I feel like I am at a crossroad in my life where I will soon have to make a decision of whether I want to continue to be a stay at home parent or go back in to the working field.
Because I have worked most of my life, the transition of becoming a stay at home parent was a lot more difficult than I anticipated. I always dreamed of being able to stay home with my children, I fantasized about how wonderful it would be while playing my own version of Mary Poppins in my head. But the reality is, that being a stay at home parent is difficult. Although it is rewarding and beautiful, it is a tough journey – sometimes even thankless with long, never ending hours. To top it off, it can be financially nerve wrecking especially since you are no longer contributing with a paycheck. The months of penny pinching become stressful and as a mother, you naturally put yourself last to make sure everyone else gets what they need first. Momma bear always makes sure her cubs get fed so luxuries such as shopping, salon visits, manicures…well, they are a thing of the past.
It can be incredibly taxing to go day after day of just doing without and putting yourself last. It can definitely take a toll on you emotionally. You look in the mirror to see a stranger with funky looking hair and deep eye circles starring back at you. Someone you just don’t recognize anymore. You start to question where the old “you” went; the go getter, the sharp looker, the woman who was always on top of things. Now you’ve become the lady with “mom brain,” wearing long shirts and leggings, covered in baby spit up.
But it’s all worth it right? I mean, children are everything?
Yes, they are. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than anything in this world. I can’t physically be away from my children for too long without completely freaking out. Watching them grow up to be these amazing tiny humans is a gift that I will forever be grateful for. But, there are times where I feel that my potential as a career driven individual is going to waste. I want to be able to contribute to my family in a way where my children will be able to have more opportunities when they are older, and in order for me to be able to give them that – I would have to go back into the working field. But the longer I stay home, the less work experience I am able to attain.
Sometimes, I see some of my past colleagues and their career accomplishments and I feel like I need to be out there. I mean, there are working moms out there who do it all…why can’t I? As a woman of faith, I am called to manage my home. And can I really do that while working outside the home? I believe that is one of my hardest struggles. I know there are women of faith who do work due to financial circumstances so then why am I struggling with such mom guilt?
I think when it comes down to it, we are called to be selfless, to give ourselves to our families and put their needs first. I know this is how God has designed the home to be. Do I see the blessings that have come forth due to me following this example? Yes, I definitely have. I believe I struggle with the definition of success. Most people feel they need to succeed financially and in career driven environments in order to feel successful in life. But, we forget how important it is to raise happy, healthy humans so we write it off.
The truth is that, one will always suffer. If you go back to work, yes your family will get less of you. You may have to hire a babysitter and a housekeeper. One day, I may have to do that and I am trying my best not to guilt trip myself for it because it’s just a process of life that doesn’t mean I love my family any less. I know I can’t have it all. But I want to be able to provide a bigger space that my children may one day enjoy. So until that day comes, I will try to enjoy every snuggle, every boo boo that needs to be kissed, every bed time swinging where my arms feel like they are going to give out on me. The truth is that I am just another over protective mother who is probably overthinking this whole thing. A mother that is just trying to make the best decisions for her family. I just want to do what is right for them, and make the best decisions in order to provide a better future for them.