When I was pregnant with my first, I had many people ask me, presumably I think, if I would be staying home to raise my son. I would answer no, and I think for those who chose that path, it was hard to understand. Ever since I was young, I had a very strong drive to be an independent, working woman. Yes, I always wanted a family, a big family in fact, but I had a dual desire to pursue a career. I worked hard to get into college, moved to Atlanta for opportunity, found a great job, went back to school for my MBA and as soon as I graduated, I had my son (like 2 weeks to spare between my graduation date and due date).
When my son was born I took eight weeks off work. I cherished each day, but when it was time to go back, part of me was ready. Yes, it was hard and I cried. I didn’t like the thought of leaving my sweet baby with someone else all day. I felt guilty too. But I was ready for some consistent adult interaction. I had started to go stir-crazy. I realized during that time that while my initial decision to keep working was based on career aspirations, what made it the right decision for my family is that I am a better mother because I work. Having that daily outlet gives me the break I need to recharge – be less stressed, more patient, and better appreciate my time with them. My favorite part of each day, hands down, is when I walk through the door at the babysitter’s and they are smiling ear to ear happy to see me. It melts my heart. No decision comes without its sacrifice, no matter what side you land. Sure, I miss things, I miss them, as Brogan is getting older he tells me he doesn’t want me to go to work. But I know in my heart of hearts that I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mom. Some people are, and they are saints in my opinion! I have the utmost respect for moms who have sacrificed their careers to stay home with their children. When some of my stay-at-home-mom friends ask how I do it, my response is how do you do it? I get a break all day – you don’t!
There are a couple of reasons my decision works – we are blessed to have a caregiver who loves my boys to death and they love her. I have a great job that I enjoy going to each day, that keeps me challenged and rewarded and has been flexible enough to let me leave at 4pm each day. I think it is best for my marriage – I’m afraid I’d have resentment toward my husband if I carried so much of the kid load by myself. Financially, we’d be living a much different lifestyle too. I know what it’s like to be poor and want to make sure we can always provide for our family.
So while it’s not the right call for everyone, being a working mom works for me. It works for my boys and for my husband. It’s not always the easy decision, but for us, it is definitely the right one.