Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm going back to work monday!!!!

Holy shit. Monday. 3 days away. I am SO very excited. SO excited.

Now. I love my children more than my own life. Thankfully I know not staying home with them doesn't mean I love them any less. In fact, I think sending my kids to daycare makes me a better mom ~and~ is very beneficial to my children.

I need to make a note here before going forward. I've had ~many~ conversations about this and some stay at home moms will always get upset with me and my opinions. They get very defensive and think that I am dissing their choice. They will inadvertently assume my positives of daycare are automatically negatives to their situation. But that is NOT my thinking. Just because I think daycare is better than staying home in certain ways, it does ~not~ mean it's bad for everyone. The negatives may not be negatives for someone else OR someone else may have a way to turn a particular negative into a positive. I'm taking the time right now to say this because over the years, I have seen this turn into a war. And a funny phenomenon I see during each "war" is it's always the stay at home moms (sahm) who get defensive and pissed, never the daycare moms (dm) from the arguments the sahms bring up (which unfortunately most always happens.) Hopefully this post won't turn into some big debate, but if it does, please debate YOUR side, don't just talk shit about the other side, okay?

Now, back to my opinions ...

First is the case of me being a better mom. Staying at home everyday is hard. Any mother will tell you this. It's definitely a full time job. But the career of being a stay at home mom is 24x7. Seven days a week. No weekends. No days off (for the most part). No sick days. No vacation days. You. work. every. single. day. You know how when you work M-F you can't wait for the weekend? And you feel refreshed come Monday? Yeah, when staying at home, I don't get that feeling. I end up being very reactionary. Reacting to everything.

There is rarely time to myself because there is always something to do. Having three kids under 5 years old makes for a very large to-do list. But I'll admit, having just one child was pretty darned hard too. With one child, there is no one else for that child to socialize with. So it's all up to Mommy. Having another kid really helped out in giving me more freedom to do things I needed to get done.

I end up being spread very thin throughout the hours and being largely mediocre to my kids. I'm still a good mom, but without a break, I end up being very average. But when I go to work, I got 8 hours to be Nancy. The adult Nancy. The career Nancy. And I come home to my 2nd job REFRESHED. And you know what? When I'm working, I make it a point to make every moment I am home ~special~. I understand we get less time when I'm working. 40 hours a week less. But it's amazing at the difference in quality the hours I do have at home are. From the moment I get home until the moment they close their eyes for bed, I'm my children's MOM. We cook dinner together. We play. We read books. We giggle during tuck-in time. This just doesn't happen when I'm home all day. Since I am home all day, cooking dinner, bathtime and bedtime are just another one of a thousand things I do each day. The phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" really does apply here for me. (again, I'm not suggesting a sahm doesn't make everyday special for her children - it's just how it ends up being for ME.)

Secondly, I think daycare is good for my children. Without going into too much of the obvious, for the same reasons I think I'm a better mom for going to work, my kids are better kids after school. No, I don't mean my kids are better than stay at home kids. What I'm trying to convey is they are happier/less bored after spending a day somewhere else. The change of venue does them good. And of course this has a lot to do with them loving their school too.

Another reason I think daycare is good is for the socialization. Of course, a kid doesn't have to go to daycare to become social, but it certainly is a place which will give them the practice on a day to day basis. My girls are very easily integrated into new situations, as they will seek out new friends to play with. They ~never~ cry when I leave them with a babysitter either. It helps out in various ways for me too - like if I want to drop them off in the gym's daycare for an hour while I work out, there are no tears. They just see it as a new place to play. And again, I'm noting it doesn't take daycare to make a well socially adjusted child. I've seen plenty of sah kids be just as social and I've seen daycare kids never come out of their shells. Just in my own experience, my kids love daycare and are also very well adapted in most all social situations. Was it because of daycare? Most likely some of it was. I know that I probably wouldn't of been the best to revolve my stay at home life around playdates and whatnot, so for ~me~, daycare was invaluable.

I just wish I wasn't going to have to start writing that $2800/month check for daycare next week!!!

32 comments:

Jennifer said...

That's great - enjoy the next few days and good luck with your 1st week back. I remember going back to work after my maternity leave...it was refreshing. And even though I, of course, missed my son - that time away was much needed to keep mommy sane.

$2800 for daycare...holy crapola!

mommybird said...

I'm a SAHM and I totally agree. My kids do better for me when they've had a chance to get out, and I'm definitely better for them when I do to. i try tp be fun mom all day, but it's hard when that's what I do all day. DH works out of town so it doesn't help that it's all me ALL the time. I actually do a daycare at home too so that helps my kids have someone to play with, but I still get hungry for an adult to talk to.

