- 3 years ago
- Wedding: December 2013
I wrote out an entire post and it was marked as spam so I apologize in advance if it eventually shows up.
I had my daughter in February. She was a colicky baby so the first couple of months were very rough. I had to supplement with formula very early because she kept losing weight and didn’t Boyfriend or Best Friend very well. She wasn’t tongue nor lip tied, she didn’t have reflux (we tried medication which didn’t help) and we tried different brands and types of formula before finding one that she could kind of tolerate. The doctors didn’t have any answers as there was nothing physically wrong with her. I got a lot of grief from the lactation consultants when I eventually went to formula full time but I was able to eveuntally “forgive” myself as I felt like a total failure.
I live in the US and got 12 weeks maternity leave, plus I took an additional week off. At 8 weeks of age she got a lot better but I was still very much sleep deprived so I was quite crabby with my husband, which I still feel terrible about. I am a teacher so I had to go back to work in May. My mom came up from downstate to stay with us for the month so that I didn’t have to put Dear Daughter in day care. My mom was a complete blessing as she got up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. I finally got some more sleep but I still felt guilty every day at work. I plowed through it because I knew there was only one month left in the school year.
I never thought I would want to be a Stay-At-Home Mom but I have loved staying home this summer. I still need to do some school related things but it’s obviously different than having to go into the office everyday. My daughter is at such a curious age now and we’re in a routine so things have gotten so much easier. I am so less stressed. We can do family things when DH gets home from work instead of spliting up chores. My husband has noticed how happy I’ve been.
A few weeks ago I was jogging with Dear Daughter through our subdivision and I met a couple of moms walking their kids. We chatted a bit and they told me they have a mom group that meets a couple of times a month and invited me. Since we moved to this subdivision last summer I had not had much chance to meet neighbors so I was really looking forward to this group.
The get together was last Friday and I quickly discovered I was the only mom that worked. There is one other mom that does, but she’s a hairstylist and sets her own hours working from home. I didn’t realize that we had moved to an area where the SAHMs also have cleaning services (it’s actually a less expensive area then where we previously lived). I started to get a lot of questions about why I’m “choosing” to work, and insinuating that I’m a terrible mom for “letting someone else raise my child” by putting her in daycare. I was told that as a physician assistant, my husband makes enough to support us, even though I didn’t tell anyone his salary. There was a ton of judgment and I found myself defending my choice to work. I’ve been a teacher in my district for 10 years. I have a master’s degree and make decent money and I get good benefits.
But most importantly, I like my job. Some days I hate it, some weeks I hate it, but overall, I like it. There are some days it sucks and I’ve been teaching long enough to pine for when I first started when my job didn’t depend on my students test scores. I pine for the days where we didn’t have to follow common core crap. But I’m also taken on a more administrative role (I’m on the cirriculum committee for my district) and I can see the good I’ve done. At the same time my job doesn’t define me. I work to live, not live to work.
I actually don’t know any other SAHMs except the ones in my neighborhood that I was hoping to be friends with. My two best friends also have little ones but they are both RNs who have really cut down their hours. One works 2 or 3 shifts a month (and she’s pregnant with her second) while the other no longer staffs but works 3 days a week at a less stressful surgical center. So neither can completely understand the guilt I feel.
Is this what SAHMs think of working moms – that we’re bad because we’re “choosing” a career over our famllies? Because that was the distinct vibe I got from this get together.
Both my husband and I grew up with working moms, in a time where most moms were SAHMs. My mom is a veterinarian and his is also a teacher. My Father-In-Law works in construction and he has had good times and bad times. My husband has very clear memories of times where his dad went months without work and his mom keeping the family financially afloat because she worked. My mom loved her career but always found time to do PTA things and attend my sports; same with his. So we both had moms that were always around, even though they worked. I feel guilty at the thought of my husband having to be the sole provider. We have talked a lot about this and he’s so sweet and said if I really, really want to stay home, we would find a way to make it work. Well, I *could* stay home but it would take a lot of sacrifice and he has worked way too hard to ask him to do that. Plus, jobs are very competitive here and if I quit, it would be really hard for me to go back because I’m expensive. Financially, it just doesn’t make sense for me to stay home.
Why do I have to explain that to everyone? I know I can only control my response, but why am I judged as being less of a parent because I work? I know I am very hard on myself as I also am not in pre pregnancy shape and am intimidated easily by women who are able to physically bounce back right away after birth. I’m working on it but it’s been hard to realize my body will never be the same.
Can anyone else relate? I guess I’m just looking for some support. My husband said I should look for working mom groups so that’s what I’m going to do.
Thanks for letting me rant.