Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Staying home -- is it worth it?

A writer friend of mine recently asked me if I like staying home with my girls.

Kelby is a career-driven mom of twins plus one more herself, and I'm sure she wonders what it would be like to give all that up to spend time with children. One of her great ventures is an online Wiki site for moms. Check it out here.

I told her I would blog about this because I do love staying home and I am very grateful to have this opportunity. Here's why I love being a stay/work-at-home Mama:

1. Schedule is perfect: No more rushing to get ready, passing babies off to caregivers and then rushing back to them at the end of the day. The days are much less stressful and hectic. I always felt like the chauffeur, not the Mama.

2. Less worries: When my girls were in day care from 4 months old to 10 months old, I was a mess with constant worries and wonders about them. I imagine it would be the same way even now as they approach Age 2. The minute I stopped working and started staying home with them, I was a better mother.

3. Style of play and learning: It gives me great joy to know that I am shaping my daughters' futures by showing them new things and new ways to play every day. There is no way that being stuck in one room or one building every single day for months or years on end is as good for a child as discovering the world. Our day care did get them out for walks once a week when the weather was nice, but that's not enough. They grew up taking walks daily as soon as I was up to it. Even in the winter. For me, variety is the spice of life. I cannot do the same thing every single day. Oh, wait ... that's what motherhood is all about so never mind that. Still, I have the power to arrange where we will go today and what we will discuss and learn. I love that.

4. I'm the Mama: I hope I do not offend anyone here. But, it was heart wrenchingly difficult for me as a new mother to hand my infant girls over to other women to care for all day. Each day that I did it, it felt more and more wrong. I am the Mama. I need to be the one to take care of them. That's my responsibility.

5. Workplace drama begone: I'm a bit of a rebellious soul. I do not like to be told what to do. I always out performed other workers, yet was never appreciated. I hardly received any decent raises or bonuses. The hours weren't great. People can be annoying. All of these things added up and in the end I do not miss any of it. Sure, I still work for nothing, get no days off and am not appreciated that much -- but staying home offers much better benefits in the long run. I work much better on my own, as my own boss.

Still, this decision isn't for everyone. It was a no-brainer for me. If you are the type of person who doesn't want to be down on the floor playing most of the day, then it might not work for you.

But, if you are driven and highly motivated then you can make the best of both worlds by working from home. Return here tomorrow because I'll have some tips for Work-at-home Mamas.

Thank you for visiting today.

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LauraC said...

I can understand the question because I know I would not be happy staying at home. My job feeds a part of my soul that being a mother does not.

I have an engineering degree from a top school and was extremely surprised watching all of my college friends give up their careers to stay home. I didn't (and don't) feel that way, so I often wonder if my friends want to stay home or feel they must.

I felt a lot of guilt as a new mother for not having that desire, but over time I've come to realize I'm a better mom as a working mom.

Shelli said...

I love being a stay-at-home mama for all the reasons that you listed above. I do think every woman is different, and they have to decide what's best for them. I feel sorry for the women who want to stay home, but they can't make it financially, if they don't work. I will admit that I hated going into work at an office. I was not fulfilled. If I had a more fulfilling job, it might be different. But I think for me that would be one that I could do while staying home with my son. If I could write and make money at it, I would love to do that. It's all I've ever wanted to do.

Anonymous said...

Worth it? There's a question that's not so easily answered, but worth asking just the same.

Candace & Anna said...

I love being at home as well. Although, thinking about Christmas and our so very limited budget makes it harder. I would love to be able to spend more but I guess we will have to make do.

Christine said...

Your post is wonderfully heartfelt and indeed underscores why so many women make the choice to stay home with their children.

Having tried all types of work arrangements, from part-time, to flex-time to work at home, I have found the most gratifying solution is to work from home while still being there for my daughter when she comes home from school in tears about the third-grade bully. It isn't always a perfect arrangement, especially on those days when I feel guilty for ignoring their requests for attention because of a hot media lead I'm pursuing for a client or the next conference call is looming on my calendar. Nonetheless, it has taught them boundaries. And yes, I am the boss!

Thank you for opening up this dialogue! I invite you to read some of my work in this area as well at http://diaryofamother.blogs.com and elsewhere.

Warmly, Christine Louise Hohlbaum

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Hard and (I've got to admit) boring as some days can be, I really feel it's important to be here. I wouldn't want to miss out on the little moments that just happen during the day -- and the little chances that come up to share my values. And boy, do I not miss workplace politics at all. I'm much more relaxed at home.

Type-A Mom said...

Thanks so much for posting this, and for the link to my site. I can definitely see the benefits. Our mornings are downright ugly. There's no other way to describe it. Evenings aren't much better. I would say the schedule part you mention is probably the biggest downside to working in an office!