"I will ALWAYS want to work full-time! I'll NEVER stay at home with children!"
Yep. I said that prior to children. And now? I'm eating my words.
Recently, my husband and I made the very significant decision that I would be quitting my job after having baby number two due at the end of December.
This decision came after much thought, postulating, and planning how we would make things work relying on only one income, even with my ability to supplement our income somewhat unreliably with small side-jobs. It came with sacrifice, in many areas. We don't have cable television, and haven't for over a year. We don't buy each other or ourselves expensive gifts. We rarely eat out or go to movies. We buy most of what we own gently used and are very thrifty in what we do have to purchase new. The sacrifices, however, have been completely worth it for our family. To be candid — they really don't even seem like sacrifices to either myself or my husband.
When I initially returned to work after having my first child, everyone said that it would get easier. The constant worrying about him, the sadness of missing out on what he was doing all day long, the little smiles I wouldn't see throughout the day — it never got better for me. I found myself wishing I was home even more as he began to grow older, become more interactive, and gain the ability to recognize and verbalize his displeasure that I was gone for so long each day.
On my days off at home, it was easy to recognize that as a family we were all happier. No matter how tough the day could be with my small child at home, I was much happier being at home with him. Whether there were tears, food thrown on the floor, nap strikes, or any other events that make your day extremely tough as a stay at home parent, I always knew in my heart I'd choose the worst day with my son over the best day at work. On the great days at home, I realized that I would never grow tired of reading to my child, playing games with him, teaching him as much as I possibly could. While every mother needs adult time — I didn't feel like I had to have a daily break from my child to be happy or successful. I completely understand the mothers that do, because some days staying at home with your child or children can be tough. But I just never felt that I needed that.
After six years of university and a master's degree, I never thought I'd be in this place — but, here we are. I've always loved my job. Working in healthcare has been amazing for me, in that I love to help my patients and clients change their lives. My job as a speech pathologist has been extremely rewarding and fulfilling, in many ways. But, for me, it will never be able to make up for what I felt I was missing out on with my child during those times.
I'm extremely lucky to have the opportunity to be at home with my children more frequently than I was previously. I'm so lucky to have a spouse that supports my desires to do so. And I'm so lucky that I know what works for me and I've learned my path as a parent.
As mentioned above, as a parent, I've learned to never say never.
Because, most times, you end up eating your words.
How did you decide whether to work or to stay home?