Any stay at home mom, or stay at home parent, will tell you it’s the hardest job they’ve ever had. I can surely attest to that. While I love spending time with my children, seeing them learn and grow, teaching them, and not missing a moment…it’s also completely exhausting.
After Our First Child
I worked full-time for a year after my first child was born. I continued my job as a school psychologist once the school year started (we even planned the pregnancy so he was born at the end of the school year and I’d have summer break as my maternity leave). Although I didn’t get to see my baby much, except for overnight which wasn’t ideal, I feel like I adored him more when I was working full-time.
Granted, that first year of his life he didn’t nap at daycare much so instead of the 2 decent naps babies of that age should have, he had one short nap. This meant that he would often fall asleep on the short drive home from daycare at 4:30pm and typically be down for the night. It also meant he woke often during the night. Knowing what I know about sleep now, I would have changed a few things, but I was a first time parent and didn’t have the Sleepeasy Solution in my hands yet.
The most time I got to spend with him, other than overnight feedings, was when he was sick. Which was over 20 days during the 9 months he was in daycare. Another 10 or so days my husband was home with him and a few other days my mother-in-law came down to watch him while he was sick. It was a hectic first year.
Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
I left my career I had worked so hard for when my oldest had just turned 1-year-old. Literally the day after his birthday was my last day of work. The first 6 months of being a stay at home mom was great. We had our routine, our little adventures, we’d go on walks everyday while I pushed his stroller, it was great.
It was very different though from what I was used to. As a school psychologist, most of the day I would be alone in my office in the peace and quiet working on analyzing data and writing reports. Often I’d also be assessing students, conducting classroom observations, and presenting in meetings but mainly was alone. As an introvert, I get my energy and recharge from times when I’m alone. As any stay at home parent knows, alone time doesn’t happen much with children around. This wears on me more and more as my kids get older and louder!
Then We Had Twins…
We were trying for one more child and found out we were pregnant with twins when I was almost 9 weeks along. Besides having a high risk pregnancy with appointments every other week, one of the first things I thought of was the COST of having twins. Not only two babies at once so we needed more stuff but also thinking long term of having 3 kids instead of the 2 we thought we’d have.
I also realized that with newborn twins and a 2 year old, the cost of having all 3 of them in daycare would be more than I made as a school psychologist. That’s horribly depressing seeing as I have two graduate degrees but make so little compared to how much daycare costs, but it is what it is. I hadn’t planned on going back to work anyway but at that point I realized I was ‘stuck’ being a stay at home mom for the time being. Whereas previously it was a choice, now it was a necessity.
Though that was the plan all along, now that it was a necessity it changed my thought process around it all and think it may have led, in part, to the perinatal depression and postpartum depression that caught up with me later on.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…
Since I’m with my very active and loud boys all week, I really like to have a break on the weekends, and need it in order to deal with the upcoming week. This means we don’t have a whole lot of family time, which I feel bad about, but I also know if I don’t recharge I won’t be able to function as well during the week.
I get to sleep in on Saturday mornings and am ‘off’ on Sundays typically from 9am-4pm, after my husband gets up from sleeping in on Sundays. During this time I tend to work on my blog, creating new graphics/Pins for it, learning, writing, and once in a while, reading.
I do find that after having that break, even though I’m typically working on my business during it, I do enjoy my kids more after the break.
Which makes me wonder…if I went to work outside the home everyday, would I enjoy the time I have with them even more? Would I be a better parent if I had more time away from them?
I’m not saying that anything is going to change in our situation for several reasons at this point, but something that I ponder from time to time.
I see other parents who work full-time enjoying their littles so much when they have time with them on the weekends. Granted, they don’t get to see their kids as much of course but maybe that’s ok?
What I’d Miss Working Outside the Home
Currently, I homeschool my twins in terms of preschool and with my oldest we do online school. As I’ve mentioned before though his school is technically online, he’s only online for a small portion of time. It’s mainly me teaching him. The great part though is they pick the curriculum and send it to us for free as it’s all covered by the taxes we pay since it’s for a school district within our state so we’re open enrolled.
Though teaching my 3 little boys can be tiring and trying, it is something that I enjoy overall. I love seeing them ‘connect the dots’ and learn everything from simple concepts to the more complex. It’s really neat hearing my newly 6-year-old reading a whole grade level above where he should be. He loves reading to his almost 4 year old brothers, and the other day he didn’t come down from his room for a while and turns out he was reading a dictionary in his room! Granted, it’s a dictionary with some pictures but still, my kid was reading a dictionary. I love it!
I love that my almost 4 year old twins can identify all their uppercase and lowercase numbers as well as colors, shapes, numbers, can count to at least 30, and many other things. It’s awesome knowing that I was the one that taught them. My husband helps as well when he isn’t working but I’m the main teacher.
It’s also great to not have to rush out the door every morning to get them to daycare or school and to get me to work. Like most kids, my kids DO NOT like to rush to do anything. No matter what it is. And if they do actually rush, fights ensue between them and then it takes even LONGER to do what we were trying to do. You know, things like getting shoes on and going to the bathroom before we leave the house.
It’s also nice to not have to worry about my oldest with his food sensitivities and allergies. I know everything he eats is safe because I prepare it for him.
Even better, we don’t get sick. Yes, I know, a lot of people will say that we need to expose them to germs so they build up immunity. I agree with that somewhat, but doing so while COVID is so rampant (it’s July 20, 2022 as I write this and cases nationwide are up 24% in the past 14 days with a 19% rise in hospitalizations and a 33% increase in deaths. Currently we are in an Omicron BA.5 wave currently that is the most contagious any previous COVID-19 strain has been.) Therefore, I won’t be sending my kids into a petri dish anytime soon.
Being home I’ve also been able to see my littles grow up. I’ve seen quotes many places that say we’ll never look back and think we spent too much time with our kids (only that we didn’t spend enough time with them.) Though I do love my alone time I get from time to time, I love spending time with my boys as well. It’s great to be there for their first steps, their first lost teeth, their first bump or bruise. etc.
They know they can always come to me for comfort and knowledge. That’s pretty cool.
The Way it Really Is
So the overall question is, would I be a better parent if I worked outside the home?
My answer: Maybe, but I’d sure miss out on a lot. I might have more patience when I’m with them if they weren’t trying my patience all day, but I’d miss out on teaching them, seeing their firsts, etc. I feel that being a stay at home mom (and homeschooling) is the best for us for now and we’ll see how things continue to go both inside of our home and outside of our home as to whether we change our situation in the future.
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.