Back to work or stay home with the kids?

If you’re already a mommy, about to be a mommy or still planning on becoming a mommy; this question is going to pop up at some point or another, and believe me, it will be a major decision to make for most people.

This is the question of becoming/staying a Stay at Home Mom, Working from Home Mom or a Working Mom.

Each one has their own pro’s and con’s and I want to try and highlight these here, to try and help you make the decision.

There is no right or wrong way to go about this. Every situation, household, and person is different and one does what one has to, based on so many factors in ones own life. Whichever you choose to do, or being forced to do, as long as it is in the best interest for your family, then don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.

I’ve held all 3 of these titles and this is what a typical day looks like. Do keep in mind, these days are relating to how it applies to me and my family…

Stay at Home Mom:

(Day with a 5-year-old and an 11-month-old…)

Your job/work is never ending. N.E.V.E.R!!

On a good day, you get woken up, most of the time, not by an alarm set the previous night, but by a little body that needs you. Breakfast to be given, change of clothes, cleaning a dirty nappy, getting the older kid his breakfast and dressed for school, teeth brushed, hair combed and looking somewhat presentable and out the door in time for them to catch their ride to school. If you have a baby that is still stationary or that it playing by himself for a while, it does give you a few minutes to clean the house; dust, mop, wash and the dreaded IRONING, or just have some coffee that is still warm! And trust me, the washing and ironing never stop! As soon as 1 load is dry and ready to be ironed, another load needs to be washed and yes, there is that previous load that has been lying there to be ironed for a few days now. If baby is roaming around and exploring, this routine changes to run after them, help them down from climbing onto the coffee table, cleaning up whatever mess they’ve made; all while trying to clean in between all the shenanigans being done by said baby. Don’t even try to pick up the toys just yet… they’ll soon lie all over the floor again, in any way. Constantly remember to keep a watchful eye as the Little Explorer does get up to mischief if you’re out the room for 2 minutes. Think about what to make for supper and take the frozen things out the freezer as early as possible. Put baby down for a nap – takes a good 20 – 30 min on good days. While they’re napping, maybe go take a pee or get 1 thing/room cleaned. I won’t even blame you if you snooze with them for a bit. If they’re eating solids, remember to give them a snack here and there too. Just because you’re not hungry, doesn’t mean they don’t need it. Somewhere in all of this, remember to brush your own teeth and wash your face. I would tell you to get out of your yoga pants too, but they’re too damn comfy and if I’m not going out the day, then I will stay in them even sans bra.

Alright, morning complete.

The older child has returned home from school. Lunch needs to be given, homework has to be done and child changed out of school uniform. Just these 3 things have previously sometimes taken us 2-hours to do. This in between picking up said baby that has now woken up and is petrified of the floor, as if it will engulf him in hot lava wanting some extra cuddles. Once done, somehow start making the supper with said terrified baby on the hip or if lucky, open the cupboard door with all the Tupperware in and allow them to decorate your kitchen floor with lids and bowls of all shapes and colors; it’s excellent exercise for you too so jump around, missing these objects and of course, the baby.

Remember to give another snack to all kids in the house. They go loopy when they’re hungry. Possibly break up a fight or two between siblings as the older one does not want the baby to play with that car. Switch the TV on for a few minutes to get something done. Assist baby that has gotten stuck under a table/chair and who’s entire world is now crashing down on him. Did you forget those snacks? It’s not too late to give them… If Baby is down for (another) nap, whip up that supper asap. Work in stealth mode so they don’t get woken up from all the banging of pots and chopping of food.

