I was a stay at home parent for the first few years of B’s life. I was young, he was my first child, and we didn’t want to put him in childcare. At first, I enjoyed it. I was able to be with him every morning, every afternoon, and every evening. I was able to prepare and feed him breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper. I was able to give him the attention he needed while he was so little, and sweet. I was able to nurture him when he was hurt or sick. I was always there whenever he needed something.
But then, after a while, things changed. It became harder, and more tedious. I had this little, rambunctious toddler running around me all day, every day. It became easier to frustrate me, and it got to the point where I never left the house to do so much as check the mail. I had no help during the day, no local friends, and no love or support from my family, except for my grandparents, who did not even live local. I was depressed. And there were days where I hated myself because sometimes I resented B for it. I often imagined myself as a normal twenty year old with friends and a school schedule to see what it’d be like if he weren’t there. I hated myself when I felt that way because none of that was his fault. He was still the sweet little boy we brought home from the hospital, so how could I feel those horrible things when I had the privilege to stay home with him? How dare me for feeling that way. I was officially the world’s most horrible mother, and I sure felt that way.
I eventually found a safe haven in World of Warcraft. A good friend of mine introduced me to the game and I was unsure about it at first, but it became my escape. I would play all day and all night. I would get frustrated with any interruptions of my game play, and I would neglect most, and sometimes all, household duties that needed to be done. I only got up from my computer desk to use the restroom and eat, and I would rush through my mommy duties so that I could re-escape into the game. It gave me an outlet and I had friends, even though they did not live near me. I was eventually diagnosed with mild to moderate depression but I never took any medication because we couldn’t really afford it due to lack of health insurance, and because I was afraid of becoming a zombie every day. But, eventually things happened. I ended up separating from his father, making a drastic move, all while dealing with family issues and struggling with a general lack of identity.
Things eventually got better and I started to build something that resembled a life. And now, almost four years later, I found myself in the living room of our wonderful new home with my husband, discussing the possibility of my becoming a stay at home mom, again.
We have a pretty normal schedule for a family in today’s time…two working parents who have children in school and daycare. But it gets a little more complicated than that. B was diagnosed with ADHD this past summer and he’s been having trouble with reading, and English in general, in school. They allot time for the kids to complete any homework assigned that day once he arrives at daycare every afternoon, but we feel like he needs more one-on-one attention. Both me and my husband have been working full time and we don’t make it home until close to 6PM. As every parent knows, it’s incredibly difficult to divide only a few dark, measly hours in the evenings among double-checking homework, deciding on and preparing and cooking supper, chores, and bath time. In fact, it’s a nightmare.
It’s also incredibly unsettling to know that he goes straight from school to daycare every afternoon during the week to be in the care of another group of people until I can pick him up every evening. My husband has a long commute from home to work and vise versa, so he’s not able to make it to his daycare before they close. This leaves the pick-up responsibility to me. It ends up leaving us in a difficult spot because it forces me to leave work early and, while my manager and supervisor have been great and understanding towards our situation, I still sometimes can’t help but feel bad. It not only isn’t fair to them, but it’s also a slight loss of pay that ends up adding up over time.
Don’t even get me started on housework. I honestly don’t see how working parents can maintain a clean house. I just don’t. I’m convinced that it’s not possible, as there is simply not enough time to complete all of the household chores that call my name when I walk in the door every night.
As far as me personally…I have about 13 years of website design and graphic design experience, among other things, but what I don’t have is a degree that says I have that experience. I had B at a young age and I haven’t really had the time or the money to re-enroll in school up until now, so continuing my education is something that I want to seriously pursue this year. And, lets face it — it’s not that realistic to work full time and take online or night classes, as studying and schoolwork would take up what little family time we have left after we get off work.
We went over the pros and the cons of me no longer working full time. We went over what my day-to-day goals would be for myself, our family, and our home. We went over our budget at least five different times…not that it lessened my worries in that department. Even though I would be doing website design and graphic design work from home, and maybe some babysitting, it would still be a potential loss of a stable and consistent income.
After discussing all of those things on a few different occasions, we keep coming to the same conclusion. If we don’t do something, things will continue as they are. While we’re doing okay right now, we just want more out of life. I’ve always wished I could successfully pull off the housewife and stay at home mom roles, unlike my first attempt. It hasn’t even been an option up until now, but we feel like it will be best for our family now — especially as we’re wanting to have another child. I want to be sure that B gets the help he needs with his ADHD and his school. I want to finish my education and continue doing website and graphic design, as well as blogging. I want to be there for, and take care of, my still-sweet B and my incredibly hard-working and supportive husband. So, we officially decided that I will be a stay at home mom! Again!