I just want to talk about this for a moment. Being a mom is HARD. There are no two ways around it. It is the most guilt-ridden, anxiety-wrenching, fill you with joy till you could burst experience in the world. There is nothing like it, and no way to explain or prepare someone for it. I sat with a friend last night for a long time, talking about exactly that. And it’s something you can never get until you’ve actually been there.
I worked full-time for a long time after becoming a mom. I wanted more than anything, always, to be home with my children. When I envisioned and planned my life, being a working career woman was never in the picture I imagined. I would have a job, yes, (I would be a nurse) but my first job was to be a mom. But life and family and reality arrived, and it was never possible for us. I cried, every so often, about how it was killing me that my children were growing older in front of my eyes and I still wasn’t home with them. That I couldn’t go on the field trip to the Science Museum with my child, because I had to work. Why couldn’t I go to the talent show tryouts? Volunteer at field day? Let him sign up for soccer at 3:45 Mondays? Some of these things I could do, some of the time. But I couldn’t go to every classroom party, to the PTO meetings at 9 am at Starbucks, to each choir performance at the local grocery stores at 11 am. I couldn’t because there is just not enough vacation time in a professional career to do that, all the time.
And I’m good at being a career woman. I love what I do; I have pride in my career. I make a difference in people’s lives, I hope. I like the pride it brings me, and the fact that I’m valued and needed. That I am trusted with serious business decisions and situations. I like being really, insanely busy. But that doesn’t change the fact that if I won the lottery, I would always choose my children first.
When I became pregnant with Little One, I knew it was my last. This was my final chance to be a stay at home mom. And there was just no way that it could happen. Period. To not work would mean that my children would go without. Literally. It wasn’t a matter of “buckling down” or “cutting corners” as various women would tell me in an attempt to be helpful. If I didn’t work, we would have enough money for the mortgage and the car payment and part of the grocery bill. We might have enough for the electricity and water and insurance payments. But we wouldn’t have money for birthday parties, haircuts, back to school clothes… we wouldn’t have the money for tires and brakes or air conditioner repairs. It wouldn’t be worth it to take away all of the fun stuff and some of the necessities, just for me to be home. So we found a compromise… I would stay home part time, which in our case means one day.
So I have Fridays at home with Little One. I cannot begin to express to you how very, very, very much difference ONE DAY makes. I am astounded at how much more I can get done, and I also don’t feel like I am giving away his whole childhood to someone else. I am here, what feels like HALF the time… as opposed to before, which felt like (scratch that, WAS) an hour and 1/2 at night each day. It has truly changed EVERYTHING. I have the very best of both worlds; a career, and a lot of time to be with my darling babies.
I don’t have hours and hours to read stories to him and garden and play outside like I would imagined I would. But I still have a day with my boy, where I can kiss him and cuddle him and take him to the grocery store. We go to garage sales and walk at the park and play in the backyard. This one day I have I treasure beyond belief. And I am SO excited about this summer because I will get to have time with the older two when they are on summer break, which I have not been able to experience yet!
I will still envy the stay at home moms. I will still wish that I had that; nothing will ever change that. But I am ok with what I’m doing now. I truly have the best of both worlds, and for that I am so thankful.