Today I had to make a very hard decision. A decision that most new parents will stress about over the course of their maternity leave. Do I go back to work? Or stay home with my baby?
When I thought about having kids, I always pictured that I would be a stay at home mom. Lunch with the girls and shopping trips, right?! Wrong! You learn very quickly that is not the job description.
Being a parent is like ground hog day. With lots of poop. Every day you wake up and do the same thing. Feed, change diapers, change clothes, (yours and baby’s if your baby spits up like mine does), laundry, play time, and the occasional attempt to also make dinner. The main thing that changes, is your baby’s likes and dislikes. That will definitely keep you on your toes.
Ok, so this is not what I pictured life to be like as a stay at home mom. Yet somehow, it is still something that I desire. Why? They say the first year of a child’s life, really defines their development for the years to come. So do you leave that up to someone else? Many moms have given me the advice of, “if you can afford to stay home for the first year, then do it”.
So now my husband and I need to discuss if this is something we could afford. There is so much that comes with this question. Not only can we afford it, but are you okay with me not bringing in an income? Notice I did not say, “Are you okay with me not working?”. Any parent knows that taking care of a child is a very difficult and important job.
The answer that we came up with is, yes. Yes, we can afford it, but only for about a year. Okay, I can get on board with that. We will need to watch our expenses though. Maybe that second (third) glass of wine isn’t necessary at dinner. Maybe we don’t even go out to dinner at all. As much as I enjoy getting dressed up, (AKA jeans and sneakers, because anything other than yoga clothes is dressing up to me right now), and going out, I can give that up if it means I get to stay home and watch my baby grow up.
Okay, so now that the financial part has been discussed, lets talk about the mental part. Being home with a child all day is extremely difficult. Not only is it tiring, it takes a toll on your mental state. You do basically the same thing day in and day out. You are not really using your brain in the way that you may have been using it at work. You also start to miss the adult interaction.
What do I do to combat this is? First, write my blog. I continue to learn more about the blogging industry and connect with intelligent people. Second, meet up with my fellow mom friends. We take walks, or go to lunch, (see, we do lunch!), or go to the zoo. Third, get out of the house. Do your normal things like go to Target, or grocery shop. Surprisingly these every day errands can be intimidating for a new parent. Do I put the baby in the stroller? How do I put the car seat in the grocery cart? Will the baby tip over? Catch a weird germ? Doing these every day things seems scary at first, but will definitely combat the mundane.
Now that I know that we will be financially secure for a period of time, I feel slightly less terrified. However, I do want to work. I want to work for all the reasons that I just discussed. I need to use my brain, and I want to set up a future for my children.
When we are young, adults ask what we want to be when we grow up. We usually have these grand ideas like the President, or a ballerina. When I became a teenager, mine became “fashion model”. I modeled throughout my teenage and adult years and then finally gave up on that dream. Gave up sounds so bad. More like, I changed directions. Our dreams start to become more realistic, more attainable. My dream now, is to have a remote job that is flexible, where I can use my creativity. Doesn’t sound very exciting when I say it out loud.
My husband works from home, and makes his own schedule. So if we could both have something like that, then we both get to be home with our child. To hopefully see her first steps. to hear her first word. That’s my dream.
I have learned in life, that you have to take risk. Or maybe you don’t, but I do. I want to know that I did everything I could to achieve happiness. I don’t believe in settling, ask my ex-boyfriends. Bad joke? Anyway, my point is, that this is my opportunity to chase my “dream career”. I don’t exactly know what it is, but I know what I want it to look like.
I’m giving myself a year, and if after that, if I have not been able to find what I am looking for, then I am perfectly happy to go back to my previous career. Because I didn’t hate me job. I actually truly enjoyed it. Even more than that, I enjoyed my colleagues. They became my friends. Making this decision that much more difficult. I still feel uneasy about my choice, but I am confident that the universe will let me know I made the right decision.