Thursday, January 24, 2013

Working Mom, Stay at Home Mom

This week I have been filling in while someone is gone at work and getting a little taste of a more full time working mom life.  It has gotten me thinking a lot about working mom versus stay at home mom...something that gets a lot of debate and judgement on both sides.  I have been very fortunate to have the worlds most understanding employers and have worked a very part time, flexible schedule since Ava was born.  If every mother could have a boss like mine (and husband) there would be no more debate.  I get the best of both worlds.  I often wonder why there is so much judgment about the working mom versus stay at home mom.  Last I checked we were all on the same team of mamahood.  However, we don't live in a perfect world (if we did ice cream would be a health food and the ocean would be in Montana...right next to the Bridger Mountains).  I often feel like I identify more with the stay at home mom side and I feel very comfortable with that.  It certainly wasn't something I expected.  Oh, I had grand plans of taking a 6-week maternity leave and then going back to work and maybe cutting back just a little.  How very silly of me.  The moment I held Ava in my arms that was it.  I was done for.  Back to the having a good boss part, he was okay with me taking 3 more months off and then coming back only ten hours a week.  It's like I had finally found what I was meant to do.  And, even though it was the hardest thing, I was good at it.  Problem is, mamahood is not a career path.  Yes, I'll get to do it for the next 13-15 years fairly full time, but then I'll be a by-stander.  Watching to see if all the hard work and hours pay off as I watch my little birds leave the nest and test their wings.  And, just like there has been no pay for this 24-hour/day job there will be no retirement package when they leave.  Which is why it is nice to be a part time working mama.  Sort of like term limits for a politician...right now I'm in my second term but know I need something to fall back on when I'm done.  Having had the luxury to do both things, I see the pros's and con's to both.  I have gotten to experience everything with my girls by staying home with them.  First smiles, laughs, steps, days of school and will continue as the firsts keep coming...first loves, heartbreaks, proms.  I know them better than anyone and can tell just by the type of whine if Layla is tired, grumpy or getting sick.  I can tell by looking in Ava's eyes that she is nervous about something.  I love getting to be present for them and be the one they look to for answers, love and comfort.  I also know what a thankless job it can be.  How exhausting.  In the early days the sleepless nights, feedings and wondering how to get a baby to stop freakin crying.  The days of not bothering to get out of yoga pants because  the ones I had on already had spit up on them.  The days when I left the TV on all day so it felt like I had some company with me.  (It must be why I still think of the Kardashians as my long lost really screwed up family, I watched way too much of them during my sleep deprived days)  I know if I didn't have the escape to work during those days I may have gone crazy.  Going to work gave me a chance to have some adult interaction.  It gave me a chance to feel like I was useful for something other than running a household and wiping snotty noses.  It gave me a chance to contribute intelligently to conversations...things beyond what the kiddos did all day.  But, it's hard to be a working mom.  Getting a taste of working more this week made me realize just how exhausting it is.  Working full time you have to give it your all during the day and then still be the one to do the homework routine and get dinner on the table and leave a little energy for bedtime stories and snuggles.  I understand the guilt of a working mom...sending your child who's just a little under the weather to school with a dose of Tylenol because you have to get to work.  There is no right way to do this working mom/stay at home mom thing.  I'm happy with the balance I have found with it.  I also have a lot of respect for those who choose to stay home and raise babies as well as for those who choose to work full time.  When I see my happy girls, I know we're doing something right...
This is them playing one of their favorite games...mommy and baby.  And, yes that is Ava "texting" someone on her toy phone.  Hey...if she's gonna play mommy sometimes you gotta send a text or two.  They pack up diaper bags and strollers and each usually has at least two kids.  One has always "just been born" and one is a "two year old"  They wander room is their house, one is where they work, one is the babysitter so they can go to work and there is of course a park.  They go from place to place with their kids and do the mommy thing.  I love observing this.  My sisters and I used to play this sort of game also.  We called it playing "house" and it was a favorite.  Kori and I were talking about this last we used to play this all the time and now we are just living it.  I told her I thought it was pretty many people actually get to be what they want when they grow up?  We obviously wanted to be mamas and that is just what we are getting to do.  

Speaking of playing.  We took advantage of the early release day from school today to get in some cousin time...
Running to meet them at the bus stop
It's been awhile since we've hung out and the girls were missing their Kim and Greg.  Today the pack got back together and crammed a lot of playing into two hours.

On the way home Ava complained we had only been there for "like ten minutes"  I guess time really does fly when you are having fun.  

I suppose that's all for tonight.  I'm happy tomorrow is Friday, I am ready for a weekend.  The weather has been so me some spring fever like nobodies business.

Enjoy your Friday and Happy weekend to ya!

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