Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Case of the Stay At Home Blues

This Mommy gig is just full of guilt and questions and more guilt with a side of WTF am I doing, huh?

I know this is the battle lament of Stay at Home Moms everywhere but, lately, it's just been really bothering me. It could be because I've been discussing it with other Mom friends, or maybe it's just that it's March and that tax refund sure would be a welcome adjustment to my bank account.

The real problem with talking about this is, no one wants to hear it, and no one really "gets" it unless they've been there.

Let me start by repeating yet again-I'm SUPER DUPER glad I've been able to be home with my kids. I didn't want someone else being the person that they spend the majority of their days with, I didn't want someone else's morals, values, discipline or guidance to be the background of their formative years. I wanted to be there for my kids for every tear, every laugh, every teachable moment. I have an almost 13 year old, so trust me when I say, I KNOW how quickly that time speeds by and you really can't get those moments back. I'm grateful to have a pre-teen that still likes to be tucked in and who tells me daily she loves me. (She's SO going to kill me for outing this!)

I'll also immediately put the disclaimer here that I'm not judging Moms that chose to go outside the home to work. I'm not about that. Every parenting decision we make from birth plan to feeding to education to TV viewing is personal choice for each of our unique situations and what feels right to each of us individually. Besides, we all beat ourselves up enough to not need any help from others in that department.

My quandary of late is that often being home is not the most appreciated job in the world. I don't get bonuses or trips or performance evaluations that say what an awesome contributing member I am of the team. Most days, I feel like it's just assumed that the house will be tidy, the laundry done and put away, and a hot, balanced meal on the table nightly. Yes, I CHOSE to be home. I get that.

My friends and I were talking about not being the breadwinner and how sometimes that feels like you get an allowance, or how sometimes the jokes of not contributing financially sting. In my case, it's REALLY annoying because I've worked FROM home for the last 12 years, except for a year (or less!) after we've moved each time, to help us settle. Now, no, I've never had a pension plan or made big bucks to support us all, but I've contributed. However, when I look at my double income family friends, I do feel guilty or like I've somehow stunted my family's future.

If I had worked outside the home, making a bigger salary, we would have had more of a cushion. We would  have put more away for retirement, for our kids' educations, for a rainy day. Many friends are more secure financially because both partners have been working for many years and they've had more to put away.

So-what am I to do?

I can't go back in time, nor would I change the decision I made. My girls are truly amazing, and I've been allowed to be there for every single moment of it. I don't regret one blissful second of being home with them.

Do I try to find full-time employment now? I DO still have 25 years of working time to rack up some dough. When I consider this option, I STILL feel like it's not time. I don't like the idea of my kids being in someone else's care all summer, and they aren't at ages I'd like them home alone all day every day. My salary would also likely all go to just paying daycare fees! It's crazy expensive!

My plan has always been to do daycare supply teaching. I can work as much as I'm asked to, but pick and choose my days. That's where I'm at right now. Come September, hopefully I'll be putting my name on some supply lists and doing what I can to make myself feel like I'm making more of a contribution financially.

Then I can feel guilty about THAT and about the house not being up to standard or the dinners being sub-par and.....

Does it ever end?? Is there any parent out there who doesn't constantly feel like nothing is ever enough?

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