Along comes my first pregnancy and well we aren't quite ready for me to stop working, so for the first two year's of Big C's life I worked outside of the home. I was very lucky to take her to work for the first year (but please believe me when I tell you it is extremely difficult!) and then my mom watched her while I worked not quite full time during the second year. Shortly before little C was born I started staying home full time (except that I worked for my family's business and well if you have ever worked for family you know that work doesn't ever quite end with as much finality as any other type of job)!
In my head I had tons of notions of what staying at home would be like - pretty crazy ones. Ones in which we played all day, did crafts, baked, and basically had a ton of fun. Cleaning, discipline, loneliness - none of this came to mind. Boy were my dreams out of whack with reality! Staying at home was a lot different than I had expected - it wasn't bad, not by any means - it was just different. Plus how do I answer the never ending questions of what do I do and what will I do once the girls are older...hmm well my dream now is to raise my kids - while at home. Once they are gone I would love to volunteer...but those are dreams and they might change. I don't have a crystal ball and I can't tell you what I will be doing tomorrow let alone when my kids are 18. So my current dream is to enjoy every day doing whatever it is I am called to do that day!
In order to clarify more about two very different dreams I have compiled a list of my favorite things about working and my favorite things about staying home. Let me be clear that this is not an argument or an attack on either opinion but rather the things I love(d) most about two very different points in my life! In order of how these events impacted my life:
The Things I Loved About Working Outside the Home:
- Interaction: Social interaction with different people (although almost always on the phone) - I had daily conversations with 10-20 unique personalities every single day. Usually about topics that were important to their livelihood and in which I could see how my actions were affecting them and their businesses at that moment in time.
- Accomplishment: I knew what my job was and what had to be done, I could measure how much I had accomplished in a day by crossing visible tasks off of my to do list. Along with this I also loved how if something had to get done immediately I could shut out the rest of the world and get it done.
- Time with my dad: Now this one isn't for everyone but since I worked with my dad I got to see him and talk to him for hours every single day. Now that I don't work and he still does it is a lot harder to talk to him as often and in as much detail.
- Monetary pay: Of course I received remuneration for my work and while money is definitely not the most important thing I did of course enjoy receiving a pay check.
- Alone time: The drive to and from work and my lunch break were times that I got alone to do what I wanted (within reason) and in which I was not solely responsible for anyone else!
- Praise: While I try to be humble and not be foolishly prideful I have always been an overachiever and while working I loved the fact that clients and co-workers would praise my work helping me feel like my time was worthwhile. (Kid's just don't seem to say gee thanks for disciplining me mom)!
The Things I Love About Staying Home:
- Spending every waking moment with my kids - watching them stumble, fall and grow.
- Nurturing their spirit, souls, and personalities. Watching quirks and traits appear out of thin air.
- Being a relaxed mommy who gets most of the important things done every day which leaves time for family nights and weekends. Relaxed mommy can play tickle war and Lego's for hours on end.
- Having time to cook fancy full course meals during the week and provide home made treats and snacks that I otherwise wouldn't have time to do.
- Getting up and ready whenever we want in the morning then having a fully home cooked meal! This is amazing!
- Wearing sweats and tennis shoes whenever I want!
- Being able to coupon and bargain shop so that we have extra money to save and play.
- The ability to have a sick day without even thinking twice which means that much more time to snuggle, read books, watch movies, and eat soup.
- Never truly knowing what the next day will look like...it is always a surprise and just when things start resembling a pattern it gets all changed up again! Keeps my mind sharp!
- Being the one to tell daddy all the new and exciting things the girls are learning or doing straight from my own eyes and not just relaying someone else's story of what happened that day!
- Hearing my kids say "I love you mommy" 20+ times a day! (okay not every day but there sure are a lot of days like this)!
- Knowing that every day only happens once and that I am following the calling God has put in my heart to be with my children 24 hours a day.
- This list could go on and on there is so much I love about my life right now!
Whatever your thoughts on staying home I hope you can see the joy I have had in two different situations thus far in my life!