Sarah R said...

I figured you were getting close to the end of your FMLA.

If you haven't checked my blog lately, you should! I'm taking Andrew 2-4 days a month to daycare so he can socialize with other kids. :)

the mol said...

Holy Toledo!! That's expensive!

I stay at home, not really by choice. My job, as you know, is cancer-mom. That's in addition to regular-mom stuff. I loved my job. It was fun and fulfilling. I loved being around my co-workers and I even loved being around the students.

On the other hand, when things are good at home, we have SUCH a good time and I know my son better than anyone except perhaps Daddy. I think that going back to work after all of this is done, when he'll be 3 and the other little guy will be 1, will be REALLY hard.

Poltzie said...

Being a SAHM is way harder than working full time but you are right, when you work full time you are spread pretty thin. I think I've found the perfect balance working part time (although we've been so sick lately that I haven't been to work in two weeks so I'm not actually sure about that).
I'm glad you're excited and I totally get that "Nancy" time! I also found that while I love being a mommy, I'm not just a mommmy and I really love my career so I totally hear ya!!

Jennifer said...

Hi again...it's great to meet you. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

As for the comment...I've been meaning to make that easier for people...but for now, if you click on the paper held up by the red thumbtack at the top of my post, it will take you to the comments section. Not the most obvious thing though, I know!

We're doing a stimulated FET...and abstaining (I have over 20 follicles that are big and scary right now - don't wanna end up like octomom). My lining looks good (14mm) and we have 5 blasts on ice...plan to transfer two next week. It's a stimulated cycle because that's what my RE prefers to do (and it worked to get my Julian last year). The needles are all annoying (especially since I won't be aspirating the eggs), but it's worth it if it works again for us. ET will be Mon or Tues - will find out from RN today.

I've been pulling for Stellan for a couple weeks now...he reminds me of my little man, and I can't imagine having to go thru something like that with Julian...Stellan has so many people praying for him to pull thru...it's pretty incredible!

Seriously? - Erin said...

Hi Nancy. I hate my job (long story) but part of me is looking forward to adult contact and conversation again. I knew being a SAHM was never going to be the right choice for me but I wish working part time were an option.

I think that day care is something good and Colin will be going three days a week when I head back to work in June (?).

areyoukiddingme said...

In some ways, I would be better as a SAHM, because I am all about time. I have to get to work on time, which means we have to leave on time, which leads to much hurrying of my little dawdler. Then, I'm not so happy with myself, because I feel like I'm being mean to her, by not letting her stop to do the things she wants to do. Time is too much a factor in my life. That being said, this morning we still had time for her to "sweep" the floor after breakfast, and I think it's probably good for her to learn to gather the things she really needs before she leaves. (I didn't have time to go back and get her rainbow sticker from the previous day...clearly necessary for the 20 minute ride to daycare).

On the other hand, I would be worn down with the 24/7 mommy job, with no challenges besides temper tantrums and answering endless why's and much less interaction with other people. On top of that, between breastfeeding and daycare, I think my daughter will be a very healthy girl. Her immune system has got to be top notch.

It is a difficult choice. I agree with Nancy that more often it's the SAHM who tend to be judgemental of (hmm, what to call us? Not working because we all work, how about self-supporting? Career? Paycheck?) Work-outside-the-home moms. There are benefits on both sides of the equation and drawbacks on either side also.

Nancy, enjoy your return to work!

Heather and Jase said...

How did I miss putting this on my blog list? It's done now!

I am a SAHM and am not at all offended by working mothers unless they bag on SAHM's and say how "easy" it is. You know better lol!

(Hugs)

JamieD said...

I agree with you 100%. My only reason for wanting to be a SAHM is selfish - not getting up at 5am and dragging both myself and the kid to the appropriate places.

I ~need~ adult interaction. Plus the socialization for the kiddos. My mom stayed home with me and looking back, I LOVED it. But to this day I am overall timid and shy and have a terrible time making conversation with strangers. I can't help but think that has something to do with it.

Steph said...

Being a SAHM or a DM is a personal choice--it all depends upon the person.

I have been both, and I enjoy being a SAHM waaaay better. But I hated my job, too. LOL

Being a SAHM has been interesting. DH doesn't work traditional days/hours, so it has helped us spend more time together as a family, and as a couple.

I used to always say, "If I get to be a SAHM my house will be clean ALL THE TIME".

~snicker~

Steph
stephs_3_kidz

Jen said...

