I want to start this post by saying that I have never and could never be a stay at home mom/dad. That is in no way a dig to stay at home moms/dads because I think what you do is amazing and some days I envy you. I don’t have the ability to stay at home and I don’t have the patience to do it either. My only experience is being a working mom, if you’re a stay at home mom/dad I would love to hear your perspective as well so please share your story and comment!
I found out pretty quickly while on maternity leave that I could never be a stay at home mom. As soon as I felt decent enough to go out in public I was almost never home. I started back at the gym three weeks after delivery with both girls partly so I could feel like myself again but also so I could have some adult interaction. I had the option to take 12 weeks with both kids and I was good with 8. I work best when I have a schedule so when I don’t have a schedule for myself everything goes to crap. Even now, on the weekends I will have a game plan and because I know that I don’t really have any kind of deadline or anything to adhere to, it really never goes as planned.
I am blessed because my mother started her own in home daycare when my nephew was a baby and because of that she takes care of my kids while I am at work. It still makes it really hard that my kids spend more time with my mom than with me during the week. It also doesn’t change the fact that occasionally I miss things. When you’re a working parent your kids don’t wait for you to get off work to say their first word, crawl for the first time, take their first step, go pee on the potty for the first time, read their first word, write their first letters, and the list goes on. Being a working parent means sacrificing those first milestones with your children that you will never get back. Of course you will get to see all of those things but to hear from someone else, “they took their first step today and they were so excited” it stings a little bit, no matter who that person is to you.
We make this choice though, the choice to start a family and at the same time we make a choice to make a living and there is a fine line and a balancing act that you have to perform every single day. There are days that I go to work sick to my stomach because I miss my kids so much or I feel bad about yelling at my daughter because she was throwing a fit about her sock not being on the correct way that morning. If you have kids you totally understand that last reference and if not, its a real thing. The only time I am not with my kids is when I am at work and that drive to and from picking them up. Some people wonder why I don’t get a baby sitter more or go out and go do something. Anytime I am away from my kids, I miss them. I miss them driving me crazy, making me angry, making me smile, making me proud, and everything in between.
Don’t get me wrong, I think its important to have time away from your kids for both you and them but when I do have me time I cant help but feel guilty. I made the choice to have these little people, they didn’t make that choice and because of that I feel a responsibility to be with them and spend my time with them so that I don’t have to miss out on any of those firsts, so I get to have these memories of them. Having said that, nap time is my favorite time on the weekends and bed time is on a pretty strict schedule so that my man and I get our alone time every night before we go to bed so we can have a conversation without being interrupted by the little monsters farting at the dinner table and thinking its the funniest thing in the world. Also a real thing.
Another part of being a working parent that is tough is when you get no sleep but you’re still expected to show up! There are no adult naps! I remember being so sleep deprived after having my second daughter that I couldn’t even drive to work without falling asleep and because I was breastfeeding I had to limit my caffeine intake. Sleep deprivation is dangerous people! After your kids start sleeping through the night you might hear phantom night cries so you wake up anyway still or you might be terrified that they haven’t woken up yet so you wake up to check on them, or they have a nightmare, or they’re sick. Maybe you’re a single mom/dad and you don’t have your kids every night, this alone could keep you up at night.
Regardless of the stress, the sleepless nights, the sacrifices, and the madness, those little turds are worth every bit of it. Sometimes I start complaining about something my kids did or not getting any sleep and then I think of the people that have been trying to have kids for years and cant get pregnant, I think about the people that have lost their children before their time and will never get to have another sleepless night and hold their child after their bad dream. I am incredibly grateful and blessed to have these children and to be their mom. So shout out to all parents everywhere, you’re doing a great job and whatever stage you’re at with your kids, know that its temporary! This too shall Pass!