There’s a lot of debate in the world today over what (or maybe who) is better: stay-at-home mothers or working moms. I’ve been both so I think I have some pretty good authority on the subject. First of all, both are work. Somedays home is the easier job. Somedays being away from home is definitely easy.
So which is better? Here’s the answer. Neither.
That’s right. Neither is better than the other. It’s true. Either way you are sacrificing a major part of yourself, your family, your finances, your goals…..but isn’t that what being a mother is all about?
In the end, it’s about what’s better for you.
I have been blessed to have 9 weeks home with my new baby. Even better is that I have two older girls who have been in school for much of that time, so she and I have had lots of quiet times together. Even “more better” as my 4-year-old says is that I have had lots of extra time with all of them over these past two months.
But the “most better” thing has been having so many wonderful friends to share this journey with. There’s nothing like another mom to understand all the joys and frustrations of motherhood. Especially when that other mom also has a preschooler clinging to her legs and a baby on her hip.
After Madelynne was born I stayed out of full-time teaching and instead worked 4 afternoons a week at Sylvan Learning Center. Though I loved my time with her, I didn’t have a lot of mommy friends and we were contemplating a move anyway, so I didn’t feel led to find any.
I signed a contract to return to teaching full-time six weeks before we found out we were going to have Annabelle. She was well-timed for a teacher. Her March arrival meant I could take the remainder of the school year off and at the time, we thought I’d stay home again in the fall. But as much as I enjoyed my time with her, I was lonely for friends and adult conversation that wasn’t pre-recorded.
Returning to full-time work when she was 5 months old wasn’t too bad. We adjusted quickly and over the past four years I have loved my school and my ever-changing positions there. My girls have been loved and taught more than their ABCs by the sweet staff at Little Dreamer’s. We began to make lots of friends and to connect with so many others who were in this same place in their lives.
So I could really see myself at home with Amelia now, doing the actual stay-at-home thing of play dates and MOPS and grocery story runs in the early afternoon of a random Wednesday. My patience is ever developing and is somedays better than others (probably because I spend a lot of time reminding myself that one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control). The days no longer seem to drag by but are flying at a pace I can barely keep up with.
But the sacrifice I have to make right now for the ultimate good of my family is to return to work. I know this is definitely not “having it all”. I’m scared I won’t be able to handle it. I’m afraid I’ll resent my mother-in-law for her time with Amelia. I’m worried I’ll never be able to keep up with it all. Five weeks back and then summer vacation….and the fall?
We’ll see what the future holds. But at least I know Who holds it. The same One who will bring peace to my heart and provide for our every need.