June 4, 2013

Both Sides Now...

Traditional Home

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.


  1. Hello....so I sit writing this after a day at work! I did the school run this morning, then home, walked the dog, then work (late late late!), then school run, then home. Now homework, dinner, bath, life!!! There is no 'better' way of doing and but I am sure that if you and I compared and contrasted the experience of stopping work we would reach the same conclusions. As you know I have thought and thought about all of this and still reach the conclusion that you can do it all but there is a cost! Better to take the chance to look from both sides and see what benefits each brings. And of course there is always the knowledge that for millions of women it's not a choice for financial reasons.

    I think the more time that passes the more you'll ease into the new role - we have all been defined by what we did as a job rather than who we are as people. If I met you, be it the working Mary or the stay at home one, I am sure we'd get on like a house on fire and I wouldn't give a second thought to which 'camp' you resided in. L x

    1. "...get on like a house on fire" - what a wonderful way of expressing it! Indeed we would. ;-)

  2. I always feel the need to justify my "stay at home" situation to other moms too, because before Emma I always had a job. I don't know why I do it either. :]


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