Tuesday, April 28, 2015

5 Reasons to Stay at Home When Kids Get Older VS. When They're Babies.

The Headlines:


A child will always need their Mom.


But if you had to choose - when would you stay at home?

Right away or a few years later?

Here's why maybe it should be later than you'd think...



**In honor of the Mother's Day coming up I'm going to do a series of "Mom-centered" stories this week and next.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I like writing them!




I've heard so many Moms say, "I'll go back to work when the kids are all in school full time..." but is that the best idea?


When I was a young girl, lots of my friends Moms, worked.  So, they were always surprised to come my house after school and see my Mom - there.  And while I yearned to have my Mom in those high powered suits and heels, they yearned to sit down on their own couch and have a conversation... with their Mom.

Isn't it ironic?

Childbirth.  It's a lot.  Your body goes to the brink and back.  Those babies are big... coming out of a small hole... it hurts.  It tears you up.  Literally.  Not to get too graphic but most of us have to get stitches after the whole ordeal.  I did.  You too, huh?  I knew child birth was going to be hard on that day... I'd seen all those movies and TV shows with those screaming, reckless, psycho ladies trying to get their children out.  It didn't scare me... it prepared me.

But what no one really prepares you for is what happens after...  yea, no one talks about the day you go home and there's no more nurse or drugs or cafeteria.  It's just you trying to figure out everything - but - you can't even walk.  I was unable to walk like a normal person, I'd say for about 2 weeks.  Going to the bathroom?  That was only the scariest thing ever.   Worse than anything, because you feel like your insides are literally going to fall into the toilet.  And breastfeeding.  It takes over your life.  You feed that new little bundle what, like, 10 times a day?  As soon as you're done, they go to to the bathroom, you change them... then play for a bit and they sleep (if you're lucky) for a few minutes.

It's right about now you Thank God for maternity leave but, for most of us, it's only 3 months.  At the end of that time you look at that little bundle and think... I can't hand my baby over to someone else to care for him/her, they're too tiny.  NO WAY.

But I did.

Here's why:



1 - Babies lives are simple
When your baby is little, they obviously need someone to love and care for them.  But that someone can be you... or it can be someone else.  If you have to go to work, they will miss you but they're really not going to know the difference (arguably) too much.  Not yet, anyways.

My daughter was perfectly content with her caretaker but as she got older, I saw the growing need for me to stay home for both of our sakes.  I decided by the time she entered kindergarten - staying home with her would be a huge priority.  Certainly much more important than my job.

2 - New Moms need a break  
Your life, when you head home from the hospital is completely rocked for the first several months.  The days go by in one giant blur... sure you're happy but you're overwhelmed, exhausted and confused too. When I went back to my job after 3 months leave... honestly... it was much more relaxing than the constant craziness that is new motherhood.  It also gave me time to run errands, get a pedicure, do my old "normal" things... which was very needed since life had changed so drastically.  My job helped almost ease me into motherhood which, inadvertently, became a small blessing.

3 - Experience the "Working Mom" side
When I became a Mom, I knew I had to try the high heeled working Mom thing.  It was everything I thought I wanted to be so many years ago.  Since my Mom never worked after I was born, it was important for me to prove that I could.  For some reason, I really wanted to know what it was like... so someone watched my daughter as I reported on the morning show at an NBC affiliate in Phoenix, AZ.  While it was "easier" and more relaxing in the beginning... it became more difficult as time went by.  The balance was tough, I got sick constantly, the schedule was a pain, I wanted holidays off, I yearned to be there for my daughter, home and husband while I was at work.  Today,  I sit knowing what the "other side" is like... and I appreciate the view from here even more.  If I would have quit right away, I would never have known.  I would have taken "staying at home" for granted, maybe even resented it a bit.  Now, everyday I'm here feels like a blessing.   When I have a tough day - I imagine it on top of a job and I exhale... for this day wasn't so bad after all!

I know... because I did both.

4 - A Child's life is complicated
As kids get older and start school (kindergarten or 1st grade)... there's just more to handle.  Between homework, extracurriculars, dinners, driving from here to there, friends and emotions... it's the roller coaster that is life.   They need someone on top of all of that or they can quickly and easily self destruct.  It's a very ripe time.  I know it seems backwards but I swear kids need their Moms attention more as they grow, it doesn't diminish, quite the opposite, it gets stronger than ever.

5 - Teens will never admit it - but they do NEED you
Junior High/High School is a rough time for almost every person.  There are serious issues that need to be talked about and sorted through... teens won't wait for you to get home... they will talk when they want.  If you're not there, the moment is lost... the opportunity is gone.  You go to work and they'll say "cool" but silently inside what they may think is... do I matter?  Your presence assures them that they do.  If you're not there when they need you... everyone loses.

Pause.

I'm not a psychologist, I'm just a regular Mom like you.  And I do know everyone has a different situation, I know there's no magic formula and no "right" answers in motherhood.  I am fully aware some women have to work for money, that some don't have choices and I AM AWARE THAT A CHILD NEEDS THEIR MOM DURING EVERY STAGE OF THEIR LIFE.  I would never say differently.  But what I am saying is: if you have to choose... CONSIDER working when they're babies and staying home later.

In the end, do what's right for you... but know parenting hardly stops when school starts... it just gets harder and the stakes are way higher.

I got it!!!  We can all go back to work when they're in college.  You'll have scads of time then... and the only thing they'll need from you at that point... is cash.

It's such a personal decision but what do you think?  Stay at home earlier, later, never or always?




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