Being a mother is much more demanding and rewarding than anyone can really anticipate. And managing home and work at the same time is even more difficult. Plus we want to excel at both. Most of us would love to work part-time. But that’s not possible for all. We have to choose between being a stay at home mom and working full-time mom. Both cases have their own pros and cons. So let’s look at the biggest and I guess the most important decision one has to make as a mom.
SAHM (stay at home mom):
I was a stay at home mom till my daughter turned 3. It was an amazing phase of my life. Watching her grow everyday was miraculous. For every first thing she did, I was a witness. Being at home with her all day, I knew her better than anyone else, and I was around for every milestone of hers, big or small. I had all day on my hands to plan out things at home. Plus I had no deadlines. I could work at my own pace.
My daughter loved having me around all day. She rolled out of bed every morning, knowing that mine would be the first face she would see, knowing that I would always be there. Truly speaking I loved that. I loved being the first on her list. There were no morning hassles, no separation anxieties and no inconsistency in her routine. Not that I was on the floor playing with her all the time. But just being around was very comforting for both of us.
On my husband’s front, he was always relaxed when it came to house decisions. He knew I was always there. Whenever my little one was sick, we never had to take turns to tend to her. He was at ease knowing that I was in charge. He was happy and content that his daughter was in safe and secure hands. And because all the work was already done, we both could spend some quality time together. Plus he got delicious home cooked meals to eat (well he still gets home cooked meals, but now it’s the maid cooking them).
Here I have to confess something. I got bored. I remember when she started her playschool I used to love her not being at home for those 2 hours. I had those 2 hours entirely to myself. I could workout, watch TV, dance, do whatever I wanted. I started catching up with friends then. I really loved it. And then I realized, I was better at being a mom then.
For my daughter, I was the only person she used to see all day. She started clinging to me in the presence of others. She was not socializing at all. She was relying on me alone. She knew she was the centre of my universe, and she liked it that way. Any change in that was not acceptable to her. And that’s how I realized that she needs to be in the company of people other than me. And that’s how playschool and my job happened.
For my relationship, it definitely started taking a toll on it. I was irritable at times for no reason at all. And that ended up in fights. As soon as my husband was back from work, my daughter used to cling to him (as he was not home all day), and I used to not like it. I used to feel jealous that after giving her all my day, she doesn’t need me when her father is there. At the same time I used to wait for him to get back from work so that he could take charge of her for some time and that I could rest or relax.
And so life started becoming a mess. And that’s when I decided that I wanted to work. I wanted to get my house and my kid out of my mind for some time. I realized I needed something else on my mind as well, as just home and kid was becoming monotonous for me. I love my daughter a lot, but that doesn’t make me love my work any less. I started applying for jobs everywhere. I was ready to work even for a couple of hours for minimum salary. I was desperate. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew it would improve things. And finally after a duration of 6 months. I got my first job (I was pregnant while doing my pg, and then I was at home with her for 2 years). Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.
It is satisfying to know that your kid loves you and so does your boss. I cherished my family, but at the same time I was happy that not everything in life revolved around them. I was happy to start my career, to connect to the world, my colleagues and most of all stimulating my brain. This was something I was doing for myself, and it gave me immense satisfaction. Plus it was a part-time job and so I could give enough quality time to my daughter to strengthen our bond. I started staying happy, less irritable and open to any changes. I was happy that I had something else consuming my brain and not just my family. I remember a very close friend mine pointing out to me, that I was much more fun now and was way happier than earlier. Also I started to care about my looks, the way I dressed. I started taking care of myself. And that’s when I realized I needed this.
Initially my daughter didn’t understand the benefits of it. She always made sure to make me feel guilty about leaving her away from me for a few hours of the day. She made sure to make me realize everyday that she didn’t like it and she wanted it to stop. But on the brighter side, she started doing things on her own. She learned new things in school. And most importantly she didn’t need me all the time. Eventually she was happy being in the company of others, especially her school friends and teachers. It was not like she didn’t need me anymore, but it was ok if I was not in the same room or if I was doing my work.
My husband was happy that I had something else to talk about other than the baby and household chores. I was not taken for granted every time and so emotionally it was good for the both of us. We loved to discuss our work day. The spark in my marriage was back that too with very less effort, because this new me resembled the me that he married. Plus you get a lot more respect and importance when you are a working. You have a say in the house and people look up to this superwoman who balances her house and work so well.
First and foremost the guilt. The guilt of leaving your child with someone else, in day care, with a nanny. You start hating the morning routine, when your little one holds on to your leg begging you not to go to work. And hearing the things she did in my absence was bittersweet. But for me I didn’t have to worry much on this front as I had my own mother looking after my daughter. Shuttling between work and home becomes tedious at times. Plus squeezing in quality time with your kid before and after work hours becomes exhausting, especially when they are sick. Sometimes you miss having the whole day to yourself.
I knew my kid missed me. She started complaining of me not being around all the time. But i was happy that she was bonding with others who loved and cared for her, and clinging to me was a lot less than before. Be assured, they understand it later and adapt to it well.
For my husband, he took his own time to adjust to it. He dreaded that I was not available all the time (emotionally even). Because after a long day at work, all I wanted was a cup of coffee and some me time. We couldn’t go out every time he wanted, because sometimes I had my commitments. My unavailability was not something he signed up for so it was not so easy for both of us on that front. But then he understood my point of view and then everything was fine.
So all said and done, both scenarios have their own positives and negatives. It is your decision. And yes you don’t have to feel guilty about anything. You know what’s best for you and your family, and so go ahead and take the call.