growing up, i had a stay at home mom who did lots for us kiddos- drove us to school daily, made all of our meals, did our laundry (till high school –i think), and kept us living in a very clean house. she really set some high standards though, my mom, and still does. my sister and sister-in-law both became stay at home moms. of my girlfriends with children, only one worked full time. i really just thought i would do the same since that was what i saw all around me.
when the time came for me to have sweet cheeks, i really wasn’t interested in going back to work. however, our finances had another idea. the first year, i will not lie, absolutely sucked. i really hated leaving sweet cheeks in someone else’s care. whether they did a good job or not (which they did) had no bearing, it was just the simple fact that it was not me. i wanted to be with my baby every second of every day. i wanted to see everything new and old that she did. i cried when she would come home with any sort of booboo knowing it wasn’t me there kissing that booboo to make it better, knowing any paid worker would not give her the immediate love and affection that only her mother could give. the hardest days to leave sweet cheeks in daycare were the ones when i knew she didn’t feel all that great, but as a working mom you really have to choose those sick days carefully, as crappy as that sounds. it was hard because in her first two years of life, i didn’t take any sick days for myself and took what felt like 4 months total for sweet cheeks in that time because she was sick A LOT. she got everything imaginable and i just couldn’t stay home with her on the days that she was just ‘off.’
since then, thankfully, her immune system rocks! i don’t want to jinx her as she still occasionally gets sick (like strep on our key west vacation!), but nothing compared to what it was before.
anyway, it was super hard that first year being away from my child but that is part of parenting, doing what you have to do to provide for them (including those health benefits which we used weekly!). when sweet cheeks turned one, had i not have worked, i definitely would have gotten her involved in some sort of mother’s day out program or school. not necessarily because i would have enjoyed the free time (which i would have) but because i honestly think she would have bored of me quickly at home. she really enjoyed, and still enjoys, interacting with other children, one thing being an only child doesn’t provide much of. sweet cheeks flourishes at school and i am now so glad she goes.
but this brings me back to the question, would i stay home now if i could? i can easily answer no, at this point in sweet cheek’s life, but it would have been yes for the first year of her amazing life. life had other plans for us as parents, but you work with what you got. it wasn’t worth it to live so frugally, paycheck to paycheck, without any fun extras in order to stay home. i wanted more for sweet cheeks. the husband and i did not want that kind of life for our family.
now do i think being a stay at home mom is easy? absolutely not. i am sure it takes a great toll on every mother mentally and physically. do i think being a full time working mother is easy either? definitely not. it is very difficult. it is difficult being away from my child all day long, not knowing every piece of her day. plus, i do not get that extra time during the day for housework. i have to squeeze it all in at night and on my weekends. who wants to clean on the weekends? not fun. so i will never know though which is easier but can only speak on my experiences. where we are now though, it works for us. that is what matters.