I’ve had a job in some way, shape or form since I was twelve years old. So when we moved to Austin, it was an opportunity for me to take my time and figure out what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to rush into a job that I wasn’t sure about. I wanted my writing career to take off, spend time with Lucy and get to know my new city. I thought being a stay-at-home-mom would be a new experience worth exploring. It would be great! I could keep the house clean, enrich Lucy with flash cards, have dinner on the table every night all while discovering new boutiques and museums.
Then reality set in.
Staying at home with Lucy was way harder than I ever thought it would be. She needs constant stimulation, as two-year-olds do. My feeble attempts to read and draw with her would only last about fifteen minutes before she would get bored. We would take walks around the neighborhood and practice riding her Skuut. I tried to teach her how to Swiffer but the novelty of that wore off as well. Her naps would be in the middle of the day so it was impossible to actually go do things unless I wanted to deal with the possibility of super-psycho-tired-toddler.
She needed interaction with other kids.
And I needed interaction with adults.
I tried the park thing and attempted to make conversation with the other mommys there. But it ended up being strange and awkward…just like junior high. After I got into a pseudo-argument with another mom about whether or not velociraptors had feathers (she insisted that because they didn’t have feathers in Jurassic Park then what Dr. Scott says on Dinosaur Train is wrong), I decided it was probably best for all of us if I went back to work.
Surprisingly, I found a job pretty quickly. It’s a great continuation of my design career despite my desire to write for a living. I’m hoping I’ll have more opportunities to write as I transition into this new position.
I hope you don’t judge me. I know there are lots of moms out there who will think things like, “Why did you have a child if you couldn’t handle the responsibility?” and “You’re selfish for leaving your kid in the care of others.” Believe me, I’ve had this battle raging in my head since I was pregnant. And I have felt terribly guilty about it. But now that Lucy is older, I know what’s best for her is playing with other kids and giving her the kind of physical and mental exercise she won’t get at home. Because let’s face it, plunking her down in front of Madagascar 3 or countless Yo Gabba Gabba episodes can’t be healthy in the long-term.
The best advice I can ever give other parents is to do what works for you and your family. It may take several tries to get it right but you’ll know it when you do.
So how do you feel about staying home vs. working?