On one hand, I actually enjoyed (well, as much as you really enjoy anyway) my career and took a lot of pride in my teaching. But, on the other hand, I was frequently conflicted with the fact that I only have one chance to be a mom and that I was missing these precious moments and would never be able to go back to them (unlike teaching which I can always return to).
I write this blog for several reasons. One is simply to document my life; I've enjoyed having a record of my thoughts/activities. And another is to share my experiences with others who may be going through the same things. So, here are my thoughts on being a stay-at-home mom, both for myself (who knows how they may change over the years, right?) and for those of you out there who are either currently stay-at-home moms (and want someone to commiserate with) or maybe even those of you facing the same choice I was. Or if none of that applies and you just want to read for fun, well, of course, you're welcome to do that as well!
So, the pros of being a stay-at-home mom:
- I am witness to each and every accomplishment, big or small. When I was working, Colton took his first official steps at the babysitter's house. Obviously, the first steps I saw him take were still exciting, but they weren't his first steps. Now, I see/hear it all...Levi's rolling over, Colton's counting, each giggle, each boo-boo, etc.
- I get to give them the kind of childhood I think they deserve. We go to the park, and the pool, and I try to take them somewhere "special" (zoo, Botanical Gardens, etc) at least once a week. We do crafts (not as frequently as I wish we did), and cook, and have lots of experiences. This was a huge priority to me when I became a stay-at-home mom and is honestly the best part of being at home.
- Not only do I have time to work out, it is a staple of our daily routine. Last year, I felt guilty taking Colton to the gym babysitting room after he had already been at the other babysitter's house for 7+ hours, so I only did it twice a week (at most). I don't necessarily enjoy the gym, but it's one of those necessary evils, and I just feel so much better now that I go every day. (***Luckily, the boys also seem to really enjoy the babysitting room, and have even made some friends in there whose parents also come at our time each day...so win win).
- We have homemade dinners. For some that may not be a "pro," but having homemade dinners is something that is important to me. I didn't want the boys growing up on McDonald's, pizza, etc, and last year when I was working, that ended up being dinner more frequently than I care to admit (well, not McDonald's...I still refused that, but pizza, Chinese...you get the idea).
- I have plenty of time to go to the grocery store, Target, etc (maybe too much time sometimes based on our current year-to-date amount spent at Target). Just getting these weekly tasks accomplished while I was working was a bit frustrating because I didn't want to take away from my already limited time with Colton to get them done, but now we go each Monday...no problems!
- And in the same vein, Josh and I go out on date nights because I don't feel guilty (do we notice a common theme from my working days!?!) leaving the boys for a night to do so...after all, I spend every waking moment with them.
- Nap time...two hours of bliss during which I can get my stuff done, watch some DVR, etc...something I definitely did not have the chance to do when I was working!
And the cons:
- Just like I am here for every accomplishment and positive moment, I am also here for every single diaper change, temper tantrum, etc...me and only me, most of the time. It can be wearing, and frustrating, and seriously exhausting. There have definitely been a few days that Josh has come home and I have literally given up for the night (although luckily there have literally just been a few...most of the days are not nearly that bad!).
- Plus, a toddler and an infant are both pretty needy, which means I'm pretty much always on the go tending to someone, playing with someone, cleaning up something (especially if you throw Chipper's antics in to the mix). I used to think people were exaggerating when they said they barely had time to eat as a mom...now I totally get it! Most days I end up scarfing down some crackers or something on the go.
- I don't get much adult time. True, as a teacher, most of my time was spent with little ones as well, but there was at least lunch and planning and other times that I spent having real adult conversations. Now, my only adult time each day is with the ladies in the babysitting room, or the cashiers, or my phone conversations with my mom (who also is at home and with whom I end up usually speaking to at least twice a day). Teaching was a big social outlet for me...some of my closest friends were my coworkers and several other friendly relationships through my school. I have lost touch with most of the people, which I guess is natural, but still something I miss.
- I don't make any money! Now luckily, Josh's income is enough to support our lifestyle, but without contributions from me, we do have to be more careful about luxury purchases. Things like vacations are definitely on the back burner. And I really hate when we get to a holiday like Father's Day and I'm basically using Josh's money to buy him a gift...that seems a little off, right? (***So, hire me to plan a party...hint hint hint...www.dreambashes.com...hint hint hint***)
- Even though some people totally respect the stay-at-home mom gig, I still find that a lot of people don't! Maybe it's my own paranoia, but I find myself constantly justifying the fact that I'm at home, reminding people that I do have a Master's degree/was a teacher!
Like I said at the beginning, I feel so incredibly lucky that I got to choose this life and as much as it would be nice to make a little more money/get some more adult time/change a couple less poopy diapers, I will forever be grateful for the memories I create daily with my boys. It was an incredibly difficult choice to make, but in the end, I am confident it was the best decision for me and my family...at least for now...and that's what counts, right?