When a woman becomes a mother, whether for the first or the fifth time, the decision of whether or not to leave home and baby to go to work is a difficult one. I know, because I’ve been faced with this decision three times, now. Leaving my first two babies to return to work was one of the most heart-wrenching things I think I’ve done. Yes, it is good to rejoin the world of adults and to be productive, and it was essential for my family, financially, at the time. That didn’t make the transition any easier.
New baby, Sophia!
This time around, with the birth of my third child, I’ve decided to stay home. My husband would love for me to bring home a paycheck, but he hasn’t complained (yet). He did, in fact, agree to this arrangement before Sophia was conceived (though he claims he doesn’t recall this conversation). Staying home with baby was my only condition when considering having a third child, and he agreed to my terms. Luckily, he now has a well-paying job and, so far, we have been able to afford this arrangement. I am now a stay-at-home-mom!
Being a full-time mom is not exactly what I imagined it to be. I envisioned an immaculate home, running errands, doing crafts, making nutritious meals for my family, and having plenty of time left over to play with baby. Somehow, however, these things aren’t part of my daily life. I do keep my home pretty clean and orderly, but as I look around, I see much that needs attention. I very rarely run any errands, partially due to the unpredictable nature of Sophie’s naps (I also detest grocery shopping). I do cook, once in a while, but that time of day usually includes a fussy babe who is severely lacking in the nap department; can you say “clingy?” Additionally, my children are notoriously picky-eaters; who wants to slave over a meal that you have to convince everyone to try? I DO play with Sophia, continuously throughout the day, but who has time for crafts?
One of my biggest time-eaters seems to be Sophie’s naps, or lack thereof. Sometimes it feels like I spend half of the day (or more) nursing and rocking and TRYING to get baby to sleep. It’s so frustrating when I KNOW she’s tired, but she won’t stay asleep, after falling asleep, then waking when put in her crib. Nap-strike days are the worst for me. She, funny enough, seems fine these days, and even energetic. . . I’m not sure how. The lack of her naps leaves me exhausted and frustrated.
Time-eater number two: laundry. Between daily diaper washes (which take a couple hours, at best) and regular laundry (every other day, or so), my washer and dryer are working almost constantly – and so am I. With both of these time-eaters working against me, I hardly have time to load, run, and unload the dishwasher, make lunch for Sophia and I, clean the kitchen, sweep, mop, vacuum, and pick the kids up from school (no busing in my small town). How do moms who work full-time get any of these things done, when I can barely keep up??
Playtime with Momma
It is true that being a working mom is tough – I’ve been there, too – but I argue that it can be equally tough (though in different ways) to be a SAHM. The stresses brought on by everyday baby-rearing (like Sophie’s nap issues and sleep-deprivation), combined with the pressure to keep up the home, and the lack of adult interaction really does make being a mom the hardest job you’ll ever love. That being said, I am thrilled to be able to share my days with my little one; they are only this small for a short time, after all. I feel blessed that I get to be with Sophie all day and am witness to every first in her young life. In fact, I just saw her take a couple, wobbly steps, while writing this! I wish all moms could have the opportunity to stay home longer with their babies; I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else!!