When my first two were born, I worked full time. I would drop them off at daycare at 7:45 am and pick them up at 5:30 pm every day. I hated being away from them, but I knew they were in great hands so it made it (a little) easier. At the end of each day I would pick them up and take them home. My husband would meet us at home shortly after. We would feed them dinner that I had prepared for them the night before, spend some time playing with them, bathe them and put them to bed. By the time they were sleeping, we were EXHAUSTED but we still had to clean up, eat dinner ourselves, wash/dry/fold/iron laundry, prepare dinner for the kids for the next evening (since we’d get home so late, there was no time to start preparing. They were starving!). I was always so jealous of stay at home moms. I thought they had it made.
Three and a half years ago we relocated overseas. I decided I would take some time to learn my new surroundings and take it all in before starting to look for a new job. I was a stay at home mom. I very quickly learned how difficult it was to be a stay at home mom. As a working mom, I would do what needed to be done around the house and that’s about it. My house always looked presentable and there was always food in the fridge. But as a stay at home mom I realized that the work is just never done! I always had something else that needed to be done! Since I was home, everyone always assumed I had the time to help them or volunteer and I always felt guilty saying no. I missed getting up in the morning, going to work, talking to other adults, and just plain doing things that didn’t revolve around my kids or the house.
A year and a half later I started a freelance career working from home. A few months in, I got pregnant. I gave birth and gave myself a three week “maternity leave” before getting back to work. I figured it would be easy. When the baby sleeps and the big kids are in school, I’ll have plenty of time to work. HA! Since I’m a writer, I depend on my creativity to keep things flowing. Well … when you’re waking up every hour and a half to feed/burp/change a baby – your creativity suffers big time. Didn’t work very well to try writing when he was napping either because as soon as he’d wake from his nap, my whole train of thought would derail.
It obviously got easier as he got older (he’s 11 months old now) but it is still extremely hard to be a work at home mom. Especially when my baby is still home with me.
Working parents, stay at home parents or parents who work from home … there’s always a competition between the three to see who works the hardest or who does more during the day. I have done all three with my three kids and I’ve got to say … none of it is easy. Each has its own benefits and hardships. I can honestly tell you that in the 10 years that I have been a mother, nothing has ever been easy. Parenting is hard no matter how you do it. The grass is not greener on the other side. It is just as filled with work, chores, spit up, dirty diapers, chaos and lot and lots of love.