around the house, regardless of how many loads of laundry we do, or how many pots and pans we scrub/detail/buff away every mark, regardless of the extravagant dinner that took 4 hours of slaving over the stove to prepare, and regardless of the fact that we don't get to "clock out" for breaks or at the end of the day, we all share this common, nagging, little voice in the back of our heads saying "IT'S NOT ENOUGH!!!!!!!" I have pep-talked myself until I'm blue in the face, I have marked off many lines on my chore-charts and to do lists, and I have been told by more than one family member that I try to do "too much", but sometimes it just doesn't feel like it's enough darn-it!
Some instances where I feel guilt include early mornings when my husband has to get up and rush off to work at 6AM while I'm lying in bed cuddling our little princess for another 5-6 hours (jealous? she loves sleep just like her momma!), the naps I occasionally (sometimes I lay awake on my phone or laptop) get to take with her during the day, I can stay up late because I don't have to be up at a certain time, I don't have a boss to answer to (I can do what I want when I want - to an extent - obviously), and I'm sure there are tons more that I cannot think of right now.
Stick around because I think I figured out the source of this guilt... Happiness! Yes, happiness. I am truly doing what I love. I know some little girls dream of being lawyers, or doctors, (or princesses, but come on, let's be realistic!) but my biggest dream (besides my other two huge dreams which I will share in later posts ) is to be a stay at home mommy. To be able to raise my own children, watch them grow, homeschool them, & be able to keep my house beautiful and cook gourmet meals/treats often! Now, I give HUGE props to moms that do it all, working all day and coming home to do full time mom duty also, it must be super hard, I can't imagine! But (this is about me!) that's not what we're talking about here... I think that sometimes we (humans/people/persons/earth-dwellers) can feel a sense of guilt for being happy! As ridiculous as that sounds, hear me out!
Haven't you ever won anything (a fish at the fair, a $5 office raffle, free pizza for the week in school, the lottery<- if you answered yes to this one, please contact me via email and let's be best friends OK thanks.) and felt guilty for enjoying it? Perhaps the other contestants were sad and giving you pathetic puppy-dog eyes trying to make you feel bad, or maybe your best friend is sitting across from you watching every delicious bite you take of that heavenly tomatoey, cheesy, garlicky, hunka hunka burnin' pizza while drooling and grumbling in misery? Or maybe everyone is clapping and cheering you on, but you secretly feel bad (even if only for a second) while blowing $3,000 on a coffee grinder just because you can? Well, while these examples are extreme, I hope my point was well received, uh, thank you very much.
So, in closing, I think that we all could learn to appreciate ourselves (and one another) more. Especially for those who haven't had the opportunity to experience both lifestyles. Yes, being a stay at home mom can be hard, and sometimes it might feel like there's no immediate reward, or that nobody notices all the little things we do, but it will pay off. Our children will thank us one day, if not in words - then by actions. Working moms have it even harder in my opinion, doing both jobs with half the time and energy. Moms who work, and go to school? Well, they are superhuman and have hacked time itself to make provisions for theirselves and their families. Just kidding, but seriously I don't know how they do it!!! No matter what our days are filled with, or what we accomplish, loving our children and husbands is the most important job in the world, and you ARE doing a wonderful job! And hey, our husbands truly do have the "tough" job, going out and working hard, sometimes missing out on firsts or sweet moments, so let's not be too hard on them OK ladies? =)