Monday, April 15, 2013

Can I switch sides on the teeter totter?

Raise your hand if you have ever been caught up in a 'working mom versus stay at home mom' debate? I am sure most of us have been there.  I have talked with moms before who are extremely passionate on one side of the teeter totter or the other.  In my experience, all I can say is that every mom is different and all kids are different.

Personally, I have been at home with my daughter for the past 6 1/2 years.  However, I was never an intentional stay-at-home mom. Never.  I fully intended on working. My mindset was,  "I spent 5 years years in college full time while working full time. Those blood, sweat and tears are NOT going to waste!"  My dilemma came when I got pregnant.  At the time I was working at a day care center as a one year-old teacher and often times as the Interim Director (nothing to do with my degree by the way).  As most moms know, the cost of day care is sky high.  If I were to return to work postpartum, I would have basically worked with nothing left of my paycheck to show for it. After our daughter was born I had a few interviews- for jobs actually related to my degree in Communications.  However, I would NEVER recommend to anyone to go on interviews immediately following childbirth. Why?  A tired, cranky yet blissful mommy going into an interview does not go over well. My mind was somewhere else. Leaving my baby for the FIRST time to go into an interview was hard. I think to the interviewer I had "I don't want to be here" written on my forehead.  One interview went great but at the end when they said "Oh, this job requires 50% travel"....I walked away defeated. How can a mom do 50% travel with a newborn?!  

My decision was in my heart all along. I admit, it was hard at first. From the time I was 15, I always had a job. I get restless. I thrive on deadlines and stress. I love adult conversation and going to lunch with co-workers.  Now I was alone during the day with the focus of my life completely shifted. Don't get me wrong- I loved it- still love it to some degree.

I was able to do what many moms crave and wish for everyday.  I have been grateful for my wonderful husband for working hard so I could stay home. Sometimes it hasn't been easy. Living on one income can be stressful. There are other frustrations that come with the good: lack of accomplishments to call your own, less adult conversation, not making money to help the family, and feeling like the house is often closing in on you.

There are perks to being a stay at home mom too (I am not solely trying to be negative in this post): beautiful weekdays spent at the park or on walks, being there for all the 'firsts', having time to teach, less stress,  consistent discipline/praise,  listening to giggles and laughs everyday, feeling like you are your own boss, and too many others to name.

However, when my only child goes off to Kindergarten, it is time to fly the coop and finally do something for myself.  That is why I named my blog "Something to Call My Own".  My daughter is my world, but I realized that I can have more in my world. I can be more than just a mom. Should we have more children (which hasn't been God's will and not an easy road), I still feel it is time for me to switch sides on the teeter totter.  On the other side of the teeter totter sits my degree...waiting patiently to be used. 

Overall, I believe there is no right or wrong.  As long as you are involved in your child's life, you put them first, you discipline, you praise, you love, and you try to be the best mom you can be, then your children will well adjusted, caring members of society.  As moms, we are in it together, not divided. 


  1. I know this feeling. I struggle regularly with not contributing enough to our family... and also with having something I can feel I've accomplished. You're right. There is no right or wrong, but boy sometimes people sure want to tell you differently. Thanks for writing this. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog! Yes, it is nice to know we are not alone. Being a stay at home mom is like a roller coaster. Some days I love it and others I hate it.

  2. I stayed with my first son (7 years old) for nearly 2 years at home then I went back to work part time so I can have something to myself and still enjoy him. When he started kindergartner I worked full time. Now I have a newborn who is 7 weeks 2 days today, and I am planing on staying home with him for at least 2 years. Then I will definitely go back to work. I firmly believe that unless you have someone you can trust your baby with such as your own mother, then it is not worth it taking him/her to daycare at an early age, because they just don't get the same care they would from you. But then I always keep in mind moms who can't afford to stay home and I pray for them and admire their compromise.
    Great post Jennifer and I thank you for bringing up such a sensible subject.
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