I've been kicking this around my head for a year now, the differences between being a full-time working mom and a stay at home mom. I apologize if I ramble on about it some, but I wanted to finally get some thoughts written out. This is in NO WAY a commentary on how I think things should be or a judgement on any others choices, just my own feelings about what I've experienced.
When both of my children were born I took off as much time as I could for maternity leave, about 3 months, before taking them to our amazing child minder. I never felt like someone else was raising my kids, and I never felt like the kids were suffering or not being cared for. My children were always happy and healthy and always, always my priority. I was happy in my work, working for the same company for over 13 years, even able to work from home 2 days a week. Most of my friends were from work and most evenings as a family we would get home at about 6pm. Two nights a week we would have either a soccer practice or American flag football practice and several nights we would eat out as we didn't have much time to make a wholesome meal at home. The weekends were spent cleaning the house, doing things as a family, and spending time with my parents.
Now, looking back at that time, I see how utterly stressed, overwhelmed, and lagging I was. I didn't get much time with my kids, I was always tired, and sadly I was desperately looking for a way out but couldn't find an exit sign that met my needs.
Then, when Jon heard of an opportunity within his company to transfer to England, it was this neon flashing sign lit up in my face saying go for it, and we did, and it was the best decision for us at that time.
I walk my kids to and from school every day and when they are sick I nurse them during the day and take them to the doctor if needed. When they aren't in school, they are with me. I do the kids homework and reading with them everyday. Most of my friends are a group of like-minded women I met at school and we do breakfasts and ladies night ever so often. I am on the PTA for both kids' schools. The house is cleaned daily so that we can spend our weekends playing together as a family. We occasionally eat out about once a week, if that, the rest of the time we eat healthier meals, many of the ingredients from our garden. I miss my parents tremendously. We only have one car so sometimes I either have to get a cab or bum a ride from my friends. We make less money and have had to scale WAY back, including the size of our house which is less than half the size we had before.
Now, I am much happier, hardly stressed, rarely overwhelmed, and am tired for the right reasons. I don't have the horrible back pain that I used to and no longer look for a way to escape my life as I have found the life I didn't know that I wanted.
There are days that I get bored with doing the same things, and days where I miss being valued as an employee and earning some money, but they are far outweighed by finally having peace of mind. I'm still a horrible procrastinator and am longing to get back into crafting and making time to do some scrapbooking. I thought I would have a lot more time to do things, but it turns out I'm busier than ever. This week I really marvelled at how many things we did that we normally would not have had time to do. We went to the park, I attended Joci's assembly, I volunteered at a PTA meeting, and we painted some Americana pictures for our upcoming party.
For me, being a stay at home mom has been a tremendous gift for our
family, one that Jon has worked hard to make happen, and I truly
appreciate his hard work and sacrifice to do this for us.