Day 363 | On Being a Stay at Home Mom: Point/Counterpoint

I've been thinking about writing this post for months and just never got motivated. Ever since recording this podcast with my friend and then listening to the second podcast in the series (in this one she interviewed a working mom), the topic has been ever-present in the back of my mind. So now, here it is: My first (but maybe not last!) point/counterpoint. I don't think this needs to be said but, as a disclaimer, this is just my perspective and everyone's decision about how to raise their child/ren is personal and I offer no judgement.

Being a Stay at Home Mom is the Best
  1. I'm around for every moment. I haven't missed a milestone in either of the boys' lives and that's pretty amazing. Although, I will point out that Chris has also missed very few. I think the boys somehow withhold doing anything too awesome when it's just me. In fact, I think Robbe's first word might very well be "dadda," obviously.
  2. We *usually* don't have to be anywhere. It's a lovely luxury to have calm, non-stressful mornings and peaceful, non-rushed evenings. Sometimes it's hard to be completely present for these moments, but it is one of my favorite things about staying home with these boys: this quiet, free time to just play or read and not be constantly doing.
  3. I'm in control. As you might have gleaned by now, I'm a *bit* of a control freak. I need to know what's going on with my babies. I need to know what the schedule is going to look like. I need to know that expectations are being appropriately set and upheld. A little obsessive? Yes. But that's what keeps this ship afloat.
  4. I accomplish a lot. I'm a really good multitasker so I do manage to get a lot done, even with two babies, during the waking and naptime hours. My ability to grocery shop, clean, cook meals, run errands, etc., means that the evening and weekend time we get with Chris can be a lot more focused family time. This is a huge deal.
  5. I'm a teacher. I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job of instilling knowledge on a daily basis but one way or another I'm raising pretty intelligent little guys. Chase knows his alphabet, colors, and shapes. He's starting to spell and learning how to rhyme. He's very well mannered as well as patient and empathetic (seriously, you've never met a more empathetic three-year-old). Robbe, although he's not talking yet, can understand practically everything. He's starting to do baby sign language more and more every day (think: all done, more, thank you, dog, bird) and is a fun-loving, affectionate little guy with more of the world opening up to him every day. It's pretty inspiring to know that I did that. More accurately, Chris and I did that, but still. It's me a lot of the time. The boys don't watch tv and Chase's preschool does very little in terms of actual knowledge development (more focused on social development), so somehow I'm doing it.

Being a Stay at Home Mom is Definitely Not the Best
  1. Every day is the same: no weekends, no vacations. Of course the days when Chris is home makes a world of difference, as does having family or visiting another place, but in reality the same challenges exist every day: same meal schedule, same nap schedule, same segmented day.
  2. Isolation. Yes, I get to hang out with other mom friends but just in case you think we sit around gabbing and drinking wine while our children peacefully play together, let me just set the record straight: typically we get about one hour, maybe two hours if we're lucky, of social time before one of us has to leave for food, naps, bedtime, etc. And those one, maybe two hours, usually involve being in two different places (me following my baby, them following theirs) most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy these times with my friends, I just wish they weren't as crazy. And other than that, it's a lot of solo, one-on-two time with my boys.
  3. Babies are exhausting. Not just chasing after them all the time (that's definitely part of it), but constantly negotiating, playing, making small talk, rearing, feeding, disciplining, cleaning up after, etc. You get the picture. And that's only part of the challenge. I'm always on. If it's not managing the kids, it's managing the house and I feel the need to be productive all the time. I could definitely check out during naptime or after bedtime but there's always something that needs to be done and since I'm home so much, it's hard to just ignore forever. 
  4. Baby talk. Chatting with a three year old, although a full-time, non-stop job, is not the most fulfilling form of social interaction. I didn't know I could start to dislike a three letter word stretched into three syllables so much (w-h-y???). I long to use the other side of my brain: I used to be a problem-solver, negotiator, creative individual when the stakes were slightly different than how to get your babies to eat vegetables. I miss that.
  5. Working seems like a luxury. The grass is always greener, right? Chris thinks I'm crazy for being jealous of his commute and work-life. Although he loves his job (yay!), he wants more than anything to be home with us. And although I love my job (babies!), I want pretty desperately to have the independence and responsibility of getting out of the house sans-babies and contributing to society. That would probably last one day, but from the outside looking in, it sure does seem lovely.