Why becoming a stay at home mom was the right decision… for me
I had worked for the State of Colorado, in some form or another, for 16 years. I had started in high school and continued all through college and after I had graduated. Working, in general, was just a huge part of who I was. I had always had a job, been a proud/hard worker, and particularly enjoyed all of the great people I got to work with over the years. So when I was faced with the big question of “should I become a stay at home mom with my boys or go back to work?” I struggled. Looking back, it was both the hardest and easiest decision I’ve ever had to make.
The “Mom” Factor
The first thing that swung me to being a stay-at-home mom was the fact that I REALLY wanted these boys! I really wanted to be their mom! I wanted them more than I’ve wanted anything in my life! More than I wanted the Barbie pink dream house with spiral staircase, or a puppy, or that stupid boy in high school who always just thought of me as “one of the guys”; more than all of those things combined.
My husband and I had struggled for 4 years to get pregnant and the last procedure that we tried was going to be it. If at least one of those two embryos didn’t stick, we weren’t going to be able to have kids of our own. We were going to have to move on to the next step. So when we found out that we were pregnant and that BOTH of the embryos implanted… I don’t think I will ever be able to fully express how happy we were. The word for what we felt just doesn’t exist in the dictionary. Because of that sheer elation, I didn’t want to miss a single moment of their lives. I was going to stay home.
The Ego Factor
But wait! My job! My career! I’d been working for so long and the managers were noticing me and what a great job I was doing. The work I was doing was really important and I was helping citizens throughout the state work better with their government. How could I leave that? I had been given a title with “Director of” in the name. That’s huge. My bosses were talking to me about the next steps and I was being given more responsibility. If I left now, I might have to start all over again when I did decide to come back. I can’t go through all that again! I was going to go back to work.
The Financial Factor
Did you hear that Colorado has the second-highest daycare costs in the country? Second only to New York!? Well, I can believe it after the brief research I did on infant day-care and nanny-care. I was shocked and totally freaked out when I saw some of the numbers these places were charging and those were only for one baby! I was having two! Sure, some places offered a “second child discount,” but it was usually around 10%. Not enough to really help. I calculated that I would be turning over nearly my entire monthly salary to daycare. I would be handing over my paycheck to someone else, so they could raise my kids… that’s how I started thinking about it and it made me crazy. We were luckily in a good enough place financially, that I even had the option to think about staying home. Yes, there were going to be some tighter reins on the budget, but we could make it work. I was going to stay at home.
The “Bored” Factor
I heard from several friends, some with kids, some without, that they thought I was going to be “bored” if I stayed home. They made comments about how much different it was going to be. How I was going to run out of things to do. That I wasn’t going to have anyone to talk to. This last statement was the one that really freaked me out. I am a social person and that aspect of my life is important to me.
My husband, Mark, and I used to carpool home and on the way, we had this little ritual. Before we would launch into some story about some ridiculous thing that had happened at work that day, we would share the best part of our day. “What was the best part of your day, babe?”, Mark would say to me. “Well, let’s see… at lunch I was sitting with everyone at the lunch table, telling them about [insert funny story here] and they all laughed.” I thrived in that environment. I was funny or witty or sarcastic or entertaining and I loved it. It was the best part of my day!
I wasn’t going to be that anymore. I was going to be home all day with little people who would be primarily entertained by fart sounds (by the way, the key to a good fart sound is to make a good seal). That would drive me crazy, wouldn’t it? Or would those be the best kind of laughs I could ever receive? I was going to be entertaining MY kids. How could that be boring? I was going to stay at home.
Is That Your Final Decision?
It really was a difficult decision with many issues swaying me this way or that, but I am happy that I made the decision to stay home. My kids are my world and their happy, needy, shiny faces are all I need at this time in my life. And I keep reminding myself that one day, things will change and the boys will start to not need me as much and I can make another decision about whether I should stay or go…
Now, quick survey, how many of you have “Should I stay or should I go,” by The Clash stuck in your head? Sorry, not sorry! Great song! “If I go there will be trouble! If I stay there will be double…”