As a newly minted working mom, I totally get ya. I too was happy to go back. And while I am not a daycare mom, I definitely understand the benefits. When Jillian is a little older I will definitely want her to either go to daycare part-time or pre-school in addition to hanging out with her grandma all day.

I can't quite understand why people get so riled up about this topic. It seems obvious to me that there are advantages and disadvantages in every situation and what works for some doesn't work for others. That is why it is so great to have choices!

Becky said...

I agree with you completely! I am a SAHM and feel like once I start working again, I will have a little bit of an attitude adjustment. Right now everything is so routine. Even mixing up the routine is routine!!! I put my daughter in daycare for 4 months -- she went every morning from 7:30-12:30. It felt really nice to have her socializing and give me some time to do ANYTHING not child related! Just having a few hours of ME time a day made such a huge difference to me, and she loved seeing her buddies and her dcp. Anyway, I just wanted to chime in and say I agree with you! :)

serenity said...

I HEART this post. You say everything I have thought about being a working mom. Good luck with your first week back at work!

Beautiful Mess said...

I did both and I think both "sides" have benefits. For me, working outside the home was SO difficult. When I took the kids to work with me, though, I liked it a lot better. I got my "break" and they were socialized. I can see the benefits of having Nae in daycare when she was little and not having Zilla in daycare. She was WAY more ready for kindergarten then he was. I'm glad you're happy with your choice. I hope you have a WONDERFUL Monday!

Jenera said...

I completely understand your points. For me, I'm okay with being a SAHM. However, it can wear on you and I know those feelings when I just want to step away from my kids. And you are right that it does nothing for either of us. I need breaks. My situation is a bit different from most SAHM's but I've adapted. I now have my photography and other things that allow me to separate from being just a mom. But I don't care if a mom works in the home, out of the home, or not at all. As long as everyone is happy and healthy I don't care.

Krista said...

I am an employed mom - full time. I hated going back to work after my maternity leave, but I think a lot of that had to do with taking less than 7 weeks off. (FMLA does not apply to all employers, nor to every employee.) I was also an unproductive pumper, and so pumping stress tainted my first year back. After that, things got much better for me.

My daughter stays with my in-laws. She has two doting adults with her all day long. Some days she gets a bit of the early morning or late afternoon with her cousins too. They take her everywhere they go - to the doctor, the store, the bank, the church...etc. She is a social butterfly.

I do feel like time is always pressing, and that I don't like. I think I'd honestly be happier working part time, but working full time is the option I need right now (with my DH working in the auto industry, his job is not stable). And I agree, when I get to pick up my girl, I'm happy to see her and go out of my way to make our evenings fun and full of together time.

emilythehopeless said...

good luck tomorrow :)

Melissa said...

Congrats about the new job!!

i'm a sahm. i can see both sides. to each their own :) always depends on the person and family situation

ak said...

I've been on both sides of the fence.

With my first, I went back to work when he was 10 weeks old. I felt like I missed out on so much. When I first went back, I worked with a great group of folks, and I got to leave at a decent hour, so it was OK. Later on, I transitioned to another department with people who were not as understanding, didn't have kids - their work was their life kind of people. I began to really dislike it after awhile. My son was cared for by family members, but when he was 2 1/2 he started going to daycare part time for the reasons you state; to interact with other kids, etc. He loved it. He's always been an independent child, so it wasn't a problem. And it made his transition to kindergarten that much easier.

This time around, I got laid off while preggo, and around the time my son was getting ready for kindergarten. I didn’t really continue to look for work, and stayed home for the remainder of my pregnancy. I am still home. I do not miss work! My little one is now almost 2 months old, and I plan to stay home as long as I can (continue collecting unemployment that is). I love being a "SAHM" (or am I just an unemployed mom?). I really did not love my old job, so that may be part of it.

What I love about being home is being able to give so much more of my time and energy to my kids and husband – people for whom I mean something – as opposed to some giant greedy corporation for whom I was just another face. I love being home when my oldest gets out of school; doing homework at a decent hour, not rushing to do it after getting home from work while cooking dinner etc. I love being able to go to all the little school functions and just get more involved. (Of course, some of this has changed since baby arrived). And of course, I am loving every minute with baby girl.

It is a lot more work, yes. But I also find that I like having the extra time to be with the hubby also. I have more time to do things for/with him as well.

There have been moments where I miss getting dressed in my business attire, going to work, the whole office socializing thing, etc. Oh yeah, I do miss the extra money; I got to get more things ‘for me.’ But given the choice, I'd rather be home. Or work part time in a field that I like better.

