I wish I were home more. Even better, home with less to do. My having an extended break for maternity leave left me with new insight to the joys and trials of being a stay-at-home or part-time working mom. I also just finished reading a week of entries on one of my more favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo, where she featured a segment on new mothers who work at home and how they juggle their schedule. It seemed like where everyone was still very busy, their set-up gives them what seems like infinitely more time and more flexibility to spend with their kids. This leaves me feeling jealous, even though I chose my profession and choose to keep it. This has led me to thinking of what I like most and least about the stay-at-home thing.
When home, you get to see your child almost instantly. If really truly needed, you can walk through a door and scoop them up. I understand that this is not practical for productivity, but it's possible. I did attempt to ignore the wails coming from the other room when I worked at home one morning, and I am semi-happy to say that I was successful.
When home, you can schedule how you like, and do what things need to be done. The laundry, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, make sure bills are paid, read at your lesiure, etc. The downside of being at home, is that there's no real urgency, and your schedule is primarily determined by what your child needs at the moment. I'm really big on chores early in the day, when I feel most productive and doing those things at night after 9 pm doesn't rank high on my enjoyment scale. This is why I now love weekends, and hate when they're filled with planned activities. If I'd be home, I could also spend the day running around town with my baby, either doing things that need to be done, or taking her out to expose her to fun and interesting things, teaching this tiny absorbent person all about life. I miss the opportunities to hang out for even an hour without needing to feed her, or other necessities of just getting home for the day. I hear about how she started to laugh and jabber away, or make funny faces that day when I pick her up, but I don't get to see much of those things until 3-4 days later, when I get to keep her for the day. Every parent envisions the way their kid should be raised, and even when left with family, it's hard to give up that control to how someone else does it, even temporarily.
Benefits of working full time are really my having a break from home-life, and being able to afford to come home to everything we need. I've said since I was home on leave that if I could make the same amount, still do what I enjoy, and work just 5-10 hours less a week, I'd be thrilled. Best of both worlds. It's not to be, for now. Le grande sigh. Really, do you choose to be away, so that you can provide a stable home for your children, or do you provide a "loving" home where material and opportunity are not as important, as long as you're happy? The dichotomy of this ever-lasting question is what I believe most mothers struggle with, even if the decision has been made for them by circumstance.
All told, there are many new ideas I'm working through and will continue to parade through my head, in and out of my husband's patient ears, and back to contemplation again. Anything in the name of improvement! March on...