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.