First of all, being a mommy is hard work, period. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, both are great and can suck at the same time. I had only a glimpse of the stay at home mom world during my 3-month maternity leave, and not sure if that counts since I was still in postpartum bliss/shock/exhaustion/joy/craziness and playing with half a deck at best.
When I first went back to work, it was blissful. I could pee and eat when I wanted and talk with adults all day long! I again had a title, an office, a schedule and an identity. The first month or so was great and then the true exhaustion set in and the hormones went wild. I know I showed up to work, sent emails, and even completed projects. There is evidence to prove it, but my memory of those first several months back on the job is pretty sparse.
Once I got past the exhaustion and my hormonal fog lifted, I remembered how much I loved working. But I also realized how much of my daughter’s life I was missing out on.
Before having a child I would never have imagined I’d contemplate leaving a job to stay home with my child. But that little person changes your whole perspective the second they are first placed on your chest. While brief, I considered staying home, but quickly realized that it wouldn’t be the best thing for my long term sanity. I also see what happens to woman’s careers when they take time off. Unfortunately for many it is an uphill battle just to get hired, let alone advance.
Now I in no way think stay at home moms made the wrong decision. It’s a hard decision and a difficult job either way. There are great things and challenging things about both. You have to weigh the risks and benefits of both. So what’s so good (and bad) about being a working mommy? Here are my top fives. Please add yours in the comments.
- Using the bathroom when you need to. You don’t have to hold it in while you rock your baby to sleep, complete your nursing session or just plain forget because your more focused on keeping another human alive. You can also respond to nature’s call without interruption, not running out midstream to keep your toddler from scaling the cabinets.
- Eating a whole meal, in one sitting, in more than two minutes. At work I never forget to eat. I have time to eat all my lunch instead of taking one bite every 10 mins and eventually giving up because it’s been out on the counter for two hours, half eaten and just looks plain gross. I can take time to chew my food instead of shoveling it down the hatch in two minutes or less.
- You get to play dress up. Working gives you an excuse to wear all those cute dresses, snappy suits, silk shirts, hip blazers, sweet pump…all the things you can’t wear at home because they’ll be ruined in minutes. Having a reason to dress up, do your hair and makeup everyday boosts your self-esteem.
- Using your words. I mean talking to adults. After staying home with an infant or toddler for any length of time your vocabulary starts disappearing. While they learn new words, you lose them. It’s nice to talk with someone who can talk back, who doesn’t throw food on the floor, or try to stick there hands in their soiled diaper while you’re talking. Gross!
- Making the bacon. It’s nice to get paid in more than wet kisses and hugs. Not knocking them. Nothing is quite as sweet as a hug and kiss from a toddler. But sometimes you just want your good day’s work to be reflected in your bank account.
- Someone else spends the same if not more time with your kid than you do. It’s great to socialize your babe early and not have them dependent on you for everything. But, you miss out on a lot. For instance I wasn’t there for the first time she rolled over, the first time she crawled, the first time she played at the toddler gym, the first time she counted to ten, and so on and so on. Five days a week, I get up and hand her off to the nanny, get home in time to watch her play on the floor while I make dinner, and then put her to bed.
- You’re not the star employee anymore. If before you had a kid, you were the one that always stayed late, joined your boss for happy hour and work dinners, worked the weekends, and never took sick days, well you aren’t now. On the bright side (if you aren’t exhausted, which most of the time you are), you’re probably more efficient when you are working, you just can’t spend as much time doing it. Late meeting….sorry, the nanny leaves at 5pm. Early meeting…sorry, my kid threw up on my suit, twice, and then it took me 20 mins to detach them from my boob. Important meeting…sorry, my kid is sick, gotta go.
- You are in a constant state of multi-tasking and you never feel like you are giving enough. This goes for your kid, your job, your workouts, your partner, your friends, and yourself. You are pulled in so many directions. When you are at work, you’re thinking about your family. When you’re with your kid, you’re thinking about that work deadline. When you’re on a date with your husband, you’re thinking about all the things you need to get done tomorrow.
- You don’t have any downtime. To get it all in, I’m up at 5:30am or earlier to work out before my daughter gets up. Then it’s nurse, change and get ready for work. You come home, make dinner, put the kiddo to bed, do the dishes, finish up any work you didn’t get done in the office and go to bed. You don’t have nap time to clean the house, prep dinner or god forbid…read a book! You don’t even get nap times on the weekends most of the time since your babe will nap well for the nanny or daycare, but not for you.
- You are ALWAYS exhausted. See numbers 1-4.
If any of my stay at home mommy friends want to write a similar post from their perspective, I’d love to host it here. We’re all in this crazy thing called parenting together! #MommiesUnite
This is so well written and fun to read! Thanks. Now let’s see. I agree with all the worst things except #1. I still feel like we get the best of our kids, while sharing with others. I miss my daughter a lot during the day, but get more from the time I do spend with her. 🙂 but reading your #1 makes me think twice because I could see that being the greatest benefit of staying home. (btw.. Totally impressed that you workout and go on dates, not something I’ve been able to fit into my life.) on your best list, #1 and 2 should be true, but instead I’m way too focused on work to remember to pee or eat. And I haven’t hit #3 yet because of pumping and nursing mid day. (Can’t wait to wear dresses again!) I’ve made up for this with fun shoes. Oh, and I’m still dressing when I get to work because of spit, vomit, poop that can occur anytime before daycare drop off. 4&5 work for me! I’d add something about life satisfaction by contributing to society. I have a public service job and I sometimes actually feel like I’m saving the world or at least doing my part toward it. Plus my daughter gets to see her mom in a career that contributes and where hard work pays off. I hope it’s easier for women when she is in the working world. I hope that they study “the maternal wall” in history class and never experience it!! And now I’ve gathered enough energy to go back to to finish up some work post baby bedtime! Thanks for the great read, and thoughtful lists.
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