NaBloPoMo 11.15.2012 Being a stay-at-home-parent vs. working outside the home

NaBloPoMo November 2012

This past weekend was Veteran’s Day which meant that all state and federal employees (namely, me) got a paid day off.  I decided to keep the kids at home with me because, well I didn’t really have a good enough excuse not to.

The weekend went pretty much like normal.

But here’s the thing about me being home with the kids all weekend:

We are so used to not being together all day that when we are together all day, we are so sick of looking at each other that we are all at our wit’s end by 5pm.

I always have these romantic ideals about all of the cooking (which I actually did this weekend) and cleaning (I did a lot of that, too) that I want to do but it becomes more of a survival technique rather than something fun to do.  The kids and I did end up making 2 batches of cookies, a homemade German chocolate cake, breakfast burritos, and dinner two of the nights and I did include them for most of the cooking.  And I got through all 10 loads of laundry that I was planning on (bedding included). I also washed about 50 sinkfuls of dishes and vacuumed 5 times (that is not an exaggeration).

But did we do anything noteworthy?  Nope.  We went to Wal-Mart and got 2 Christmas presents picked up but we only went there because I needed more eggs to make the German Chocolate cake.

Honestly, we each only took 1 shower/bath all weekend.

And I have a feeling that that’s how our lives would be if I didn’t work outside the home on at least a semi-regular basis.

I’m not great at doing crafts with the kids.  Or even remembering to have a set time for them to sit and color.  Maybe that’s because when we are together during the evenings and weekends, there is so much housework/errands/appointments/etc that have to be done that we just don’t have the time or energy to squeeze in one more activity.

Don’t get me wrong, the kids get plenty of craft/creative time at the babysitter’s and their grandparents’ houses so it’s not like they are totally deprived of any creative influence but most of it doesn’t come from me.

Some people have told me that we would adapt if I stayed at home and things would become easier.  But honestly?  I’m just not sure that I believe that.

Even if it were financially possible for me to stay at home (which it’s not at this point in our lives), I’m not sure that I’m a good enough mom to stay at home with the kids.  And don’t misunderstand, I’m not fishing for a compliment by saying that.  I really and truly need adult interaction during the day.  And I hate feeling like I’m counting down the minutes until bedtime and I know that I would start to resent being home if I were home with the kids all day.

But here’s the thing.  I know that I wouldn’t be a great stay-at-home-mom, so I work.  Even if we didn’t need the money, I would still probably work outside the home.  At least on a part-time basis.  And I’m okay with that.  I know there is a huge disconnect in the romantic version of what parents that don’t work do all day and the reality of what they actually do.  I think that same thing can be said about parents that stay home but want to work.  It’s about so much more than the grass being greener on the other side.  It’s about the devil planting seeds of insecurity and doubt in us as parents and us, being human, listening to those negative thoughts.  Being a parent is hard.  Really hard.  No matter if you work outside the home, work from home or stay at home, being a parent is so much harder than anything anybody can ever prepare you for.

But either way?  You’re probably doing an okay job with whichever choice you made for you and your family.  Keep up the good work, mommas and daddys.

Basically?  This is pretty much everything I wanted to say and more.

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