I also think a lot of it might have to do with the kind of friends one has. If you are the only SAHM you know, you will clearly feel more isolated and like it less than if you there are other moms like you that you can socialize with.

Just my experience. To each his own!

ak said...

Oh yeah, and good luck tomorrow in your new position! :)

higretchen said...

$2800 - for all 3 kids, right? I will be paying about that for two... Ugh! I agree with your post - I think being a SAHM would be fantastic in theory but I might not be able to handle it - it's a hard job and we need two paychecks. And, I totally agree about the daycare/socialization thing. People tell us we should look into a nanny b/c with twins, it might be cheaper (I still don't buy this but whatever) and my first thought is - I don't really want ONE person coming into my home raising my children - I'd rather a bunch of people with a bunch of other babies around... My only issue with making the choice to go back to work - and this is purely an emotional issue - is that I feel like I'll never see my kids. My husband has a more flexible schedule so will probably be the one to drop off and pick up - I leave earlier than he does and have a 45 min commute so come home much later.... then they'll go to bed. It's depressing to think about only seeing them maybe 2 hours/day. How do people do this? How will my kids know that I'm even their mother?? This question will haunt me my entire pregnancy....

Hollie said...

I hope you have a great week back at work. You should move to TX where daycare is super cheap, would probably be about $1000 per month...

I seriously thought you were crazy when you first wrote about being a bettter and happier mom when you are working, but after going back to work myself, I've learned that (for me at least), it's true. When I was home all day, I loved it, BUT, I found myself wishing Chesley would take a nap so I could have a break. Then when Nathan came home, I would make him hold the baby so I could have a break. I love my baby like you wouldn't believe, but moms need a little break. Now that I'm working (still part time 4 days a week) our baby time together seems more precious. I never want to put him down. I love every minute.

My son does stay at home with my SIL, but I think he will go to daycare when he gets bigger, and my niece is there, so he's not the only kid.

Thanks Nancy for helping me through the hard transition of going back to work. Your words TRULY inspired me and got me through it.

Jaime L. said...

I read your blog alot (thanks to Aggie and others!) but I just wanted to say that I was having a hard time going back to work on the 15th after having my 2nd daughter on 12/30/08. I KNOW I can't be a SAHM, but would work PT if given the opportunity but I have to say that I agree with every single thing you said. My time with my children is that much more special b/c I don't spend all day with them. I think the thing that bothers me is that after 16 weeks, another change is going to happen...no more sleeping in until 7 or 8 and no more letting my kids get up on their own. I did it once before and I can do it again but thank you for posting this, it helps to know someone else thinks like I do and it was almost comforting to read this.

Jennifer said...

I went back to work after a week off for Spring Break and I hated it. You'd think that I was leaving her for the first time! I love being home with my DD. Of course when I work I don't get lots of adult interaction either. I teach children all day. It's frustrating when the school kids are acting up because I can't help but think "my kid is MUCH easier than this" or "I can't believe I'm missing my child for these children." I like teaching (there are some really great kids), but miss my baby!

Heather said...

Good luck going back to work!!! I do keep getting asked if I'm coming back to work after the twins are born. We are planning on having someone be at the house everyday for the first two years, so that it's less expensive (it's family) and I won't have to cart two infants around before I can get to work. But I do want them to go to preschool. Our 8 year old daughter was in daycare/preschool from the time she was 3 months old and I thought it was great. I felt like she was so prepared to go to kindergarten as the last year was a PreK program.

But I have nothing against SAHMs. Actually now that my daughter is in elementary school I wish I could stay-at-home because I feel like she needs me so much now. Taking her to activities and having serious conversations about how to behave and things to watch out for. But if I did leave the corporate scene I'm in, I'd still like to be a yoga instructor.

Amanda said...

How dare you attack me!

Nah, just joking! ;-) I think it's great that you enjoy working so much. Your kids all seem to work really well with daycare, and that rocks. I think part of your girls great attitude and "integration" skills has to do with you and Tom. You make their time with you so great that I don't think there is a reason for separation anxiety. My sister's kid goes to daycare and does wonderful at daycare. When she's left with anyone else (including me, one of her favorite people int he whole world) she pitches an hour long fit after her parents leave. She also acts out at home. I think it has to do with the fact that when everyone is at home she's still not getting the attention and affection she needs form her parents (I've witnessed this).

"But the career of being a stay at home mom is 24x7. Seven days a week. No weekends. No days off (for the most part). No sick days. No vacation days. You. work. every. single. day." This is something that doesn't really hit home until you've actually stayed at home with the kids, that's for sure. Sigh.