Oh dear me…. it’s 16:30 already… Did I have lunch? Can’t recall…

Another 2-hours to go before the husband gets home. The older child needs to get supper (a good 30 min to get him to eat) and good luck getting that TV switched off first. Drama, drama, drama… Hold baby that is now trying to fling himself out of your arms to crawl onto the table to get to his sibling’s supper. Fine! More than half the food was eaten… Off to bath. Ensure toilet lid is closed because baby will put hands in it. Get the older child into the bath and clean. Brush those teeth and into bed. Read a bedtime story and start the negotiations, bribery and await Momster to come out to get kid to stay in bed. Once out the room, set up for the baby to have his supper. (Yes, older kid needs to be in bed before baby, cause he has to get up at 5:30 am to get ready for school.) Once baby is finished with supper, clean him and his surrounding area from all the food he’s messed. The hubby should be back by this time, upon which you can do a gentle hand over so he can bath said baby, giving you time to clean up all the messed food, if not finished yet, dish up for your suppers, pick up the Tupperware in the kitchen as well as all other toys still lying about. Next up, get baby to sleep and have own supper. Enjoy an hour or so of peace and quiet with some catching up of what’s going on in the outside world and then move yourself to go shower and sleep. Wake up a few times during the night for either a feed, consoling of a nightmare of the older kid or just to be told that the older kid wants to pee or that he can’t find his teddy. All of this doesn’t even include the trips to the shops to stock up on any items…

And then repeat. Ev.e.ry.day, including weekends, although you get more help then, if the hubby isn’t working.

Work From Home Mom:

(Day with a 5-year-old and an 11-month-old…)

Your job/work is never ending. N.E.V.E.R!!

This is pretty much the same as above, PLUS:

You have to spend time on whatever work you have to do. Read and send emails. Do phone calls. This usually gets done while baby is napping or happily playing by himself. Get all dolled up with appropriate clothes and make-up, if you have to meet with someone or go out. Maybe do a drive or two, all with baby in tow, or worse, both kids. May result in a very grumpy baby as his routine goes out the door if you miss nap time by 30-minutes; and an upset child cause he wanted to play or relax at home. Supper making time gets cut short and you have to literally think of clever meals that can either just all be thrown into one pot and simmer until cooked or just do a breakfast meal for supper.

Working Mom:

(Day with a 5-year-old and luckily no baby at this stage)

You might have to wake up before all the birds are up. Even during summer, it’s still dark. You’re grumpy and half asleep. Getting dressed and ready in the dark in order not to wake the rest of the house, adds to the fun! The drive to work is infuriating due to bad drivers and people who think the entire road belongs to them. Yeah, sure, you have music to keep you entertained. Then you either get to work before all other people, which can be lonely but usually, it just means you can get more work done. Slowly throughout the morning, colleagues arrive. You might even be invited to go grab some coffee together. Meetings, scheduling things, paperwork, dealing with incompetent people, as well as other adult conversations take up the rest of your day. Your mind has worked and solved work related problems.

Once done for the day, you leave the office again to get stuck in some traffic heading home, testing your patience and skills as you try to navigate the back roads thinking it will make it easier and quicker – it doesn’t. You finally reach the school to pick up the kid and your day seems brighter as you listen to all the things that were done at school. You reach home to start on the supper-making, eating and bath routine.

A few hours to spend with the hubby and then you want to be in bed again as you are already counting down the hours until your alarm will go off again.

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So there you have it! Is one better than the other? Only you can decide. Do you have to stick to only 1 for the rest of your life? Of course not. Will the above be exactly like that for everyone? No, this is just based on my life/family.

One does what one needs to for ones own family. There are good and not so good points in each scenario. But you’ll have to decide what will work for you and then make it as good as you possibly can.

 

 

For right now, I am happy to just be a WFHM. I set my own times and work around my kids and what they need. Will see how the future develops and then adjust accordingly 🙂

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Confessions of a stay at home mom…

I’ve held both Mommy-titles. With Bunny, I went back to work, half day when he was almost 5 months old and now with Monkey, I’m a stay at home mom (SAHM). So which one is easier? Do SAHM’S really have it that much easier? Do we really not work? Is “nothing” really the answer to the question of “What did you do all day?”

Here’s my theory, answers and confessions as a new SAHM:

1. Yes! I do climb back into bed once Mr. Bear leaves for work and Bunny has been dropped at school.
A snooze with Monkey for a few minutes is exactly what is needed to catch up on the minutes of sleep lost while nursing him during the night. Added that sometimes I do have an internal debate with myself on whether to catch up on some z’s or have some alone time. Lost sleep wins the battle most of the time.

2. Yes! I do lounge around and watch an episode or two of my series, while Monkey practices rolling, crawling and picking up toys.
It’s the only time I get to watch my things. So one or two, maybe three episodes is my daily fix and I usually do the ironing while watching it; so 2 birds, 1 stone!

