The struggle is real moms. At least it is for me. It is a constant battle I fight in my head.
The ultimate goal or answer to this internal battle is to be the best mom I can be, but which path to take is the real struggle. What is this battle I speak of, you ask? Should I stay home with my
crazy kids darlings or should I work?
Yes, I know how blessed I am to have that decision, as not many moms do. I worked when I only had one child and have stayed home since I having my second, three years ago.
Both working and staying home are hard. But both are rewarding. You’d think since I have done both, the answer would be easy, but for me, it is not.
I see women on both sides of the spectrum do it so perfectly. They seem to have such a well balanced life between kids, hubby, work and play. Or at least they are really good at acting! I, on the other hand, often feel as though someone stuck me in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a pair of kid’s blow up arm floaties, telling me to enjoy the ride. It’s like I am too busy trying to stay afloat that I can’t enjoy the view. (Although, I must admit, this isn’t the best metaphor because I’m not really an “ocean” person. I’m more of a mountain person, but you get my point!) The daily necessities, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. become so monotonous and boring that it often puts me into a funk. And, when I am in said funk, I’m not the best at “MOMming”. I start to dream of adventure and I get antsy for a change. Whether that change be starting a new hobby, moving to a beautiful (mountainous) location, or going back to work.
Do not get me wrong, I really, really do love my children and I enjoy being home with them. But sometimes, I feel like staying home prevents me form appreciating my kids as much. What is the old adage? “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Would seeing my kids for only a few short hours during a work week make me a better mom to them?
If I worked outside our home, I would have to organize my time better. So would I organize my time with them better? Use it for more quality time with them? Play with them more? I know saying getting only a few hours with them and making it “better sounds” strange, but is quality over quantity better for a child? This is the struggle I am talking about, friends!
I am luckily in a situation where I am financially able to stay home with my boys, at least for now. But what is truly best for them and their well being? I have read articles that say kids whose parents work often excel and do well as adults. Is it because they have to learn to go with the flow? (i.e. Do homework or eat on the go, shuffle from after school care to sports practices.) Is it because they learn how to adapt? (for instance, go to babysitters or daycare even if they are deathly shy or clingy to their parents.) Is it because they see that work has to get done in a timely manner regardless of mommy and/or daddy’s schedules?
Please understand that I am not saying that when parents stay home these things are not important or don’t get done; that is not at all what I am saying. I am just speaking from my own experiences and know that since I am at home instead of working outside of the home, there is a different, more lax set of time restraints and schedules. We tend to have an, “it’ll get done…sometime” attitude. That is why my house never seems to be spotless… or at least that is my excuse!
But on the flip side, what kid doesn’t want their parent home when they get home from school? Or want their parent to eat lunch with them or go to a school event on a whim? There are benefits to mommy or daddy not having to schedule things like this with their boss. And getting to spend the whole summer with their parents instead of being shuffled from camp to babysitter to daycare? These are great things that give kids a sense of security.
I was blessed to have my grandmother take care of me as a child up until my mom quit working outside of the home, so I know full and well how nice those things are. Once again, don’t twist my words and think that mothers and fathers that work outside of the home don’t offer these things to their kids. Speaking from my own personal experience once again, it has been nice not to have to come into the office early, stay late, or take vacation time to enjoy the afternoon at my child’s school watching a performance or going on a field trip with them.
Staying home though,
can be hard IS HARD. It can be mentally draining and trying at times because.
Unlike having a job outside of the home, you rarely get breaks. I can’t even pee by myself, let alone finish a cup of hot coffee. (Who needs Starbucks to make an iced coffee? Just leave your coffee unattended long enough to get cold, add ice and Viola!, it’s just like theirs!) But, I’m a mommy, and at the end of the day, I really don’t want my kids to have to spend long hours at school, after school care and/or daycare. I want them home with me. Is that what is best for my kids, though? I may never know the answer to this question. I just pray and hope that whatever my husband and I choose to do, they know that they are loved and we will always want the best for them, just like any other parent, working or stay at home.