My big news is that I'm going to have a new boss in a few weeks. He's 18 months old and his name is Walker.
In other words: I recently put in my notice at work and, after much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I am going to be a stay-at-home mom.
In all honesty, this is something I have known I wanted to do before I ever had Walker. And then when he was born, the desire intensified. I'm more than thankful to God and to my husband for allowing me to have this opportunity; it's the best gift - aside from Walker - that I could ever receive.
Many of you aren't going to like what I have to say next; I'm definitely not one to sugar coat things! But because I've been a working mom, I have the perspective and can say wholeheartedly that being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is super hard.
When you stay at home and your kids are up sick all night, you are able to stay home with them and not have to worry about switching shifts -- you can be what they need when they're sick: mom. You don't have to get dressed, wear make-up, leave them, look presentable and be fully-functional to other adults who are relying on you to do what they pay you to do for eight hours while you're simultaneously worrying about your child. That's just one example of the struggle.
Working moms do everything stay-at-home moms do - with a full-time job. They are the default parents most of the time: they make sure dinner is on the table every night, unload dishwashers, do 17 loads of laundry, craft Valentines, bake Christmas treats, make sure children's drawers are filled with the appropriate-sized clothing, do the grocery shopping, take kids on play dates and to doctor's appointments - and work 40+ hours a week. Working moms can never truly leave work - or their families - behind. It's tough to balance home and work life and feel like a rockstar at both.
I've heard other moms say they would never send their children to day care because A) They felt like they would miss important milestones in their children's lives and/or B) Because they wouldn't want someone else raising their child.
I never felt like I missed any of Walker's milestones. He crawled for me. He walked for me. His daycare never, ever told me if/when he rolled over there first. That was a policy. For all I know, the first time Walker crawled, it was for me. On that same note, I never felt like someone else was "raising" my child when they watched him for eight hours a day.
However, on that note, I realize that staying at home isn't all rainbows, sunshine and roses, either. It's tough being the only one home with your child during the day: it's on your shoulders to ensure they are prepared for Pre-K or Kindergarten - and that's a big weight. It's tough to not have adult interaction some days from the time your husband leaves for work until he returns home at night. It's tough when they're screaming and throwing tantrums and all you want is a break for five minutes to pee alone. Trust me, I get it. And in a few weeks, I'll experience that, too.
I don't look at staying at home as giving up my career - and I don't feel that way, either. I look at it as starting a new one. I'm all about women in the workplace, and I will only encourage that to my daughter, if I have a daughter one day. But, I always felt like a ball had to be dropped somewhere in my crazy hectic life of balancing work and home life, and a husband and a child...and unfortunately, a lot of times, the ball that dropped was my family. It broke my heart every time I didn't get to kiss Walker goodnight because I was at an evening event; or didn't get to pick him up from school because I had to work late because of lack of planning on someone else's part; or was sending a work email on my phone when we were out for a walk. I worked in a job that was about kids, yet my kid was always the one who had to sacrifice.
Bottom line: I'm excited about my new opportunity and thankful I can see being a mom from both sides of the fence. We need to support mothers in their decision to either work or stay at home, and not make anyone feel bad or wrong because what they have chosen to do is different from what you choose to do. If there's one thing I can't stand is when people use hashtags on Twitter like, "#SAHM." Where's the hashtag for just "#mom?" I will promise you this: you will never catch me using any hashtags related to staying at home and I can assure you I won't become a blogger who complains about the privilege of staying at home. And, to my sweet friends Susana and Liz: I can promise you I will never wear a visor - monogrammed or not. ;)
So, join me on this new adventure of staying at home with my sweet boy! Here we go!