3. Yes! I do go visit friends for coffee and sometimes stay there until I have to pick up Bunny from school again.
When most of your daily conversations are either with a preschooler and a baby or virtual ones over the internet, you really do need that face-to-face with another person. And although most of our conversations are around the kids and their shenanigans, it’s still nice and needed to be able to get out of the house.

4. Yes! I do sometimes only make chicken nuggets or fish fingers with smiley potato faces for lunch.
If there isn’t leftovers from the night before and Bunny has already had a sandwich for the day, the easy food gets made when I hear the “Mommy, I’m hungry.” According to me, it’s chicken and potato, which is a veg, and thus a good balanced meal, especially if I add some tomatoes and cucumber. And also, I’m not cooking 2 meals per day. This is not a hotel.

5. Yes! I do only start making supper at around 5 pm or so… it takes time for the meat to defrost. That’s my reason and I’m sticking to it! Ok and I also want it still warm by the time we eat supper. So it’s all legitimate reasons. Oh, also, I take some time to decide what to make with the package being defrosted.

6. Yes! When at home, I do wear very comfy clothes and have no bra on.
Apart from the fact that Monkey is still nursing and needs easy access to his goodies, I often have milk, food and spit on my clothes. My clothes need to be comfy as I’m up and down the whole time, picking up, setting down, rocking baby and on the floor playing. And to do that with skinny jeans and heels on will just not work for me.

7. Yes! Bunny does get to watch some of his tv shows after school.
Although now that school has started, he only gets an hour of TV. It’s also the time I use to make supper and it’s all educational shows, I promise. Wild Kratts, Magic School Bus, Super Wings and Justin Time are ALL educational. And just to kick things up, he sometimes gets a YouTube video on how honey gets made or the circle of life of a shark. This all depends on the day’s endless questions I get asked.

8. Yes! I do clean the house. Little by little each day so it doesn’t feel too much like a chore. Will the house pass a white glove test? Probably not. But it’s clean and livable enough. Secret? Every day I do one thing; one day for dusting, one day for ironing, one day for floors, one day for bathrooms. Granted, everyday I use the silver maid for dishes and the kitchen is always clean. Bunny has to clean his own room and pick up his own toys and Monkey’s toys all get thrown into 1 big box before he goes to bed, so that’s all sorted.

9. Yes! I do feel like running out the door as soon as Mr. Bear walks into the house. By 18:30 I’d had enough little ones hanging on me, draining my energy and sucking every bit of patience out of me.

10. Yes! I do sometimes think of being a working Mommy again.
When you’ve got a career, you get to leave your kids for a few hours. Although you might not be around for the first crawl, walk, word; when you get to experience it for the first time, it is still YOUR first time. I mean, Monkey’s first roll over from back to tummy, he did during his sleep. I didn’t see how he did it. I only found him on his tummy and was like “WTF, how’d you get there?” With a career, you get stimulated conversations and even some down-time when you have to do some work by yourself.

So what do I do while Bunny and Mr. Bear are away from home? From the above, it does seem like I don’t do much. But trust me, I’m busy the.whole.time. My days are a blur and at night, as I reflect on the day, I rarely have a moment of “Wow! I was so bored!”

Would I change my circumstances?
No I don’t think so. Not yet, at least. I love the fact that I get to pick Bunny up from school and find out how his day was. And that I can be a safe terminal for both boys, all the time. I am absolutely exhausted by 18:00 and am ready to lock myself in the cupboard with a bottle of vino… something I only wanted to do if there was a big argument at work. I do find being a SAHM more draining and emotionally and physically more challenging. You constantly have to help the little ones with their outbursts and not knowing how to handle their emotions and you have to stay calm as much as possible and see them through it, as compared to a workplace, where you can tell someone to “sod off”, put ear phones in your ears and blast the volume while wrapping up a report. And then you still have to be the cleaner, cook, butler and chauffeur, as well as the coach, teacher and guidance councilor.

Whether you’re a SAHM, a WFHM (work from home mom) or a working mom, we all have our ups and downs, things that might be easier or harder to do as well as things we envy from the other. But most of all, we are all doing the most and best of our situation. Keep strong Mommies!!
xxx