I met some new friends over the weekend. When I was being introduced, my friend mentioned that I was staying at home with the kids. The woman to whom I was being introduced, who works full-time and has two small children, asked, "Oooh, how do you like it? Is it hard? I always imagine it being harder." I told her that yes, it is hard, and it was definitely a transition for me. I also honestly said that I was really enjoying it. I did not go on to say that I was so happy to be able to have this time with the boys while they're young, and that I think it's been important and worthwhile for us as a family for me to be home at the start of the school years. Not everybody gets this opportunity.
A few beats later, I felt the urge to clarify that I was only staying at home "for the moment". That I'm taking some time. That I was working up until last year. And then I wondered to myself why I felt the need to do that. For some reason, I still have a hard time seeing myself as a stay-at-home mom. I am a working mom who is taking a break. All the people I've met this year only know me as a stay-at-home mom, but I still don't see myself that way. Perhaps because the plan is for me to return to work after another year. It is a long break, but it really is just a break.
I am enjoying many things about this time, but one thing I appreciate is being able to relate to both sets of parents. To the ones who stay at home, I can talk about preschools, after-school activities, how to get things done around the house... To the ones who work, I can still relate and talk about the evening rush hour, prepping for the week ahead, drop-offs, day cares, the mad dash to get dinner ready... I've seen both sides. I understand.
One side is not better than the other, of course. The answer depends on the person, the family, the time. I'm fairly certain I would not have been happy staying at home just a few years ago. But at this moment, for now, it is working for us.