I always wanted a career. I always wanted children. But I could never quite figure out how to do it all.
Part-time work, day care at the office, stay at home dad? Nothing seemed quite right. Being a stay at home mom honestly never even crossed my mind. My husband, on the other hand, was more than eager to be the stay at home parent, at least theoretically.
In the end, everything worked itself out. The economy tanked and when I got pregnant, my husband was the one with the bigger paycheck. Since I wanted to nurse, it made sense that I would be the one staying at home in the beginning. Eventually, we would look for a good day care.
When Livi was born, however, it became clear rather fast that she needed me a lot more than I had anticipated. She also did not want to be held by anybody else, except my husband. Due to her high needs, Livi required a lot of attention and physical contact and patience. So much so that we were both beyond exhausted for the first year.
I began to doubt that she would get all she needed at a day care center. The more I thought about it, the more I became concerned about the idea. There were days when taking care of Livi took all I had and then some. What if someone at the day care center could not handle her demanding personality and her often constant crying?
I did not even want to think about it. And I did not have to think about it. I decided then and there that it was best if I stayed at home. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to have that option, although it meant a few cutbacks here and there.
And so I became a stay at home mom. Do I miss work? Not really. Do I miss not having a career? Not at all. Do I miss all the action and (meaningful?) conversations with other grown ups? Not so much and definitely much less than I thought I would.
I will be honest, many days are challenging with Livi. And once we get her to bed, I still have to do all the housework as it is nearly impossible to get anything done during the day while I take care of her.
But despite all the challenges and the fact that some days can be really rough and difficult, I truly enjoy spending my days with Livi. For now, it is far more important to me to watch her grow up, take her first steps, say her first words, and most importantly, for Livi to feel cared for and safe than to work on my career. And I am very thankful that I got to make that choice.
How did you decide to be a stay at home parent or go back to work? Do you regret your decision? Would you change things if you could? And if so, what would that be?