To Work or Stay at Home—That is Sometimes the Question

Being a stay-at-home mother versus a working mother.

In my 13-plus years of being a mom, I have never had the chance to be a stay-at-home mom. I was able to be a work at home mom for two years, when my girls were little. I ran a small day care in my own home. It meant I was with kids from 6:30 a.m. until I fell in to bed, exhausted, whenever the last of my own kids went to sleep. It was not an easy way to be at home, but it did allow me a small glimpse of that stay at home life.

Other than that short period, I have always worked outside of my home. I suppose that is why I find myself envious of stay-at-home moms. I long for pajama days with my kids. I want to be the one home with them when they have a cold and can't go to school. I want to have time to do laundry, make beds, keep house and all the other things that have become very low priorities in my life.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do love my job. But I don't work because I love my job. I work because I have to. I work to pay bills. Even with a second income, courtesy of my newlywed status, I still HAVE to work. It is not an option for me.

When the girls were little, I watched kids at home because day care for three under 3 would have been insanely expensive. Watching kids allowed me to be at home and continue to have an income. I never really made a profit with my home-based day care, but I made enough to keep food on the table.

Do other women wish to be where the grass looks greener? Would I end up going insane if I was at home? Would I long for the days of working with other grown ups? Who knows... and I don't get to find out any time soon.

So, I will be thankful that I have a job when I need one. And I will be thankful that I have lots of friends and family who help me when my girls are sick. And finally, I will remember that in so many ways, I am blessed beyond measure.

What about you? Are you where you want to be? Would you change things if you could?

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Loretta Worsham September 20, 2011 at 01:23 PM
I have been at home for 16 years now - wouldn't change a thing! It was very lonely at first after a career with travel and excitement, but I truly believe it made me a more contented and peaceful person. That being said, I'm glad to now have the freedom to volunteer and have the social interactions that come with it. One thing that bothers me is SAHMs devaluing their financial contributions. Yes - staying at home can be financially beneficial, and not just in savings from daycare expenses. I have the time and flexibility to shop for bargains in everything from groceries to vacations. My kids get 0% new clothes - even the two in private school with strict dress code wear the best of Goodwill! My husband's demanding career has significantly benefited from his rarely having to miss work for family obligations - that may not be 'right' but it's just the reality of the workplace in his field. We have never lived anywhere near family and frankly don't have the sort of extended families that would be helpful for the sick kid days etc. even if we were close to them. See Larry Burkett's 'Women Leaving the Workplace' for more on this topic. My biggest concern over the years has been my vulnerability should something happen to my husband. Yes we have tons of insurance but still.... I left a promising, lucrative career and could never restart it having been away from my field for so long. It's a risk we've accepted-
Sandy Misera October 15, 2011 at 05:53 PM
I worked from age 20 to age 50 and in June of 2002, I begrudgingly took an early retirement package (which, thankfully, included subsidized health benefits). Initially I did volunteer work and helped an elderly friend on a regular basis. I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom; unfortunately, at the age of 13, that was precisely the time my daughter could magically "do everything" herself and didn't need Mom! Well I was there whether she liked it or not! I briefly held a small child-care "job" for a couple years, while putting three years in as a part-time teller. I then worked for the Census Bureau and also had a very brief, very "non-lucrative" online job which was a huge waste of time. I am now EAGERLY searching for any kind of employement I can DO FROM MY HOME OFFICE!! I've done the 30-year commute thing, and the professional wardrobe thing, and now I just want to give the best I have to offer to an employer who won't ask for any upfront money or under utilize my skillset and do it from the comfort of my fully equipped home office! Is that too much to ask? I don't expect to make a ton of money, but I would like to make at least a good percentage of my worth and get at least 20-30 hours a week. I know I have what it takes to make a terrific employee in the area of clerical/administrative and/or computer work, but I'm "gun shy" of all the online offers out there who may just be looking for the next sucker. Thanks for listening; it helped to share my story!


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