Work. Yes, that's right work. What word did you think I was referring to?
To work or not to work - I'm sure that just about every mommy (and daddy too) has struggled with this question at one point or another, or perhaps on and off throughout the course of their child(ren)'s life. This is probably one of the toughest ones to tackle when being a parent. As always, this is a sensitive subject, so keep in mind these opinions are my own and I am only one person! I respect the views of my readers and know that we may not all agree on this topic!
For me the reality is - life is expensive, and let's face it - there is a certain standard of living we expect, there are things we can't imagine living without, that we feel we shouldn't have to live without, at least at this stage in the game. I feel as though I worked really hard to get my post secondary education. I did without a lot of things and got by on very little or no income for long enough. I feel like I paid my dues (literally) and deserve to reap some of the benefits of my hard work. There is no shame in being a stay-at-home momma, but for me personally, I feel if that's where I am going to land, then why did I spend so much time and money on a hard earned education in the first place? I could have started my family at a younger age if that was the case instead of waiting to get things with my career ironed out first.
The money is one thing, but there are some other reasons I consider returning to work, and feel guilty for the selfish motive behind them. I miss the workplace chatter and social aspects, I relish the idea of having something else in my day other than dirty socks or sticky floors, and I would love to do something else that I love doing, something that I have been trained to do, something that I miss more and more.
Still, I am very torn. I love being a momma. I love being home every day with my little guy, being the person he knows best, the person responsible for his unbringing. I get to witness first hand all of his growth and development, I get to teach him things, I get to be his strongest influence. I don't want to miss anything, but I know that's impossible.
If I am not with him all day, someone else is. I struggle with the notion of letting him go, of trusting someone else with my most valuable asset, of missing him so much. I have not been away from him for more than a night or two since he was born, and even then I have felt 100% comfortable with the person taking care of him. Returning to work will force me to select someone to take care of him - someone who right at this moment is very likely a stranger to me.
While I have decided to take a little extra time off work to soak him up, I know that eventual date is looming when I will drop him off somewhere. The day is coming when I will not have the freedom to run errands, go on play dates and to reel babies, or to just take him for a walk in the afternoon simply because I feel like it. My life will become more hectic when rushing home after daycare pick-up will become the norm. We will have things like supper, bathtime, and getting ready for the next day all standing in the way of the short amount of time left to play and cuddle, and just be. Having a job and not being home means giving up a lot of things too.
I have struggled with this since before I gave birth, but the longer I spend at home, the more I know that I will get over the transition, and that it is important for me to return to work. It will also be good for my son to socialize more frequently and consistently with other children, for him to get used to being around more people on a regular basis. It will do him good to have something else in his life besides mommy and daddy.
I both look forward to and dread the eventual return date, and know that it will be rough for awhile. I have to remind myself to make the most of the time left and spend as much time as I can with him, so we can just be.
Stay tuned in coming posts for a daycare search checklist!