As far back as I can remember, I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I had it in my head that that was what I was meant to be. I was born to have babies and stay at home with them. It was in my heart and soul to be at home with my kids.
I just knew I’d be “that” mom; the mom that all the other moms envy because I have time to do all these things with my kids. The mom that arranges playdates, the mom that sets up “school” in the living room to start teaching colors and ABC’s at age zero, the mom that prepares all “clean” food and arranges it to look like animals, the mom that keeps up with all the house work, day after day. I just knew I had it in me to be a SAHM. And I there was no doubt in my mind that’s what I wanted to do.
During my pregnancy, I had many, many conversations with my husband about my hopes and dreams. He was well aware of how I felt but it just wasn’t going to be financially feasible for us. My health insurance alone was worth keeping my job. We hashed it out but never came to an answer of how it would work.
I stayed at home with Kaleb for 12 weeks and it was probably the best 12 weeks of my life. Kaleb was a good baby though. The nights were do-able and he cried very little during the day. We found a schedule pretty quickly after he was born and after I gave up the “dream” of breastfeeding, life was pretty simple with a newborn. I was in love with the life I lived during that 12 weeks and my heart completely broke the first day I left him with the sitter. It was in the top 10 hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
It took a while for me to adjust to the idea of a “working mom”. I went through a depressed stage where I felt like I was just the babysitter on the weekends because I wasn’t as familiar with his schedule anymore. I was missing roughly 9-10 hours of his weekdays, so by the time Saturday rolled around, I felt like I was clueless as to what I should be doing with him. On top of all those emotions, I also got behind with everything. My house was messy, there was no clean laundry and we ate out far more than I care to admit.
For my son’s entire first year, I really struggled. I struggled being away from him. I struggled with knowing I was blessed with a wonderful “easy” and fun baby and I was missing it all. I struggled with knowing everyone else except me was getting to enjoy my baby. It sucked major you-know-what.
It was around the 18 month mark when the reality set in for me. I will never forget this day for as long as I live. My hopes and dreams, or at least what I thought were my hopes and dreams, came crashing down.
I had been home with Kaleb for a couple days because he was sick. It was now the 3rd day home with him and I started to lose my patience. He was following me all over the house. He was trying to stand on top of my feet, and walk everywhere I went. He melted down because I took away the dog food from him. He got into my makeup and crushed multiple eye shadows that I paid way too many monies for. He melted down again about the dog food and then melted down about melting down. It was a typical day in the life with a toddler and it was like a slap in the face when I heard myself whisper,” I’m ready to go back to work.”
I know what some of you may be thinking, “we all lose our cool, we all get annoyed with our kids but tomorrow is a new day.” And that’s all very fine and true, but I know me. I know what I can handle and what I can’t. I chose to be a working mom and here’s why:
· Patience. As I mentioned, patience is an issue for me and just glancing at the SAHM job description, it’s clear to me, that it’s the most important. Now let’s not over react here and assume that I’m completely losing my shit on my kid when he spills his drink, I’m just talking about the day to day stuff that happens every 5 minutes. I fold clothes, he throws them on the floor, I pick up toys, he dumps them all back out, while I’m wiping pee up off the floor, he’s crapping in his pants. I’m just being honest here when I say; I’m not cut out to deal with that day to day.
· I don’t consider myself a great teacher. If my child’s education was left up to me, he’d be so screwed. I can read books and find awesome iPad apps that teach him how to be an engineer at age 3, but don’t ask me to do the actual teaching.
· I’m not a morning person. At all. Like, don’t talk to me until at least 10 a.m. Kids, man kids, they are freakin morning people. They are the happiest at 6a.m. and they want to have had conquered the world before I’ve even thought about putting on real clothes.
· I’m not organized. And that’s a true statement. I lose stuff all the time. My house is never in an orderly fashion unless it was cleaning day. Ask anyone that knows me well, i.e., my mom or BFF and they will tell you, I’m the least organized person they know. I just feel like you have to be organized and 3 steps ahead of your kids when you’re at home with them….and I’m so not.
· I can pay someone to be organized for me. I just mentioned I’m not a good organizer, therefore I’m not a good house cleaner/keeper. It’s not something I’m proud of but it’s not something I’m going to hide. I pay for a cleaning service and I’m thankful I have the means to afford that, otherwise we’d be living in unorganized clutter.
· I don’t play well with others. I feel I’m not as good as others, with playdates. I tend to come off as stand-offish at times, even though I don’t mean to. Sign me up for all the classroom holiday parties though, because I rock the shit out of some Pinterest classroom favors.
· I think the separation from my son is good. This mostly comes since I’ve been a single mom. Kaleb and I are together what seems like all the time. We are each other’s only interaction when we’re at home and he also sleeps with me, so basically we’re all up in each other’s business, all the time. We get annoyed with each other and its okay with me to say that out loud.
· The separation makes the weekends that much sweeter. This is probably my favorite reason. By Friday at 5 p.m., I’m so done with the zoo that many refer to as corporate America. There is absolutely nothing sweeter than picking my baby boy up on a Friday afternoon and knowing we have no responsibilities or “must-do’s” for at least a day or two. After 5 days of both of us being super social and stimulated to our max, we thoroughly enjoy our lazy Saturdays of staying in our p.j.s and doing what we want.
I’m not ashamed or embarrassed that I’m a working mom. I, of course have guilt when I miss something at his school or when I have to work late but I’m not ashamed of it. Kaleb is thriving. He’s learning to be social. He’s learning how to make friends and he’s even learning to not be a picky eater. These are all things he’d be missing if he were at home with me. If staying at home was something I had to do, I’m sure I could make it work, but at this point in my life, I know that by him attending a wonderful daycare, he is gaining more than I could ever give him.
Hats off to you, SAHM’s, you guys are like angels on this earth, I have the upmost respect.