Monday, October 17, 2011

My attempt to end the SAHM vs. Working Mom debate

In Carina's short 9 months of life we've had a number of different arrangements. First, I was home with her all day for my 12 weeks of maternity leave. Then, I worked part-time for another 12 weeks. After that I worked full-time for just over 2 months. At the end of August I stopped working and am now with Carina all day every day, once again.

My conclusion after doing all three? Staying at home is definitely the hardest - for me.

For me.

Personally, I have found that working part-time is easiest. Just when I start to get frustrated/irritated/pooped on/screamed at I can hand her over to someone else. Perfect. Working full-time was harder - I was trying to do too much which resulted in me feeling like I wasn't being a good Mother, wife, or employee. But, I was able to converse with other adults on a daily basis and didn't have to be responsible for the needs of another person all the time.

Staying at home has been the hardest. Carina is only napping for a total of an hour a day {most days}, she cries when I put her down, and she would rather eat our cats' tails than table food. M is working on his thesis round the clock so I barely ever get a break. Each day is like a mini-struggle and sometimes I find myself counting down the hours until I can put her to sleep just so I can breathe. Mother of the year right here. This too shall pass, right? I know it's only a phase and will get better {hopefully}, but oh man in the meantime it is freaking hard. That said, I cherish the time I have with her. She giggles and it erases all of my frustration in the wake of hours of fussing.

Clean this up, Mommy. Oh, and there's another mess for you in my diaper.

My Mommy friends and I talk about staying-at-home and working quite often. Unfortunately, even the most benign conversations such as "how do you find time for yourself as a stay-at-home Mom?" or "how do you manage to stay on top of everything while working full-time?" somehow erupt into a debate about who has it harder.

It seems to me that the majority of Moms neglect to realize that we are all different. What I think is hard, you might think is a breeze. What challenges you, I might cruise through easily. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think there is a definitive verdict in this debate; it's personal. Working was easier for me, but it might be harder for you. Keep this in mind and encourage, appreciate, and celebrate your fellow Moms...rather than assume, condemn, and judge them. The former is more fun anyway, especially when wine is involved ;)


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