When my husband and I decided to have children, we never thought about how we would manage our home life with two jobs. We never decided whether I should stay home after my maternity leave, or how working may affect our children. I’m sure if I had told my husband that I wanted to stay home, he would have supported my decision in a heart beat, but I never could bring myself to make that decision. I had gone to University for four long years, and the thought of giving up my nursing career, even momentarily, was heart breaking. I felt like I had no other option than to become a working mom.
I completely avoided the decision, right up until my maternity leave was over. It wasn’t long until the reality of becoming a shift-working mom came to slap me on my colourless, sleep-deprived face.
The constant juggling.
The lack of time.
And I found myself wondering to myself, “maybe I should become a stay-at-home mom for a few years?”
My kids are still young, but I already know that I will miss out on major life events because of work.
I won’t be there for their extracurricular activities.
I will miss Christmas mornings and my husband will have to corral the kids at family events alone.
I worked on my son’s first birthday and it saddens me to know that I will miss many, many more.
I will never be that mom who chauffeurs all the kids to soccer practice, attends school field trips, makes cookies for the bake sale, or hand-makes Halloween costumes. Maybe I will try to doing all of these things, but invariably I will become overwhelmed and give up. Instead, as a working mom my kids will be lucky to be bathed semi-regularly and to have help with their homework on the way to the bus-stop.
There will be no gluten-free, GMO free, organic vegan muffins baked in this household.
But my children will be loved.
There are a lot of things I don’t love about being a working mom, but there is one BIG positive, that makes it all worthwhile:
Going to work, makes me appreciate my family life more.
I worry less and laugh more. We do more crafts, we go on walks, we have tickle fights on the floor and we eat Easter candy for breakfast. When I am at work, my husband or our parents watch the kids, and they are all better for it. I don’t need to take all the credit for raising our well-mannered, smart and adorable children.
My life is full and I feel blessed.
I love my kids, but parenting isn’t easy. It quite literally is the hardest thing that I have ever done. The very thought of becoming a stay-at-home mom makes my palms start sweating and my left eye start twitching. I would probably have a mental break down or start crocheting if I didn’t go back to work.
The fact that I look forward to standing on my feet for 12 hours, using every brain cell that I have available, helping others while they are in their most fragile, incapacitated state, all the while knowing that it’s a toss up whether or not I will get a break, really attests to how difficult parenting is.
Call me crazy, but I crave the occasional uninterrupted bathroom break.
It hurts my brain to play with dinosaurs and Barbies all day.
I don’t want to have a child’s body wedged directly against mine for every minute on the hour.
I need to listen to that new Justin Bieber song full-blast in my car once in awhile without having a preschooler, with hands to ears, shout at me to turn it down because it’s not country music.
I’m sure that many of you will think that I am wishing it all way, or that I am being selfish or irrational or not trying hard enough to do it all. Maybe I am supposed to want to be at home with my kids all day. But do I think I will be a better mom for it?
Hell no. I’m just not wired that way. I need space. I need stimulation. I need to make a difference in the adult world or else I will become stifled and irritated and enraged.
I will never accept a mom of the year award. I probably won’t be invited to mom groups and will barely have time to look after my family let alone have a life.
But do you know what I will have?
And that, my friends, is the best gift that I could ever give my children and husband.
No matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, working mom, work-from-home mom, or whatever-else mom, we just need you to be OK.
Do what’s right for you. Do it with pride.
That is how you will know that you are doing it right.
xo, The Mama Nurse