Going back to work after having my son was NOT something I wanted to do. I, like a lot of women, had this ideal in my head that I would be this perfect stay at home mom/wife. This included me keeping a spotless house, having dinner ready on the table at 6 sharp every night, and have plenty of free time to lounge around and be generally awesome. Unfortunately, as my due date grew increasingly closer and my stomach grew increasingly larger, my husband and I came to the conclusion that financially, I could not be a stay at home mom. We had tried to tweak our budget in every way possible, him by figuring in overtime at work, me by promising to only eat one meal a day and to cut my post-baby margarita schedule in half. Any way we looked at it, we needed two incomes.
So as a happy median, we decided I would return to work only part-time. My job didn’t want to lose me (because of that general awesomeness I mentioned), so they allowed me to hire an assistant. She would work full time, and I would work 3 days a week. We also found a great in-home daycare that would allow us to bring Lincoln part-time, and was really inexpensive, so we didn’t feel like we were wasting money by not taking him there every day. I took the standard 6 weeks off after giving birth, and it was such a great bonding period between me and my new baby. I was learning how to care for him, and he was getting used to me. Those days were fairly easy, as he slept 80% of the time. Those 6 weeks flew by, though, and before I knew it, it was time to return to work.
I can’t explain how it felt to leave him at daycare for the first time. That entire first day back at work I felt like part of me was missing. I couldn’t focus, and counted the minutes till it was time to pick him up. This went on for a while, but I finally did get used to being away from him. About that time is when we realized that babies are kind of expensive, so I started working 4 days a week. 3 months after going back to work part-time I went back to work full-time. It wasn’t a life style choice, it was a financial necessity.
Most of the time I long for the life of a stay at home mom. I relish the days I do get to spend with Lincoln, and think of how nice it would be to have that every day. But then there’s the days where work is my sanctuary, and I get to sit in solitude with no one shouting “No!” and throwing toys out the doggie door. There is no easy cookie cutter decision when it comes to being a working mom vs. a stay at home mom. If I was a woman with a flourishing career, I might be tempted to choose that career woman lifestyle. And if I knew we could live the life we’re accustomed to on 1 income, I’d probably quit my job tomorrow. You have to do what’s right for you and your family, and sometimes that decision isn’t the one you wanted to hear.