Going back to work after having a baby can be a tough decision for some women to make. I know that after four months at home on maternity leave with my son, I was ready to go back. I craved getting out of the house ( and since he was born in the winter, there wasn’t much of that on leave), and honestly I felt human again. I had a reason to get ready in the morning, and working for an income was the whole reason I had thousands upon thousands of dollars in student loans to still pay back.
But as the days went on, and I got back into my work routine, it got harder and harder leaving my son in the mornings. I would drop him off around 5:45am to whatever family member was watching him that day, and hold back the tears. It didn’t help that I was newly pregnant with our daughter, and my hormones were everywhere. I didn’t get to pick him up until around 4:30/ 5:00 each day, which was just in time for dinner, bath and then 7:00 bed time. I had missed every day things, like getting him on a routine, taking him outside for fresh air, as well as the first time he rolled over on his own.
Fast forward to early November. I was super pregnant and was admitted to the hospital so they could stop preterm labor. I went on short term disability after that for 6 weeks until our daughter was born at the end of December.
During those 6 weeks I felt as if I connected so much with my son. I was on modified bed rest, but was still able to sit with him, and sing along to The Wiggles songs as he sat on my lap. I also got to play with him which was something I rarely got to do. He went with me almost everywhere, and we really bonded. I was so grateful for those 6 weeks, since I knew my time would have to be shared pretty soon once his baby sister made her appearance.
I spent the next few months trying to get used to having two babies, 356 days apart. The end of my maternity leave was creeping up on me, and we were going to have to start making some tough decisions.
I looked into the cost of local daycares, and honestly, most of my check after taxes and health insurance were taken out would mostly go to daycare and gas. That was the huge factor in my decision to stay home. I didn’t want to work only to pay someone to watch my kids. I was also scared to put our son in daycare because he chokes on food really easily, and I worried about him taking food from other kids slyly that was too big, or too hard for him. He has taken steak right off of my plate without me knowing and I have had to remove it from his mouth before he choked on it. If I turned around for one second and he did that, I couldn’t imagine how easy it’d be for him to steal a kids hotdog when the daycare worker isn’t paying attention since he wouldn’t be getting one on one attention.
I also felt like I didn’t want to miss out on any more of his life, or any of his sisters life. I was lucky enough to be home on leave when he took his first steps, or started army crawling. I couldn’t imagine possibly missing that with his sister.
So when the time came to make the decision, I decided to stay home with them. I felt guilty, and sad because I really did love my job, and the company I worked for. But I felt like I was making the right choice.
I love staying home with them, and love watching them grow. I love being the one to teach them, and to be there for Jack to come running to when he gets a boo boo.
Sure, I do get bored sometimes. The weather still isn’t too great out, and there are days when I am cooped up in the house and hear crying non stop. It has also still been hard to get anything done because they are on opposite schedules most of the time, and I don’t like leaving them alone in the same room together. I am looking forward to when I can leave the room without having to put my son in a playpen and I can go fold laundry.
But right now I am enjoying the chaos. I am enjoying rocking my baby girl to sleep when she is crabby from being up all day. I enjoy the near heart attacks when my son realizes he can climb up onto a new piece of furniture and starts a balancing act, and usually falls down.
I want to be the one there to raise them. Not my family, and definitely not a stranger. I had a friend tell me when I was debating my decision ” I have never heard anyone say they wish they wouldn’t have stayed home to spend more time with their kids”, and I completely agree. Being a SAHM has been the best decision for me, as well as my babies.
Last week I was second guessing my decision to stay home, but then it was validated a couple of hours later when I had to give my son the toddler Heimlich to dislodge a piece of ravioli that he was silently choking on.
Sure, times can be tough. There are days where I want to pull my hair out. There are nights where I lay in bed awake worried about bills because our income has been cut by 40%, plus we have another mouth to feed. But then I remind myself that we will figure out those other things. The time I get to spend with my kids to help them learn and grow is worth it to me and when they look back on their childhood they will have a lot of great memories with their mom!
Working moms and stay home moms alike- parenting is hard and we all do what we feel is best for our family. Mom-ing isn’t easy!