I am a former stay-at-home-mom.
When I was a stay-at-home-mom I used to declare my former life as a career mother.
I support mothers in all their decisions with raising their children. My philosophy has always been different strokes for different folks. I could understand and respect mothers who worked out of the home, at home, or have chosen to be the CEO of Domicile Operations.
However, I am eternally perplexed at the women and mothers who judge fellow women and mothers for the choices they do or do not make. The battle between working and stay at home moms. I never understood nor have no care to understand their staunch, and sometimes ignorant, views regarding their choices in motherhood.
My personal experience as a working and stay-at-home mother has been both rewarding and painful. While working the first go around I had to subject my oldest child to “daycare” at the ripe age of 7 weeks old. I was mangled with uncertainty, hurt, fear, doubt. Was I doing the right thing? Did I have another option? No. No I did not. Our life demanded a two income household and as soon as my baby was beginning to smile, I saw cries from his eyes, I heard his pain as each day I left him. The days got easier and easier Â and then harder and harder again. Eventually I was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with my baby. Life was a struggle.
I maintained his schedule, but maintaining my sanity was another story. Entertaining a two and a half year old was also tough when he was more interested in fairy tales, cartoons, possessed an unyielding imagination and an unswerving desire to keep busy in his imaginary world. But I managed to keep the boy busy, taught him manners that would make any grandmother swoon in giddy delight, and taught him to swim like a fish. Pardon the pun.
Time was fast approaching that I would no longer stay home with my boy. That I would say goodbye to being a stay-at-home mom to my precious boy a he entered the new world we like to call “the education system.” That was until the hubs talked me into having another baby….and needless to say we got another baby AND another baby. For which I then became a TRUE stay-at-home mom as I birthed my twins and cared for Big G.
I found life as a stay-at-home mom so wonderful. I embraced my new “job” and was and am ever so grateful that I was blessed with the first two years of life with the twins. I found so much pain as well, pain in what I had missed with Grant when he was a baby. Pain that I felt I was a terrible mother, cursing myself in everyÂ unforgivableÂ way for not finding a way to stay at home with my baby boy. But I found peace in the path of life I chose. I found peace in seeing how well adjusted my boy is and was by attending daycare at such a young age. I found peace in giving Seth and Sara what they needed, Grant what he needed. I found peace in knowing I had been in both situations in the battle of “the mom’s” and who’s job was, is, and deemed more important or more worthy. Each mother and situation is based on the needs of the family.
Moreover, the needs of our family have evolved yet again and I made the heartbreaking and excited decision to return to work. Certain days if allowed I will take a moment and mourn the loss of my life at home with my babies. To kiss all their adventure wounds, sing songs they so animatedly sing back to me, steal kisses while they napped, taught them how to cook and eat right, as well as how to reduce their carbon footprint on our world. I miss my days at home, but when at home I missed my days away from the home as a woman. I missed working and making a difference in the world and in my family’s life by enriching our opportunities.
Now that I have lived, learned, and walked the miles in each of these pairs of shoes I can tell you that within each mother is another who wants what the other has. The working mother may want that opportunity to stay-at-home and take pride in her work, to showcase her domestic abilities, to spend hours with her children that she has previously missed. They at-home mom may want the opportunity to disconnect from life babbling like a lunatic to people who could barely speak in intelligible sentences. That at-home mom wants to find herself again.
Finally, my children. My blessed, beautiful children are a testament of each lifestyle. The benefit of staying at home and the benefit of childcare where my children are growing by leaps and bounds each day. Counting, reciting their alphabet, recalling nursery rhymes, speaking in sentences that bring a smile and a tear to my eye and begs the question, “when did they turn into little people?” And I am ever so proud to be their mom, their once working mom, stay at home mom, and working mom. They amaze me each day.