We’ve been on the hunt for a suitable daycare situation for over a month now. I’m pretty set right now on returning to work after Turtle is born. I’m not sure it’s even a choice. Could we maybe scrimp and save so I could stay home with Turtle full time? Maybe. But do I even want to?
While part of me would love to spend all day every day with my child, smothering him in this overwhelming love that already pulses through my veins, part of me, frankly, would not. (Though if money weren’t an issue, I probably would.) But I know what it is to be home with only kids and chores all day (granted, they were not MY kids, and I know that does matter) and I don’t care so much to do it again. I also know what it is to live on basically one income, relying completely on my husband to provide for me. I don’t care to do that again either.
Should I be feeling more guilty about this than I do? Should I be torn and crying over having to go back to work? I know I will feel differently once he’s born, and of course, depending on any complications that come up, I very well may not be returning to work when I plan to. But for now, I’m kind of okay with it.
I just happened to read this blog post from the sister of a husband of a friend of mine, who stays home with her three kids. At first I felt a flash of guilt upon reading this. She argues that no one loves and adores your kids like you do. Which is of course true, but I’d argue, so what? Why does my kid need to be worshipped and adored all day? Are any of us, once we get older and leave the house for school, college, work, etc.? As long as his needs are met and he’s engaged with in a kind, engaging and appropriate manner, he can get all the lovin’ and more that he needs when he comes home to mama and papa.
Confession: I was a daycare kid my whole life. My daycare providers at times had less patience for me than my parents, but it taught me a lot. And anyways, I didn’t need them for love. I definitely resented not having a stay-at-home mom at times, when I got sick at school and the nurse had to call a neighbor to come pick me up. Or when my parents weren’t endlessly available to go on field trips, volunteer at school, etc. But I also really respected my mom for her career and learned so much from her confidence as she went out into the world every day and brought home respect from her work world and a decent salary too. I wrote about this a few years ago on my personal blog much more eloquently.
I also recently read another much better blog post on this whole debate. On why women feel the need to belittle each other’s choices. Is it because we’re jealous of what we don’t have? The truth is, you’re going to feel guilty no matter what choice you make. But there’s as much value in choosing to stay home as there is in choosing to go to work.
As far as I can tell, no matter what decision a woman makes, she’s offering an invaluable gift to my daughters and me. So I’d like to thank all of you. Because I’m not necessarily trying to raise an executive or a mommy. I’m trying to raise a woman. And there are as many different right ways to be a woman as there are women.
I started this post thinking I was going to dive into our daycare hunt but I’ll save that for another day. For now, there’s just this: I’m choosing what works best for me and my family right now. I reserve the right to change my choice as my needs and the needs of my family evolve. And no matter what, I’m doing so with respect for all women who must walk this difficult line of to stay home or to work, every day.