I have a shameful confession to get off my chest that you may want to sit down for. If given the choice, I don’t think I would want to be a stay at home mom. GASP. You horrible woman, how could you not want to spend every waking minute with your child, never missing a single smile or a bowel movement? Don’t get me wrong. If that’s your jam, than more power to you. I bow down, I really do. But for me it’s a really scary thought. When I became a mom, it was the best thing that every happened to me. But it completely turns your world upside down. You give everything to this tiny human and at the same time it can feel like you are losing little parts of yourself. As the matriarch of a household you’re often putting yourself last and taking care of everyone else. While the thought of my son being in daycare for 10 hours a day 5 days a week practically drowns me guilt, I know that it’s good for both of us.
Every person and every mom is different. For me, I need to have one foot in each world. I need to stay grounded to something outside of being a mom and a wife. That balance is what helps me to better mom and wife. It forces me to be hyper present for the mornings/nights and weekends that we’re together. It pushes me to make the most of our time. It’s easier to take a moody toddler or a melt down with a grain of salt when you’re not bitter about having to deal with it alone day in and day out. When he’s super clingy I’m flattered instead of annoyed. And I know he thrives at school. He’s learning and socializing without me having to feel of pressure of getting him to play group or music class or some other organized activity every day. I think it makes me a more relaxed mom too. Because our time is valuable, I find myself more likely to break the rules. It’s ok if he stays up a little later or its ok if we have a spontaneous ice cream outing even though I know I’ll pay for it 10 mins later with an epic sugar rush. I think these special moments are what will stick with him. I don’t think he’ll ever worry about what he missed out on while I was working.
Do I wish I could set my own hours or work half days or maybe have three-day weekends every week? Of course I do! But financially this is the way it has to be. But we’re both doing ok with our current circumstances. I know this because of the smile he gives me when he runs across the room and into my arms. I know it because of the snuggles he gives me before bed. I know it because I can already tell he’s turning out to be a happy, lovable, curious and hysterical human being. And thankfully my pride in that always overcomes whatever irrational guilt I’m feeling.
One of our special 1:1 weekend outings hiking in the metroparks: