Traditionally, I interview moms who are entrepreneurs – they have (or have at some point had) their own business. This month I did things a bit differently… Read on to learn more about a mom who had to make the choice whether to stay at her job (which she really enjoyed!) or stay at home. She gives the perspective of both roles, and I learned a lot from our chat.
I had the chance recently to actually sit down, in person, with a fellow mom in my mommy group. I was interested to chat with her, as I believe she has struggled with some of the same concerns as many of us working moms. But she has moved over to the dark side now – she is a stay-at-home mom (just kidding on the dark side thing).
In all seriousness, there is a real and unfortunate divide between us working moms and the stay at home moms (SAHM). While I think many moms in one situation find themselves envious of those in the other, it can also be easy to judge, thinking that the ‘other moms’ have it so easy. But what about those moms who’ve been on both sides of the fence? Alison is a SAHM to a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old. Read on to learn more about her experience.
What did you do prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom?
I was a graphic designer.
And when did you become a SAHM?
I worked after having my son (now three), but had a really hard time going back. If I was at work, I wasn’t there for my son, and vice versa. I felt like I was letting someone down no matter what I was doing. My son flourished in daycare, so that wasn’t an issue. But once I became pregnant with my second child, it didn’t make sense financially to go back to work. M company was very supportive and allowed me to take time off, so I stopped working two months before my daughter was born. This gave my son and I time together, and allowed him to adjust to the new routine before the baby arrived.
Once my daughter was born, I didn’t want to go back to work. She was just starting to do things, like crawl, and I didn’t want to miss any of that.
How is being a SAHM compared to being a working mom?
Being a SAHM has been harder than being a working mom. Knowing I’d be able to raise my own kids made the decision to switch easier. My husband and I make sure we each have me time, together time and kid time. I have to let some things go, though. As a working mom, my house was usually clean. But now it’s messy, because we are actually LIVING in it, every single day. Mommy groups have been my lifeline. I try to get out and do activities or play dates with other moms on a regular basis.
Any plans to return to work?
At this point, I have no plans. I’m learning that the best plan is not to have one at all. This is one of the amazing lessons my kiddos are teaching me through this crazy journey. I know I will work again in a professional environment, one day. For now, I am taking time to do freelance designs and photography to continue building my skills.
What advice do you have for working moms who are considering becoming stay-at-home mom (or vice versa)?
In the end, time was my biggest factor when making the decision to stay home. There were many other things that made it to my pros and cons list, but time was the one that really sealed the deal for me. My advice would be to really sit down (with your spouse/significant other) and ask yourself “why”. Why are you considering staying at home? Which option can make you the best parent your child(ren) needs? There are sacrifices no matter what. When I was working we were financially able to do more activities for the kids. There was no question about the new toy or the trip to diggerland. Now that toy can wait and we go camping instead. When I was working my house was clean, because we were only there together for three hours a night. Now, My house is a mess (which stresses me out to no end) but I get to make the mess with my kids.
For me personally both jobs are equally as difficult as they are easy for different reasons. The hardest part is leaving behind what you’re comfortable with and the fear of being inadequate – inadequate when it comes to teaching your child, like the certified professionals do/can or being inadequate because of the lack of time you get to spend with your kids. When it came time for me to make that choice, when my one year leave of absence was up for my company, I could not fathom going back to work. That was my answer. Before, when I was leaving my job I went back and forth for months but when it came to leaving my kids to go back to work 40 hours a week there was no question.
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Some of us are better parents when we work away from home, some are better being with our kids. The amazing thing is that no matter how we do it, we all have the same interest at heart; our kid’s health, happiness and safety. We all do what we do because we love those crazy little humans. No matter what you choose, you have made the right decision for your family. That’s the best we can do.
NOTE: Alison has chosen to stay anonymous and thus her last name and photograph are not being used. I appreciate her choosing to speak frankly with me for this article.
This post is linked up at Sharing Saturday.