Stay at Home vs. Work Work Work

Being a working mom just coming back from maternity leave, I recently discussed the benefits of being a stay at home mom vs a working mom with my husband.  I realize that as moms, we are all built differently and have many different skills, and I truly believe that some women are more cut out for being ‘stay at home’ vs others (i.e. the patient ones 🙂 ) but I think there are merits to both situations.

Being a stay at home mom, you get to spend a ton of quality hands on time with your children, you get to be the main person instilling values and giving discipline.  However, stay at home parenting is hard work… it’s a non-stop day, and I speak from my maternity leave experience.  When I wasn’t feeding the baby or pumping, I was cooking or cleaning, running errands, playing with my toddler and getting things done.  I had to make a conscious effort to do things for both of my kids – get quality time in each day doing things they enjoyed… for Brooks, it was just cuddling on my chest, for Landon, it was playing outside, or chasing him around the house.  Then when I would get Landon down for his nap, there were always things to be done… starting the prepwork for dinner, getting bills paid and thank you notes written.  So much to be done and by the end of the day you are exhausted. 

When I am a working parent, I love that I get to have mature adult conversation, that I don’t have to deal with the all day “no’s” that have been coming from my childs mouth, but that I get a break from it to get my work done.  However, I also feel guilty that someone else is spending the majority of the day with my children, teaching them new things and taking them on fun outdoor adventures.  They get to experience the little things that happen daily that put a smile on my face – the new word learned or the silly face he made.  When I’m behind the desk, I’m missing out on so many of the things that happen in my children’s lives and the days just fly by.  But I also have much more patience and love when I’ve been working and have time away from my kids… it’s true – absence makes the heart grow fonder – and I appreciate my time with them more when I don’t feel that every waking minute I am suffocated with the cries of “mommy do this”  “mommy I need that”.

Doing this the second time around, I am realizing how quickly they grow and change.  The first time through, I was just trying to figure it out, to survive.  This time, I see how Brooks is changing almost daily – how his clothes are getting snug and how his eyes stay focused on me. 

If I could honestly have the best of both worlds, I would only work 3-4 days a week so I could spend the extra time at home with my boys.  It would be a little treat – knowing the rest of the world was at work, but I was getting QT with my little men – painting, coloring, exploring, cuddling and sliding.  However, I would still get the respite and joy that work provides me… the independent work, the adult conversation and thinking, the feeling of success when I get something accomplished!

These years fly by so quickly and I need to take advantage of my boy time while I can!

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