I really admire stay-at-home and work-at-home moms. I tried it myself, and I failed dismally.
I’m a better mom when I work outside the home, because my time with my kids is quality time, versus quantity time. When I was home, I took my time with my kids for granted. I zoned out, I became a workaholic on my laptop, and the television was their third parent. I don’t have it in me to entertain two little children all day, every day, without at some point going crazy because if-I-have-to-hear-another-word-Caillou-says-I’m-going-to-throw-something-at-the-TV-and-break-it! I was bored, and as much as I tried to occupy myself and the kids, I became depressed.
It was time for a change
After about 4 months of working at home, parenting and running my own business, I knew I needed more daily intellectual stimulation. It was at this point that one of my best friends decided that she wanted to transition from working outside the home to being at home with her children and becoming a childcare provider. I emailed my former manager immediately, and I told her I was ready to return to work, but that I wanted a different job within the company. She forwarded my resume to the powers that be, and a month later, I walked back in to my life as a work-outside-the-home mom. I also continue to run my own business, Trendy Babywearing, and I have found a way to work it around my schedule in the office.
I miss my kids when I’m at work, but I have photographs of both of them in my cubicle, and I truly enjoy what I do. I was able to work out a similar schedule as my huband, and we arrive home aroud the same time each day. We are no longer passing each other in the hallways at 2 a.m. We eat dinner together, and we share parenting responsibilities. The best part is my kids cherish their time with us and are genuinely happy to see me when I arrive to pick them up.
The first few days, it was difficult to transition from work to home at the end of the day. I found that babywearing helped me connect with both of my children. My daughter has asked me to “wrap her on my belly.” My son is content any way I wear him. Physically connecting with my children through babywearing has increased the emotional connection and allowed me to more smoothly transition from work to home at the end of a workday.
This was the right decision
While I miss my time at home with my kids, I don’t regret returning to work, because it was something I needed to do to save my sanity.
What made me realize I wanted to go back to work outside the home?
- Craving a routine: I am terrible about creating routines and sticking to them, but I still need to have a routine … and if I have a work schedule to keep me on track, I am much happier.
- Financial instability: While Trendy Babywearing is awesome and I do make money running my business, it’s not a steady income. My income relies on when carriers are newly released and sometimes, I don’t get to pay myself for all my hard work because I have overhead expenses that need to be taken care of first.
- Irritability: I noticed that I wanted to yell all the time. Most of the time, it was at Caillou for being so whiny, but those feelings of irritability stemmed from my lack of steady intellectual stimulation. I want to learn new things every day, and there’s only so much I can learn from watching the same episode of Bubble Guppies 57 times.
These were three big signs to me that I needed a change in my life, but the biggest sign of all was that — plain and simple — I missed working outside the home. While every person and every family situation is different, this is what I have found is working best for me and my family.
Can you relate to Barbara’s journey? Share your experience in the comments.