Once upon a time, when I was at another job and and the husband and I were TTC, we flirted with the idea of me being a stay-at-home mom for the first year. We thought the baby would need the year to be close to one of us and it would naturally be me. We thought I’d be breastfeeding, we thought I’d still be in that same job, we thought it’d be best for the baby, we thought my husband would need to stay in his job in order to keep us secure in health insurance.
Well, one thing turned out to be true in that sentence littered with “we thought.”
Whatever the case, I was in a new job when I conceived, one that I wanted to do well in–though it made me feel guilty, I didn’t want to lose a year of work. Whatever the case, I was unable to breastfeed, and establishing our bonds with Dubya wasn’t an issue (oh my goodness, even though she’s a toddler now and will drink her milk on her own, I sometimes will cradle her for a feed because she’s just so.darn.cute). Whatever the case, going to daycare has turned out to be the best for our baby–our extroverted, high-energy, dynamic little girl who will bring me her coat, shoes, and point emphatically to the front door, saying, “Shuz. Doh!” (Shoes. Door.) We will then go outside and she was scream at people to notice her. “I’m cute! Adore me!” (She doesn’t say that.)
So what’s the point of this post? Uh, well, the husband traveled this past week, for three days. It happened to coincide with Dubya getting an ear infection. Which meant I stayed home with her for three days. And now I know, for sure, that being a working mom works best for our family.
It’s not that Dubya wasn’t delightful during our SAH adventure–she was. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the time with her–I did and squee’d over every single baby hug and kiss I got. But in the back of my mind, I thought about the report I’d wanted to finish last week. I thought about the lunchtime runs I wasn’t doing (even though Dubya and I did run together with the jogging stroller, it’s tough and a lot more draining since I’m still a running-with-baby novice). I longed for a few minutes at my desk, typing away, while I could tell Dubya was getting bored with me (this girl has an incredible side-eye).
We live so close to our daycare that, when we went for walks and runs, Dubya would spot the building and point, wanting to go in. She saw some of the teachers and screeched for them. Sorry, kiddo. Ear infections may not be contagious, but your fever and your antibiotics timeline make you ineligible for daycare!
I also found myself slightly resentful of the circumstances. My husband’s work can be intense; this year, my work travel was sacrificed because it overlapped with his. I found myself hoping that he gets the job he’s currently in the running for because it means two things: he doesn’t travel as much and I get to go to the professional development conference that I love next year. Now, I want to be clear: I wasn’t mad at him. He’s such a fantastic husband and we co-parent together well (after some struggles–after all, I’ve said it before, having a baby is like dropping a [cute] bomb in the middle of your marriage). But while I know he brings in the big money and we depend on him for health insurance, I still want to travel solo. So, in short: I was jealous.
The big thing I’ve known for a while now but was confirmed by this unexpected five-day weekend: Dubya is a lively kid who needs lively caretakers and lots of social interaction. I would do that for her if I did stay home, but it would be tough. I am an introvert who loves nothing more than a cup of coffee, a good book, and some quiet time. Hell, even my exercise of choice, running, can be pretty solitary and I like it that way. But for our family (my husband is also an introvert), Dubya being with high-energy, dynamic caretakers who seem to never tire of keeping the kids entertained is best. She gets the social interaction she needs with her daycare buddies (and she does have buddies).
I, on the other hand, have come to understand that I care a great deal about what I do. It’s not just another job, which has been the case with me for so long. It’s an important thing that I do and I’ve come to appreciate it more now that Dubya’s here (to be as vague as possible, I work for kids). I am so happy to have finally found the inspiration and motivation–and the source is Dubya. I hope that what I do never has to help her, but there’s always a chance it could. For her and for other kids, I write as best as I can, day to day.
Really, the point of this post is that I find a lot of joy in how we’re living our lives right now. It’s nice to realize: Hey! I really like how this is going and I’m so happy right now! Woohoo!
I know working out of the home isn’t for every mom. But I think that every mom works, super hard, and I think we’re all doing a bang-up job of raising our kids.