Monday, December 8, 2008

Four Years

It's been four years since I left the working world to become a stay at home mom. A lot has changed for me since that day~we've moved, and I've had 3 more children. I remember being so incredibly adamant with Doug when we got pregnant with Drew that I WOULD be staying home and that we'd need to figure out how to make everything work so that I could do that. My mom stayed home until I was old enough to watch my brother for a bit after school (when I was 12 and he was 10) and in my mind that's how I wanted my life to be. I can honestly say, four years later, that I didn't do quite enough soul searching at that time. I looked at the finances, realized that the cost of two in daycare would take almost my entire paycheck at a job I didn't love, and said I wanted to stay home. I have a tendency to put my mind to something without thoroughly thinking it through. This was one of those times.

I know there are those out there who would love to stay home and cannot for financial reasons, and those of you who love working and know that staying at home isn't for you. I don't begrudge anyone their choices; everyone has to do what is best for them and their family and no one has the right to tell them otherwise. Right now I am talking about MY choices and how they affect ME.

Being a stay at home mom for ME is incredibly difficult. I love my children dearly, but there are days when I would rather be anywhere but here. The days tend to blend together. There is no structure, aside from the girls' afternoon nap, and I am a person who likes some structure. The monotony of being at home all the time gets to me and by the time Doug gets home at night I feel like the house has closed in on me. I think his exact words were "raving lunatic" or some such thing. I'm sure a lot of that lately has to do with all those broken bones we've been dealing with. Izzie can't spend much time strapped in a car seat or stroller because it hurts, so we're forced to spend more time here. The girls are almost 2. Every reader with a child over 2 knows what that age is like, and having that doubled is enough to do a person in. Drew will be 4 in three weeks. He's bored to tears on the days he isn't at school. Put it all together and it's enough to make us all crazy.

Am I doing my children a disservice by being home with them? There are days when I heartily say YES to that. I feel like they don't get the best of me, and that is what they need to grow up healthy and happy. I'm sure they can feel my sadness and I know they've seen me cry and not know why. I certainly don't want to go back to work just because being at home is hard and it stresses me out; that would make my kids feel like I don't love them and I'm just running away from them. It's a terrible position to be in. Of course all I want is for them to be happy and if happy for them means that I'm not here all the time then maybe it's something I really need to consider. I know what I'd like to do if I got a job, and I wouldn't be doing it for the money because it pays squat. However, if working means that my children are happier and healthier, and in turn so am I, then maybe it's time.


Robyn said...

I know that had to have been terribly hard for you to post. And there's no easy answer.

In some ways, I think it was good that I had NO choice. With my student loans, I could NOT leave all the income-earning to Hubby. Not having a choice takes the guilt out of that.

That being said, I think an unhappy momma will make for unhappy children. No one situation works for every family. It sounds like your current situation isn't working for you and, in turn, isn't working for your kids. The answer may not be in returning to work, but maybe in getting more of a break from them (and them from you).

If you could get someone to come to your home a couple days a week for 4 hours (and you LEAVE), whether it's so you can work or just go grocery shopping or go to Dunkin Donuts, that might help. It certainly wouldn't cost what daycare does.

Sorry this is so long. I know this weighs heavily on your heart. I wish I could help!

creative kerfuffle said...

oh sweetie, i know how hard this post must have been to write. maybe you do need to get out of the house, even if it's just for a few hours like robyn said, or maybe you do need to think about working outside the home. i know i sometimes whine about wanting to be a SAHM but honestly i don't think it would work for my family (aside from the fact that we'd have to move, stop eating, etc.). i couldn't do what you've been doing for four years. i know you'll find the right thing to do that works best for your family. big hugs!!!

AndreAnna said...

We must be on the same wavelength this week. Sorry you're feeling so shitty.

Thia said...

And it certainly doesn't help that Christmas is coming faster than a speeding bullet, says someone who has had some similar thoughts.

Jess said...

It seems so unfair to have to deal with this, that everyone one of us has to consider these things at some point. I think it is absolutely true that what your kids need is a mother who feels balanced and sated and grounded, and if staying at home with the kids all the time isn't giving that to you, then there's nothing wrong with doing something different, even if it's not your dream job, to try and achieve that kind of balance. I hope you can figure this out.

CassJustCurious said...

I have nothing amazing to say (big shocker) but I'll say that I'm thinking of you and that even on your very worst day you're still the one person that loves your kiddos more then anyone else on the planet. And as my grandma told me all the time as a child "I don't have to like you to love you...and your damn lucky that's true."

Jessica said...

Can you work around your husbands schedule and just do something really limited part time? I know that I have troubles being home all day, but I try really, really hard to just not let it get to me. Doesn't matter cause I still have those moments.

Astarte said...

Staying at home means that your kids get *all* of you - the good AND the bad. If you were the perfect parent you wouldn't be normal, and no one at PTA would speak to you.

Could you maybe volunteer at something an evening a week, or join a book group or some other social club that meets only once in awhile? That would get you out of the house and doing something adult without having to work out childcare.

Anonymous said...

I'm rather late to the party (as usual) and it's all been said.

I SO get where you're coming from with this. I love my kid more than anything, but I have my days where the patience is nil and I have to keep apologizing for snapping at her. Everyday when the husband gets home, I skip out. Sometimes it's just to go grocery shopping or to the library or run errands. Other times, I sit in Borders and read or I drive around and jam to my music as loud as I want. I can be gone for 30 minutes or two hours--it's knowing I get that "freedom" that helps.

Hang in there--you'll make the right decision :)

Anonymous said...

I would say it sounds as though it is time to do something new especially if being home all day makes you that unhappy and miserable. Try to find something that you can do to at least cover the child care expense and maybe a few extra dollars because after all your sanity is worth something. Best of luck on your decision. I could never stay home with 4 kids day in and day out. Without having an outlet for me. Whether it be work or play. I think it is crazy that you are beating yourself up about it too.

Mommy Brain said...

Whatever you decide don't feel guilty about it. I truly believe that the choice to work or stay home should be based on what makes mom happiest. Not money. You love your children whether you stay at home or go to work. And a memory of a happy mom goes a long way.

Twins are a LOT of work. Particularly when you have older children to take care of. I know I wouldn't be able to survive without the help of my friends with multiples. I also make it a point to do something outside the house at least one night a week.

My other thought is have you considered finding part time work? or job sharing? Some companies like this because then they aren't paying full time benefits. A few of my "twin mommy" friends do this and find that it gives them time at home with the kids as well as time to be an adult.

Good luck!!!