Carrie Ann said...

I think everyone does what is best for them. I think you're amazing for balancing everything so well.

I am a SAHM but I have to admit that I am terrified when I go back to work full-time in a few years. In my field, I leave home at 7, come home after 7p.m. or later. With 2 kids, there is no time for me to cook a decent dinner, or spend some nice time with them before bedtime. And when would I get the housework done? Would our weekends be all housework and no family time?

I guess I'll deal with it when I need to..But I agree with you - I feel so much better after having a girl's night out or getting a break. That makes a better mommy.

Jennifer said...

I don't normally blog, but I was touched by all of your insight and want to express my situation as well. I am a SAHM. I have always been a SAHM. Before I even got married I knew that I wanted to be a SAHM if I had kids. I felt very strongly about it and felt that it was the best thing for it. When I did get married my husband felt the same way. Our first year of marriage we both worked and we decided to mostly live only on his income so that we wouldn't get accustomed to two incomes. We saved most of my income. After that year he felt called to seminary and so we moved across the country. I worked the first year to support us. During that year, I got pregnant unexpectedly. He was not done with seminary, but we were very committed to me staying home with our kids. You could say that I felt called by God to stay home. Anyways, it was just as strong a calling as his calling to seminary. So, he got a full time job as a Youth Pastor and continued to be a full-time student. Somehow, we managed to get through seminary and I didn't work outside the home at all. We were in a poor area and our church family was nice. We lived in the country so not having a lot of money wasn't as hard. Being a stay at home mom had its challenges, but I was committed to it and found ways to fend of the loneliness and all of that. So, I had another child, he graduated and we looked for another church. He got another church in our home state. It was in a more urban area and we thought the pay was great. Well we get here and after a year or so, we realize we are just as poor as before, but now we are in a much more costly area. What makes it the most terrible is that our level of income and lifestyle is way below that of our church members and my husband has a Masters degree. We have been here a little over 3 years. Like I said I never wanted to work with kids. I was successful before children and I like to work, I just didn't want them together. We have managed to hang on to me being a SAHM for 7 years. However, all that savings we had is gone and we are running up our credit card. There is no hope of my husband ever getting a raise at our church. Even if our church tripled in size, they don't give youth pastors a raise, they would just do something else with the money. They just don't pay us enough for me to stay home. I am kind of annoyed that Dr. Laura said on T.V. about he new book that not having enough money is not an excuse for women to go back to work. We can't pay our bills. I mean I guess we could never go out to eat or buy new clothes. We could only shop at goodwill and my children could never take dance or piano or gymnastics, but I just don't want that lifestyle. My family growing up was upper middle class and I never really went without. I think that I too was niave about how much money meant to me. The thing that gets me the most is not being able to afford lessons for my kids. Is that wrong. Does that mean I love money. My husband drives the most horrible tiny straight drive no power steering truck that you have ever seen. I mean we have given up things. But then I think we have so much compared to many places in the world. I don't know. I just can't take the financial stress anymore!

I am looking for a job. I have tried to find a preschool thing part time and nothing has turned up. Plus they pay like nothing. So, I was a teacher and I am looking for a job full time. I never thought that I would work full time with kids until they were atleast in school. My youngest is three and will be 4 soon. I just don't know if I can be successful as a working mom. I don't know how working moms do it. Plus, it's been so long since I worked. I'm not as confident. Anyways, I am looking for a job kicking and screaming. I have hung on and hung on and hung on. My husband has tried to go back to his former profession and he has tried to find a different type of ministry position. Nothing has turned up. I have cried and been mad at him and resented the rich poeple in our church who live it up and ignore the plight of their pastors. This is truthful and it stings. However, it is true. I have resented people more than I would like to admit. But ultimately it is not the church who is responsible for taking care of ministers, it is God. It'snot hard for him. He could rain down manna or money from the sky if he wanted to. So, why hasn't he? I'm beginning to think that maybe he wants me to work. Maybe, he knows something that I don't. Maybe, my kids would be fine in Daycare and afterschool care. Maybe it would be even better for them. I'm getting to the point where the financially stressed mommy is not a very good mommy anymore. I have come at it kicking and screaming, but I think I am going back to work.

Jennifer said...

I'm the one that just wrote the comment above. I know that it is lengthy but I also want to say that I am terrible scared of working with children. This is a huge thing for me to get over. I'm scared in so many ways. Any encouragement would be helpful.

Jennifer said...

That didn't come out right I mean I'm scared of being a working mom(I'm not scared of working with children) Maybe,I should go to bed now, I can't get the words out right.

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