Saturday, May 4, 2013


I never wanted to be a stay at home mom.  Career and education have always been extremely important to me.  I've been a teacher for 8 years, but within that time have become Department Chair and have taught Masters level University classes.  I'm ambitious and I'm not done progressing in my career.  I doubt it will end in the classroom.

But when I first had Dylan, I didn't care one iota about work and basically never wanted to work again.

So it's complicated.

I go back to work on Monday and I'm kind of excited.  It's a complicated excited because it's kind of nice not to work.

But being at home is a lot of pressure.  I feel guilty if I'm not interacting with Dylan 100% of the time that he's awake.  But there are only so many things you can do with a baby.  So after we've done tummy time once an eaten twice and read a book and sang songs and made funny faces and taken a walk...I run out of ideas.  And then the guilt sets in.  I do most of those things multiple times throughout the day, but it's really a struggle to keep it up.

I know that the research states the the total number of words a child hears in a day has a huge correlation with school success.  I'm very verbal, but I also like my quiet time.  So I have to push hard to keep talking.  The other day we took a long walk.  And instead of being silent like I would typically be if I was walking the dog, I instead narrated everything that I was thinking.  This ranged from worrying about the high school of the area we are how much Dylan whether the dog was going to be okay around him...and back around again.  He's going to think I'm nuts! (Or maybe I am?)

So I'm going back to school.

It's about as easy as it could be since it's only 5 1/2 weeks at the end of the year, after testing. Not a lot of pressure.  Then I get the whole summer with Dylan.  And I've had a nice transition back.  I went last week to go over essays with the AP kids, then another time to pick up the next batch of essays.  So in total, I've seen 3 out of my 5 classes so I won't be quite as nervous.  AND...I have a two hour prep period at the beginning of the day Monday morning which is awesome.

I'm excited to have a role in 150 more children's lives.  And I'm excited because I'll be able to give 100% to Dylan from about 3:30 until he goes to bed and every weekend.  And people that really love him (my parents) will be giving him 100% throughout the day.  So he'll probably be getting more total interaction.

I have huge respect for SAHMs and I definitely have some additional guilt for not being one.  (Detecting a guilt theme?)

But whether I work in the home or out, I know I'm doing the very best for my son.

I have a lot more to say about the state of maternity leave in the U.S. and using this as an opportunity to re-evaluate exactly what I want to do for my career, but I'll save that for next time.

If I ever have time for next time.

Don't worry...I'll make time.


  1. A lot of the things you've stated here are things I've been thinking about. I really want to be a good mother and provide the support my children need. But I really enjoy my career and have worked hard to get where I am today. I think this is a common concern from a number of mothers and the choices we make in the months (and years) following the arrival of children are as individual as the each person involved.

    My point is try not to let the guilt seep in. Some women can make the decision to stay at home full time and find it works really well from them. Others can and still chose to return to work because they want to continue that portion of their life too (I saw a survey recently that said the majority of women found having the option to work part-time to be optimal for them). You are an excellent mother, doing more than most have had to or would even consider doing, so don't beat yourself up.

    I hope the first day back is a good one!

  2. I agree with a lot of what you say - especially about when you are at home you feel like you need to do something amazing with them every single waking second.

    A friend of mine said she is a more attentive mum when she works and she has a point. The four days I have being a SAHM to Molly I am much more switched on. I still hate that she is in care for three days but she bloody loves it so I am hoping the part time mum / worker thing will work out.

    It's ok to enjoy your career as well :)

  3. Honestly, I feel like a better mother because I work. I feel like I appreciate my time with D so much more, am more attentive, and - yes - feel less "pressure" to come up with ways to interact because my time is so limited with him (it just comes naturally, rather than trying to force myself to be creative). Even though I loved being home with D and having that time to get to know him, I didn't feel like myself...I sort of felt like I'd lost part of my identity. Going back to work has been good for me, and I initially felt a lot of guilt about that. I felt guilty that I wasn't sobbing hysterically, missing my baby all day. I thought for sure something had to be wrong with me. But I've come to realize that this is what works for me and it makes me better with him.

    Every mother and every baby and every family is different, and you have to do what works for you!

  4. SAHM's hold a special place in my heart but so do working moms. I grew up with a school teacher mom and to me it was always normal that mom would leave for work and she was home all summer. It was never an option for me to be a SAHM because my husband is a farmer so I have to work in order to have the benefits etc etc. I loved my 7.5 weeks with my sweet little Reagan but was excited to go back to work. Going to work recharges me, it makes me excited to come home from work and hang with Reagan. My time is so precious with her that I use it to the best ability I can.

  5. thank you for your honesty (as always) with this post. i have the guilt too. my mom was sahm with stints of work here and there, but that's not going to happen with me (at least i dont think). i think what matters is how much you care, regardless of whether you sah or work.

    but! i think there is something special about working mums - maybe i am way off here, but i noticed growing up, male friends seemed to have much more respect for their mothers if their mothers had a career. i've listened to so many male friends call their mothers 'useless', 'mooching', 'lazy', 'stupid', etc. presumably because in their [IMMATURE] eyes their mothers didnt contribute to the family income and werent 'pulling their weight'. their moms 'shopped all the time', 'spent dad's money', 'did nothing all day' and other such colorful characterizations that probably werent 100% true, but were being said none the less. while i think this is obnoxious and stupid behavior on the part of these males (boys/teenagers) and possibly reflective of sexism in their households and even maybe bad attitudes on the parts of their dads, i think it also illustrates something special about working moms... that while we may not have time to wipe their noses from 9-5 and may not be the ones feeding them lunch, they learn from their working moms that women can contribute equally in society compared to men and that in their particular households, mom is a very real contributor. while i agree that sahm's contribute hugely, sometimes teenage boys dont always think this and it can affect the type of girls they chose to partner with, how they construct their own lives, and whether they themselves are willing to take on roles as caretaker for their children in the future.

    so, longwindedly, i congratulate you on your choice and think that it will help dylan be a better guy all the ladies he is clearly going to charm in his life:)

  6. I think what matters is what you make of the time you have with Dylan, and honestly, it sounds like you're doing a really great job with that! I'm a SAHM, and I have the same guilt that I'm not doing enough. We do playgroups, Gymboree, take walks, etc...but sometimes it feels like when we're home, there are only so many books we can read, towers we can knock down, and balls we can throw before I feel like I'm the lamest mom on the planet. I think the guilt comes with the territory, whether we're SAHM or not. I hope you had a good day today!

  7. Only you can decide what's best for you. But I don't think I'm cut out to be a SAHM either. It is very hard. My friends who have the best balance at least work part-time. Good luck going back to school.

    BTW...I think it is cute that you want the best for your son so much that you talk out loud about everything!

  8. Think about all the things you're teaching Dylan by going back to work! He's learning about all the things women can do and the many facets of you. My mom did not work. Now she doesn't have the money to retire and be the grandma she wants to be. It's a double edged sword, and please don't feel guilty for enjoying work!

    I talk to kids like that too. That's how we teach parents to talk to their children with hearing loss and I don't know how else to talk to kids! I know my neighbors think I'm a weirdo when I talk to their kids. Just think of all the language you're inputting! :)