Sometimes in the morning, in the madness that ensues, as I’m watching the clock tick – which causes my anxiety to build – I wonder why I don’t just become a stay-at-home mom.
This is my latest dilemma. To be or not to be. That is the question. It’s a big question that doesn’t have an easy answer.
So let’s see……
The Working Mom:
She looks happy enough. The kids are playing nicely while she works at her desk. Well, that’s not me. When I try to work at home, the kids are all over me. No matter how much space they have and how many toys they can play with, they gravitate to me. Taylor wants to press all the buttons on my laptop and Carter tries to get me to play YouTube for him.
Being a mom and wife is a tough job. The added stress of work makes it even tougher. I would love to not have to be at a certain place at a certain time. I would love to not have the deadlines or the stress or the aggravation that comes with being a teacher. I would love to be able to stay home without calling someone when my kid has a rough night. If my kid has a rough night, then I have a rough night. If I have a rough night, then I’ll have a rough day. Taking off of work is such a hassle. I worry about how many days I have left to take. I worry about my class being taken care of. I worry about the next day. I constantly
worry. But none of that trumps the worry I have when I’m dealing with a sick kid. My worry then amplifies. Worry, worry, stress, worry, anxiety. Repeat. This is my life as a mom.
Then there’s work. Work. Work. Work. The Rhianna song plays in my head, which is annoying because I hate that son, yet I can’t get it out of my head. Anytime I hear the word, “work,” it gets stuck. Quang tells me I work too much. He wants me to quit. He tells me I’m always on the computer, always lesson planning, always grading papers. Apparently I’m also always complaining about work, tired from work and stressed from work. He doesn’t like that work is causing such a strain on my personal life. I mean, I get it. I am too involved in work. I do start to feel like all of my time and energy is going to the kids in my class and that I don’t have enough to give my own kids. But quit? Quit something I’ve worked so hard for? This is my career. I enjoy working, but if I continue then I need to find a good balance.
The Stay at Home Mom:
Hmmmmm… looking at this picture, I’m reminded of last Friday night. After work I
picked up Taylor and we went home. It was just me and the kids. No daddy. He was at work. The kids had to eat something so I made dinner. Spaghetti. Okay, I just warmed the sauce from the jar. But anyway, after waiting for the noodles to boil and after making their plates, I felt satisfied. Dinner was served. Then I turn around and realize the big mess on the stove. Pots, pans, sauce. Now I gotta wash dishes while they eat.
Then I hear it…..
“No thank you, mommy, no thank you.” It was Taylor, of course. If Carter doesn’t like something he’ll just let me know by either not eating it or he’ll fuss about it. And right now, he wasn’t eating it. I wanted to be mad. I did just spend my time and energy making them dinner and cleaning up and neither of them want it. I even had to strain the sauce over Carter’s noodles because he doesn’t like things covered in sauce. I wanted to be mad. But I couldn’t. Taylor was polite about not wanting to eat the spaghetti so at least she has manners. Maybe I was just too tired to be mad. Maybe I kind of expected it. Three completely different kids who eat 3 completely different things. Why would I ever expect dinner to go smoothly?
“Do you want macaroni and cheese?” I asked her.
“No, thank you,” she answered. The girl knows exactly what she wants. And in this case – what she doesn’t want. I let out a big sigh, collect their full bowls, toss the food in the trash and throw the pots and pans in the fridge for clean up later on. Time for baths.
“I want juice,” Taylor demands. Okay, fine. I pour a tiny sip of juice into a cup for her. I do that because I’m smart. That way if she spills it, then at least it’s not a……
Big Mess. A big mess on the floor. And there it is. She spilled her juice on the floor. It seems like a big mess now.
“I want more juice.”
What is my life?
It was an exhausting and long night. Followed by Saturday – another workday for Quang, which was another day for me alone with the kids. I decided to make breakfast at home – pancakes and bacon. Easy enough. And still exhausting. Thankfully, Vanessa the Vegan wakes up past breakfast time, but she still wakes up and immediately looks for something to eat. Taylor ends up throwing the leftover pancakes on the floor, letting me know she’s finished. She wants juice now, so I follow orders and give her juice. As I’m cleaning dishes, I hear splashing. She’s now dumped the contents of her juice box onto her high chair tray and she then started to splash in it. Carter is jumping around the kitchen making noise.
My attention is constantly on something different. The juice is now dripping from the high chair tray to the floor. Carter’s hand flapping is frustrating. Why is he doing it so much more lately? The dishes are dirty. Why did I forget to buy paper plates when I went grocery shopping? I’m hungry. What do we have to eat? I check the fridge. Oh my god, the pots and pans from last night’s dinner are still in the fridge. More dishes to clean now. The floor is sticky. Oh yea, last night’s small sip of juice. Wine. Is it too early to drink wine? I hear the dryer timer buzz. It’s loud. And annoying. I look at the clock. 9:00 a.m. It’s gonna be a long day.
I then have a MOMent.
I look around. This is my life. It’s a mess. At the moment I feel like a single mom. No one to talk to. No one to help me. No one to tell me everything is easy to clean. I could call Quang and tell him I’m going insane. But I would assume he already knows that. He’s met these kids. He’s aware of their ability to drive you crazy. Plus I’m sure I already called him this morning.
If I were a stay at home mom, would this be me everyday? I mean, I love a challenge, but this? Everyday? Maybe I can’t take it now because I also have a stressful job on top of being a wife and mom. Maybe I’m scared I won’t be a good stay at home mom. Maybe I’m not cut out for it.
What do I do?
Quit my job and focus on what makes me happy: Writing, spending time with the kids, taking care of my family, helping Carter improve. All of these things make me happy, so why not just do it? Sounds easy enough right? But it’s not. This decision is a tough one for me to make.
So, let’s look at the pros and cons, shall we?
The Pros: I get to work! Which I love. I get to make $$. Which I love. I get good benefits for me and the kids. I get to be off with the kiddos (benefits of being a teacher).
The Cons: Too much work. Always exhausted. No time for anything. Too busy.
The Pros: No stress from work. More time for everything. I get to be there for the kids more. Not as exhausted (hopefully).
The Cons: No $$ (booooo). No good insurance. Not very much adult interaction. I’ll probably get bored.
There you have it. The pros and the cons. I’ve thought about it, talked about it, and now wrote about it. And yet, the big question still lingers:
To be or not to be a stay-at-home mom? That is the question and I need people to tell me what to do!