When my son was born, there was no question in my mind that I wanted to be a stay at home mother. My husband and I placed a lot of value in the tradition of at-home parenting that we knew from our own upbringing, and very fortunately (trust me, I don’t undervalue this!) I had the job flexibility as a Massage Therapist that allowed me to take on this new role, full force.
The nature of my work allowed me to still practice my craft when and if I wanted to, on weekends or an evening here and there, while still being at home with my wondrous new baby full-time during the week. It was both liberating and challenging but seemed to give me the “balance” we all so deeply crave in this season of motherhood. Perfect, right!?
So, upon the arrival of our second beautiful baby, I naturally assumed I would do the same. But, as anyone who’s had multiple children knows, each time you add an additional human to your family, it’s a game-changer. And it’s DIFFERENT. Every. Time.
We are different, our bodies are different, each child is different, feelings are different, and our family make-up is different. It’s a whole new world. Forreal. Thanks, Princess Jasmine. And for me, the second-go-around, full-time at-homing was no longer the best fit for our family.
In a previous post, Margo calculated the value of a stay at home mother at a whopping $162,581 per year. I mean, Yea! The work ain’t easy. The constant at-home workload became too much for me, annnd since my check for $162,581 never did come in (ahem) we started to find ourselves more and more in debt. So, for this and many other personal and emotional reasons, the time felt right for me to go back to work. And you know what? So far, it rocks. I have found the place that works for ME in motherhood, and I am thrilled that I made the move to go back to work.
Now, I know this is a VERY personal and important decision so let me stop here to say,
these are all MY PERSONAL FEELINGS. My personal experience. My life. My family. There is absolutely NO judgment here. Nor is it to be taken as such. Every single one of us is rocking motherhood how WE need to. In that context, here’s a list of five reasons why I am thrilled I decided to go back at work. I decided to share this list because I wrangled with a lot of big emotions in making this choice, and hope that by sharing my experiences, I can inspire anyone out there that may be feeling guilt, doubt or fear about making this decision. If I can, you CAN!
5 Reasons I Went Back to Work
- Personal Fulfillment Goals: If you’re like me, struggling financially can spin your control issues, well, out of control. The financial strain I felt as a SAHM became an ongoing internal debate between #yolo and practical spending where nobody won. And it was IN-TOL-ER-ABLE. Contributing financially to our family is a big personal fulfillment goal of mine, and reaching this has given me peace of mind and helped me kick my “lack-of-retirement-fund” anxiety.
- Work Day Changes: Brutal honesty here. Staying at home for me, IS more than a full-time job. An often thankless one at that. I often felt like a constant emotional breakdown/sibling-battle referee that was trying to be positive while not breakdown myself from “hanger” and multi-task about 100 other things simultaneously. I have found that a little change of scenery and change in workload allows me to better appreciate the beautiful chaos that is my home in a way that I couldn’t when I felt like I was drowning in it. And, coming at those sibling rivalries with somewhat fresh eyes has allowed me to have a calmer approach to my refereeing duties, too. Win.
- Enjoying my Family’s Company: I work four part-time days a week now, and because I have great schooling and daycare options (I feel so blessed for this) I am able to pick up smiling and happy children after work. When we get home I’m legitimately EXCITED to be around my kids, which is something I definitely took for granted when I was home with them all-day, every-day. Being out of the home provides me with a “break” from my children that I need to stay balanced, a “break” that I so often sought from my husband when he came home. These days, I can’t wait to spend time with them and him because they feel like “home” to me.
- Sharing our life lessons: Since my son is now in school, he shares more with me now than he ever has before. I feel, after the workday, that I am refreshed by his goofy behavior, his ability to pop-and-lock at the drop of a hat, and I LOVE that I get to take them to their respective after-school activities while sharing stories about my day as well. As a full-time at-home parent, shuttling the kids to and from their various activities had become to feel like an act of obligation to me, but it has now become a true source of joy, bonding, and sharing life lessons.
- Working Makes Me Feel Human: Deciding to be a SAHM for 7 years was my choice, a choice that I was very, very lucky to have, and I know that. But, struggling with identity was huge for me. I let motherhood take over, and lost myself in the mix. I struggled with postpartum depression, body image issues, and an overwhelming sense of solitude. Sure, I went to mothering groups, I did the gym, and I did all the venting to others, but what I was missing was that part of me that enjoyed working. I can now, be confident in my decision to resume reworking with no guilt what-so-ever because it makes me a better version of myself. And that is priceless. For me, and for my kids.
“At the end of the day, I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life.” -Janice Wolsey Baasgaard
So, when you feel the “Mom Guilt” kick in about daycare expenses, or spending the time away and not witnessing first steps or words, just know that you’re not alone. Each individual has their place, their time, and their way to feel fulfilled. We’ve got this, ladies.
Much love always…..
Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, energy worker, and mom of 2 awesome kids in Virginia.