Again, in keeping with the Mother’s Day Week theme, here is another message I received after publishing this blog post:
I love the thoughts you shared about being a stay at home mom. It’s scary how much I can relate to you! I have mom friends on both sides…some have dreamed of being a stay at home mom and others work full time & seem to manage it effortlessly. When I was younger I NEVER, ever, ever thought that being a mom would be my career. I studied hard to be an architect, and thought I’d get married & have kids at some point. But I never thought AT ALL about how a career outside the home would balance with being a wife & mom. How could the logistics of this never have crossed my mind???
Right now, I am deciding whether to go back to work part-time or leave for a longer period of time. I thought I would be ready to work now that my baby is 8 months old and we are living near family. But this is still not easy for me at all!
I like accomplishments and good performance reviews and being able to see what I checked off my list at the end of the day. That rarely happens with my mommy life. But I don’t think my heart is ready to have a job outside the home yet. Many days are not a picnic and at times I feel like I am losing brain cells at a rapid rate, but I think I would miss out on too many important little things with my boys. It’s encouraging to know that other moms struggle with these same things.
And, my response:
These are such great thoughts! You’re so right…no one ever warned us at Logan High School that everything we were working toward would become VERY complicated once we started procreating! I guess they assumed we would find out the hard way.
I just recently read the book “The Life Ready Woman” and it really clarified some things for me. Through answering a lot of the study questions, I was able to really reflect on my goals and come up with a plan that neither sacrificed my dreams nor my role as a mother. Maybe it will help you as you make this decision.
I would say that if your heart isn’t ready to leave home to work yet, then don’t! A lot of women would LOVE to stay home if they had the opportunity, and I try to remember them when I’m feeling discontent at home. I OFTEN REMIND MYSELF… I CAN ALWAYS GO BACK TO WORK. I CAN NEVER GET BACK THIS NEXT DECADE WITH MY SMALL CHILDREN.
It’s not an easy decision to make at all, and unfortunately I don’t have the right answer for you. However, maybe the following questions will help you as you make a decision that’s right for your family.
1. Does your family need you to work to meet financial needs? If so, is it possible to scale back your spending in some areas? This may not be possible, but in some cases, there are things we’re spending on that aren’t necessary.
2. Does your family need your income? If not, then what needs are you hoping to meet by going back to work? Mental stimulation? Accomplishment? Social interaction? Is it possible to meet those needs in another way other than going to work full time?
3. If you go back to work, what other problems would that create? Are those worth it?
4. If you stay at home, what problems might arise that you’re dreading? Is it worth it?
Ultimately, staying at home for me was all about not running away from my problems. I knew that the grass LOOKED greener on the other side, but had also been sent reports from the “green side” to know it wasn’t true. Life is hard no matter what. I decided to embrace the situation, find ways to cope with it (can you say, “gym membership”??), learn from the difficulties, and cultivate contentment with my situation. I have also been able to be there for my kids, share a lot of memories, shape how they think and act, and take lots of pictures. In the end, my only regret is my attitude when the going got tough.