Sunday, March 7, 2010

A mom's conflict

It's been a long time coming, but I have wanted to write a post touching on the whole Stay at Home vs Working Mom debate. I've sat down to write this post a million times. I've written and erased it and written it again. I could never quite articulate exactly how I felt. I'm still not quite sure how how I feel but I'll try my best to explain it because I wonder if there are other mothers out there grappling with this issue too. At least on some level.
I find myself in the middle of the road on this topic. I resigned from my full time job near the end of my maternity leave and now find myself working part time. Some days I'm very conflicted. I wonder if I made the right decision to give up my full time job. Not because I don't want to stay at home with my beautiful baby boy, but because I miss things like paid time off, a consistent paycheck, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with a full time job. I've always been a worker. Even as a child I worked as a babysitter or camp counselor. So when I left the full time workforce I didn't expect it to throw me for such a loop.
But today I had an epiphany of sorts.
I'm not conflicted on working/staying at home. I'm conflicted because I now have no idea what my next step will be. That is because when I quit my full time job I vowed to never go back to retail again. I've worked it my whole life and I have a slew of great experience to show from it, but I'm done. Retail isn't a field conducive to family life and I am done with the crazy hours and schedules.
But now what? Being a new mother and charting a new life course isn't exactly easy. Especially trying to find a new career path with no experience in a bad economy. My timing sucks. But I try to live my life with no regrets. I'd like to believe that everything reveals itself in time, and that eventually things will work out the way they were meant to.
In my experience the best things happen when you aren't looking for them. I fell in love with my husband when I wasn't looking for love and I got pregnant during the only time we weren't trying. So maybe I'll get lucky and the same will happen with my future job.

Any new moms out there feeling equally conflicted? It seems to me that the grass always seems greener on the other side, but working or staying at home equally have their pros and cons. Are you happy with your decision? Would you do things different if you could?


Anonymous said...

I never intended on being a stay-at-home mom, but circumstances beyond my control changed that - right as I was about to land my dream job. While I have had times of nearly going crazy from being stuck at home with no adult interaction (more so than the "typical" mom, all things considered), I wouldn't trade anything for the opportunity to be such a big part of my kids' lives. I can't imagine missing out on so many little things they've done on a daily basis and being able to interact with them so much :)

Unknown said...

I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mom either, but when it came time to leave my little man, I simply could not do it. I battle with this decision constantly.
While I do not "regret" quitting my teaching job and I wouldn't trade anything for the time I have had with Logan, I do miss adult interaction, having a set schedule and purpose to my day, and feeling like a professional.
I agree that the grass is always greener on the other side. I think the biggest challenge for me is that some of my friends who do work seem to resent me for staying home (or so it would seem...), and there are definitely days where I envy them for going to work.
I am definitely not one of those women who preaches staying at home, it's just what worked for my family (and what we have been fortunate enough to do). I understand exactly where you are coming from about not knowing what the next step will be. For now, I'm trying not to worry about that step. I know in the long run my sacrifices will be well worth it!

Unknown said...

So true Tiff!