So we are at the end of the 48 hour experiment known as The Stay At Home Mom Project and truly, I am sad. Really. I was not expecting that at all. A couple of weeks after I went back to work after being on maternity leave for 12 weeks, Chase came down with a cold, so I stayed home with him. He was 15 or 16 weeks old and I nearly died. He was sleeping a lot anyway, so with a cold he was sleeping even more, and I spent the entire morning on the computer working and wondering what on earth I was going to do with him when he woke up. Mere days earlier I had relished in every minute we were together and would check one or two things off of my “To Do” list in an entire day. At 3 I called my mom begging her to come and relieve me. I didn’t expect this, I thought I would be a better SAHM than this was turning out to be.
A couple of weeks ago I had to come home during the day to watch him for a couple of hours because our babysitter had to go to a funeral. Again, a near death experience for me. We “walked” around the house a little bit. We read a couple of books. We played. And it had been 10 minutes. Finally, he took a nap. Rhonda picked him up. I went back to work. The end. I told my boss that she would not have to worry about me ever quitting my job to stay at home because I wasn’t cut out for it.
These two days are the longest time that it has just been the two of us since I went back to work. I found my swagger. Yesterday afternoon we went to the pool with some friends. Then I baked cookies. This morning we brought those cookies to the NICU where Chase spent the first 10 days of his life. I worked out (again!), we played around the house, I made dinner for our family and a friend’s family. We had another playdate with a 2 ½ year old and an 11 month old. And I still had time to play on Facebook. I almost became domestic. But tomorrow, it’s back to reality.
I wonder if I were to not work would I really stick with the expectations I set out for myself. Would I eventually end up in the rut I sometimes find myself in at my job? Would I resent having to sit at home and have the same things happen every day? Or better yet would I resent my husband having somewhere to go everyday while I sat at home with my grouchy/teething/sick/sleep deprived/or even perfect kid? Would I turn into one of those women on Facebook that gripes about their kids all day? Am I a better mom by working? Or have I already turning into one of those nightmare parents that breaks all of the rules on the weekends and expects the babysitter to get their out of control child back into a routine? And then justify it because “that’s what we pay her for”?
When I was still undecided about having children I always fought with the notion of whether or not I would work once/if I had them. I still have that internal debate often. I don’t think that there is a right or a wrong answer. It seems to me that those who work wish they hadn’t and those that don’t wish they had. I read something just recently that (finally) made me feel better about my current situation. This woman said that although it was a big sacrifice for her to work while she had small children, she did it so they could afford the life that she wanted for her family. They were able to go on vacations, she could put healthy food on the table and live in a nice, safe neighborhood. The unfortunate (?) part is that right this second, I can’t afford to not work. Maybe in a couple of years when we have a house in a part of town where we want to live and our car is paid off, then I’ll really consider it.
There is also something to be said about my job. 90% of the time I LOVE it. I love what I do for a living, I love the company that I work for, and I love the people I work with. I love interacting with adults every single day. I love getting “dressed up” for work. I love putting on makeup and having somewhere to go. I enjoy not having to rely on someone else for income. I like having a 401k and contributing to it. I love going on nice vacations. I like spending money at Target on something stupid and not really thinking twice about it. Dare I say, I enjoy working? So given the opportunity, I am still not sure I would take it.
Whatever side I am wavering towards today or tonight or five years from now, tomorrow I will be at the office bright and shiny and regale everyone with my story of once upon a time being a stay at home mom.