This seems to be another huge argument in the land of parenthood so let’s hope I don’t offend anyone. –eye roll –
I have been both a working mom and a stay at home mom. They each have their pros and cons, much like everything else in life. It’s not my place, or anyone else’s, to tell you what route you have to take. In my experience being a working mom and a SAHM are both hard. They both require a lot of work and come with a lot of guilt. Some people can’t be a SAHM because of their finances and some people just don’t want to! Both are okay. At the end of the day, kids need happy parents so if staying home is better for you that’s awesome and if going to work is better for you that’s great, too.
I found out I was pregnant with Autumn in March of 2007 and at the time I was a full-time college student and worked part-time at Target. Due to my being extremely sick and weak during my first trimester with her I missed quite a bit of work and quit in April.
It wasn’t until the end of June/beginning of July that I began feeling better and attempted to find a new job. I was showing just enough so that people knew I was pregnant and there was always someone more qualified for the job even though I knew what the issue was. I was about to give up when I saw that Old Navy was hiring and I don’t know why but my gut told me to go for it. I was hired and oddly enough the position they put me in was in charge of the baby department. LOL.
I stayed with Old Navy and LOVED it until I was 28 weeks pregnant and put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. I gave birth at 35 weeks and after my six weeks was up I was ready to go back to work to help my family out. Unfortunately, Old Navy was only able to offer me between 9 and 15 hours a week so her dad and I had decided I would be a SAHM. I stayed home with her until she was 18 months old. During that time I babysat a friend of mines son to make some extra money. When she was 18 months old we put her in an in-home daycare of a family friend. I was all types of emotions rolled into one, as many moms can relate to. Daycare, whether private or not, is scary for both mom and child.
I had begun working at a gas station and although it didn’t pay much my schedule was consistent and so was the money. It was something until I found better. We moved in August of 2011 which put me about 50 miles (one way) away from this job and I hated it. This is also when we moved Autumn to a daycare right up the road from our house. I had to leave before she went to school and I would get home right before bath & bedtime. Not long after I started this job Autumn kept asking me why I worked so much, why I was never home, and why I didn’t love her anymore. This KILLED me.
It wasn’t just the time I was missing with Autumn. It was the complete exhaustion from having to leave so early, work all day, and then come home late at night. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I wasn’t getting enough time with my family. It fucking sucked.
So, again, I started the application process hoping to find something closer. Thankfully I was able to find a job closer and started in the middle of November 2011, right after we got married. We got pregnant with our second child in December of 2013. I worked my whole pregnancy with her, up until the day before I had her. I took my maternity leave and went back. At this point, my brother had been laid off from his job and offered to watch both of the girls while I went to work. Even though they were with family it was still hard. I missed a lot of time with our second baby in those months that I worked. I felt so guilty, I hated my job, and it all took a huge toll on me.
In May of 2015 I turned in my keys and never looked back. I’ve been a SAHM for almost five years now and, if I’m being honest, it’s the best decision I ever made. It is still hard, I still have mom guilt, I’m still exhausted.. But I’m happier. That is what it all boils down to, for me.
Over the last five years I have enjoyed spending time with all of my girls and creating new memories with them. I am able to watch them grow and learn new things. It has been amazing and I hope that our financial situation continues to allow me to stay home with them.
I will never pass judgment on those who choose to work or have to because of their financial situations because as moms we all do what we know is best for our kids and family. Being a mom is hard, no matter what. So leave your judgment elsewhere.