I am a working mom. I have never wanted to be a stay at home mom and don’t feel bad for saying so. I have often wondered how stay at home mothers, who worked before, can go down to one income yet have a new mouth to feed (and clothe, change, etc). But that is really none of my business. I’ve always enjoyed working and have had a job since I was 15. I feel fulfilled at my current job and challenged on a regular basis. This is a rare thing, especially for a creative writer. I get to teach writing and speak about grammar with college students while also expanding my skills to include new media, video scripts, speeches for an upper-level administrator, brochures and booklets, and Web work. I actually enjoy going to work each day.
That is not to say I don’t miss my son every.single.day. But I also know he is in good hands. When shopping for daycares we found one that we loved, where several of our friends went and one that was close to our house. It was also at the top in price but you pay for what you get (I believe) with daycares. Because my husband worked 2nd shift for the first 10 months of my son’s life, I often relied on the daycare people to help me. THey would tell me things about his feeding habits, his sleeping, his preferences. Of course I knew a lot of these things as well, but it was nice knowing they paid attention to and kept track of his poopy diapers, bottles and naps.
As he is now in a toddler room, I love seeing the crafts he comes home with, reading about his day on a little worksheet (still recording diapers and naps and meals) and watching him through a window without his knowledge. He is learning valuable social skills that will help him when he goes to school. He is fine if we leave him with a babysitter or even stranger, because he has been without us all day. We can drop him off with minimal fuss because he always knows I’m coming back.
My one friend has told me when he gets older, the daycare will also help with potty training. I am sure this will be a big help as well to have some reinforcements of what is at home. Further, when it was time for him to transition from the infant room to the young toddlers, I was not thrilled. He could not walk or crawl yet but many of the kids were drinking out of sippy cups, sleeping on mats and sitting at table to eat. I thought, “he’ll fall out!” “He won’t lay down and nap!” But guess what, he sat there with his friends, drinking out of the sippy cup, eating at the table. He naps on the mat and sleeps like the rest of the kids. They have them all on a regimented schedule.
There are many days I wish I could stay home and snuggle with my son. But those days are often called Saturday and Sunday. On the weekends, we treasure our time together. we make up for the days during the week that we don’t get and often explore new places, play make believe, run around the yard, read books and spend quality time together. We go to church on Sundays, watch Baby Signing Time and Baby Animals and spend lots and lots of time hugging and kissing. I don’t feel as though I am missing out because my son is always so excited to see me at night and knows nothing else. And at the end of the day, I feel valued at work as well as at home.
I have nothing against stay at home mothers and I think it is a fabulous profession. It is definitely a full-time job and one that I admire. I just don’t think I’m up for it. I don’t think it makes me any less of a mother, I think, in fact it probably makes me a better mother than I would be if I stayed at home all day. BUt i have many friends who choose to stay at home and they are so fulfilled and happy. And that is wonderful. The one parenting thing I’ve learned or adopted is that you have to do what works for you. No two children are alike and no two parents are alike. Even within the same household. But for my family, we will always be working parents (unless the lottery or S’s inventions pay off!) and that’s the best we can be.