Before I jump into this post, let me preface it by saying two things.
1. This is a very controversial topic, I am just referencing my personal.experience, so facts not opinions.
2. This is something I could write volumes about (as is the case with a lot of my topics) but for now I am just testing the water.
Recently, I have been reading a lot about the issue on the internet so I had to weigh in since I have been both. I was off for eight months after I had Sawyer and then went back to work full time (by the time he was over a year many weeks I was working 50+ hours). Now I have been off with the kids since December and I don’t plan on returning until the beginning of January when my mat leave runs out. My partner also works full time.
Do I think one is harder that the other? Good question. I think they are different. Pardon the cliche but it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Which would I be if I had the choice? Not sure. I often think I’d try for the best of both worlds and work part time :-p
Being a working mom:
Yes, it is difficult. You spend all day working at your job and all night being a mother. Luckily I have a husband to help with that because I can’t imagine doing it alone. It’s tough. You miss out on time with your kids. You are always busy. You have to take short cuts sometimes, which can be hard if you are a perfectionist.
It’s tough to be a worker when you are a mother as well (and I will probably post about this separately). You can’t just work late when you need to because you have to get home for the baby sitter. You would work through the plague but if your child is sick you have to call in sick to take care of them. Maintaining a work/life balance is a lot harder than you would think.
An obvious bonus is you have a lot more money. There are costs associated with working and I don’t have as much time for couponing, but that extra salary is really helpful. This is only because in my case we do not pay for baby sitting, if we did it would be a whole different story.
Work as Me Time:
Work can be great for several reasons. It gets you out of the house. You get to interact with other adults. You get to eat proper meals and go pee without an audience. You get to wear nice clothes.
You also really appreciate your family because it isn’t until you are away from them that you can miss them. And no matter how crappy a day you have at work, when you come home and see their smiling faces it all melts away.
You Miss Out:
Since you are busy working you will probably not be there for many milestones. Personally, that doesn’t bother me. Whether I see my baby’s first steps or second or third, the point is they can walk.
Being a SAHM
Say goodbye to alarm clocks, you get to wake up to the coos of your babies or the greeting of your son. The catch is that could be at any time, even 5 am! It is a lot less stressful not to be a slave to the clock and calendar, although I will admit I still am at times when I am exhausted and I count down the minutes until Jeff gets home.
Less Money but More Time:
So you may not have that income but you have more time to save money and less expenses. I am always looking for sales, couponing, collecting bonus points etc. And other than going to Tims, most of my favourite activities are free (walking the dogs, going to the playground etc.)
You Get Time with Your Kids:
I live in a pretty posh area and usually when I would be out with Sawyer it would be us and a bunch of kids with their (usually Filipino nannies). I get this, I mean people have to work. But when I see the kids with the mom and the nanny at the park and the mom is sitting there reading a book while the nanny plays with the kids it BOGGLES my mind! What is the point of having kids?! Every minute with them is special amd not working lets you spend it with them instead of someone else. Lucky for me my parents are the ones who cover three days a week, I don’t think I could trust anyone else.
You Get to Take Care of You:
When you are working and caring for a family the only thing you cam sacrifice is yourself. Your sleep time, bath time, doctor time, dentist time. When you are a SAHM.you have more flexibility to make time for yourself. I am not saying it’s easy, but I still find it more doable than when I am working. And let’s face it, you are no good to your kids if you are a physical and mental wreck.
It Gets Lonely:
By no means would I call myself a social butterfly, but I do enjoy the company of others. Staying at home alone all day can be tough. All your social interaction comes from Facebook or the nice old ladies at the store who comment on your kids. I am always looking forward to the days when family and friends come to visit.
You Have Time for Extended Family:
When I am working there is no room in the schedule for weddings, parties, family get togethers etc. It sucks for me and for the kids. They have a big family who lives them (they are the only grandkids on both sides) but they have to miss out because mommy has to work.
When you aren’t working you don’t have to worry about hair and makeup. You can wear whatever is comfortable, or the bell bottom jeans you love that aren’t I’m style anymore. I do find though, that sometimes getting a little gussied up helps me feel a bit better when I am down.
These are just a few of the observations I have made, and they come from my experience of working with only one child. I am sure now with three things would be different. I’d like to hear what you think. Feel free to add on your own pros and cons. Hopefully this post can become a resource for moms who are trying to decide whether to work or not. It started because I was angry about that article, but now it can become something meaningful.