Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Life

I often wonder about my life. I choose to be a work-away from the house mom. Full time. In the immediate short term, sometimes this seems silly. The amount we pay in day-care, cleaning lady fees and for dream dinners (things that make the house run) makes it seem as though we are barely coming out ahead sometimes. Aaron and I never discussed me staying at home, at least not truly seriously. Because, mostly, I can't picture it. When I was home on maternity leave, I was honestly MORE stressed out than I was at work. Performance testing? Statistics? Office politics? This, I can handle. Sure, sometimes it's BS, but I can totally handle it.

Child care? Full time? Totally stresses me out. I know that I would obviously get better at it, not be so worried about 'engaging' them 24X7. I know that many people think that being at home with your kids is what is best for them, but my children are flourishing at their daycare. They have wonderful friends, a great sense of self-confidence, and learn so much there. And the teachers are so loving - it's like they have a second family.

And, let's be honest - I wouldn't flourish as a stay at home mom. That is just not my thing. I don't have the patience, the stamina... did I mention patience? So, while maybe we would save some money in these first few years of their life if I stayed at home, I think that the start in life I'm giving them is pretty awesome. I'm keeping my job of 10+ years and staying current and employable. And happy (most of the time) to be in an industry that I like with good colleagues. Maybe I would feel different if I didn't have such a perfect childcare situation, but seems to me that we are all doing great in the life we have.

But I'll tell you what. This morning the kids and I got up a little earlier, and I was working from home, so was able to devote a good 2 hours to housecleaning and organizing before my work day started. I went into my guest room/craft room to get it ready for my stepmother's visit next weekend, and it's a mess. I needed to organize the kids winter clothes. I needed to iron linen (WTF was I thinking when I bought these?!?!)napkins and place mats from a dinner we had over a month ago. I had craft supplies overflowing the table in there. In those 2 free hours, I got the whole room in tip-top shape (sure, many things were jammed in the closet), laundry done and stuff organized.

I wonder if I was a stay at home mom, if it would be different. If, even though I had the kids with me all of the time (which is where I just don't understand how SAHM's do it! How do you clean with a 2.5 year old 'helping'? How long does a grocery store run take when you have to change diapers twice?) I have this vision that things at home would be more under control. Like I could iron while the kids play. Or pop in laundry and actually fold it and put it away when it finished. Maybe wash the dogs more often than once every 3 months. Or spend a nice leisurely day at the beach. In the few hours the kids ARE with me, it mostly either getting them ready for daycare, or winding down after daycare (which is a tight routine. We play for about 45 minutes, then have dinner, do baths, books and bed). Not much flexibility - which again, I think the children thrive with the routine we have. When I'm working, I don't feel like I have a few minutes to organize something. If I do, the kids are asleep in the room that I need to put things away in. Or Aaron and I are trying to sit down and reconnect after our workdays over dinner and I put things off.

What the heck am I trying to say? Who knows. I guess I'm daydreaming about the ideal. Where I stay at home, keeping a perfect house with perfect kids and no regrets about leaving the workforce.... oh yeah. And money is no object.

Ha. Ha. Ha.


Serenity said...

You're not alone in the wondering. I'd lose my mind being a SAHM sometimes, I think. But for the past three weeks, all I think about on the way to daycare is how much I want my summers with O.

Grass is always greener, but man, it's hard to JUGGLE everything all the time, that's all.


Kahla said...

Sometimes I think I'd love to be a SAHM (would never happen, we could not live on just DH's income) and other times I think I'd go crazy. In a way I guess I get the best of both since I'm a teacher. Teach during the school year (our son goes to my school and our daughter stays with my grandparents) and a SAHM in the summer.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Wait, you wash your dogs?

Not everyone is made to be a stay at home mom. It is very isolating. I love my life the way it is, but I totally see how some people would not be happy.

It Is What It Is said...

I have the extreme luxury of being a stay at home mom with a child who is in school part-time. It gives me time to work-out/run errands/make appointments AND spend a lot of time with my son.

That said, I know I am not cut out to be a SAHM with children in the home full-time. I am just now considering returning to work as our wait for an adoption match drags on.

Having had it both ways (I was also home with my son full time from 0 -15 months), I love being with a newborn/infant full time, but once they are on the move...I'd rather be working :)

BrandiH said...

Your dogs get baths???

I'm one of those that wishes I could be a SAHM, but I think that is mostly because I HATE my job. I do think I would have days where I'd go insane being at home, but I get so jealous of my sitter who has taught my little girl so much! I do agree though that it's like her having a whole other family. She even calls the sitter's parents Mimi and papa like her boys do. And her brother is Uncle. I'm glad she gets the interaction, she's such a socialable little girl!

kate said...

i am a SAHM to 3 kids under 2, & if you stayed home all those wonderful things that you think you'd be able to get done would (almost) never happen. bc the fact is, even if you're home-- you're working. the kids are always there, & there is always something that needs your attention that is not necessarily what you want to be doing. that said i love my job & wouldn't have it any other way. although i DO worry about my employability when i finally go back to work outside the home, & occasionally envy moms who get to interact with other adults (regarding something that doesn't involve diapers or tantrums) on a daily basis. i guess the grass is always greener, right? :)

Sparkle Mommy said...

Don't kid yourself about SAHM life. It's amazing sure and I love sleeping as late as the kids, but it's working 24/7, no vacations, no pay. Also there is often nothing to show for what you've done at the end of the day. Laundry, dishes, potty time, dressing, errands, etc. these are invisible things to most people. The organizing and deep cleaning you mention are things that rarely get done. The payoff comes years later when you hopefully have good kids that like you. You can get that by working full time outside the house also. Doing what you feel is best for your family is the right thing for your family.

Carrie27 said...

I've been in your shoes, and we chose for me to take a step away from working for a couple of years and I'm so grateful for the decision I made. I keep a pretty clean house and tend to be very organized, even with my three under four helping. I fold laundry, put it away and all that while they are up playing.

Is there a way you could work only a couple days at home and not work at the office ever? Then, maybe they could go to their daycare those two days you were at home and then you could be home with them the other?

It's a tough decision to decide to work or to decide to go home and neither are the perfect answer.