Cloth or disposables? Breast milk or formula? Cry it out or not? Stay home or go back to work? All of these are questions that new moms and dads have to answer, along with about a hundred others. For me there was no question that I would be going back to work after maternity leave. The major question for me what, how much should I/do I need to work?
I always knew I wanted children, but I never really saw myself as a stay-at-home mom. My main reasoning for this, honestly, is that I knew I could never justify taking out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to then not work. If money was never an issue I would maybe think differently about staying home, but I will never know! In addition, I do like my job. I’m a pediatric speech-language pathologist, and I missed my kiddos at work when I was on maternity leave. While all kids can get on our nerves, I truly have fun each day.
Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t always wish that I could work a bit less. Right now I work 3.5 days (comes to 80% time), and I know I have been heard on more than one occasion that it would be SO nice to only work half time. However, right now that is just not possible. I look forward to that day!
The real question is, do I feel guilty for working? Nope. Do I miss Jessa after I drop her off at daycare? Of course! It would be awesome to spend more time at home, playing with her and teaching fun things. However, I know that part of the reason that I have a very social, easy-going baby is because she gets to hang out with her little friends at daycare three days a week. We also have had great babysitters on Tuesday afternoons (my half day), and I know Jessa is well taken care of and has a fun time.
I have friends and acquaintances who knew that they would not have children until they could stay home with them, as they would NEVER put their children in daycare. That is great for those women, but I have never felt that way. I am sure we could have a great debate on this topic, but I know that working at least part of the week is the right thing for me. We all do what to have to!
I worked at a daycare for three years during undergrad, and I am lucky that Jessa goes to that same daycare. She is even cared for by many of the same people I worked with! Each daycare is different, and I know we are lucky that we found one that I know so well and love. This isn’t true for all childcare facilities, and we count our blessings every day. Having such confidence in our childcare situation is obviously another reason I can work basically guilt-free.
What is your work/childcare situation? If you stay home, how do you make it all work? We already try hard to spend less on groceries, cut back on eating out, and save on our electric/water bills. However, we would have to make some major changes (i.e. move to a smaller house) if I were to stop working or work quite a bit less. How do you stay-at-home moms and dads do it?! If you work full time, do you ever struggle with guilt or wishing you were home more? Please fill me in, as I love to hear from other working moms (and in this case, stay-at-home parents) on this issue!