August 03, 2010

What's a girl to do?

I'm contemplating that age old conundrum we women face.  Stay home and raise the kids or go to work?  I have been crazy  fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom for the last seven years- save a few months when Sadie was teeny tiny and we were so flat broke that I went back to doing odd ball jobs for a while. 

I've known my whole life that I wanted to be a mom.  In the seventh grade I decided that I would have eight children.  (That is SO not happening! I would flush my head right down the toilet!) I had all their names picked out and written on a little piece of notebook paper that I kept stuffed in my nightstand.  I changed those kid's last names every time I changed boyfriends.  For some reason, in high school, I changed boyfriends like I changed underwear.  So those poor imaginary kids that were all named after flowers (I so should have been a teen in the 1970's) had a million different last names.  Then when I got to high school, I thought that I would have a whole bunch of kids and still be some big executive. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a corporate attorney.  I had visions for this huge career.  I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

And then the time in my life came to actually have children. (And go me!  I have changed ways since high school and all my kids actually have the same last name! HA!)  When I first held Sadie in my arms, I knew that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  I threw that big career dream out the window.  I was MORE than happy to do that. I wanted to be home with my baby girl.  With one child, I have to say, I was an awesome stay-at-home mom.  We would spend hours reading books.  We did the museums and the zoo and had playdates and did all kinds of enriching things. I kept a clean house, still hosted dinner parties, and had a hot meal on the table just about every night.

Then baby number 2 came along.  I still wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  With all the therapy that Noah required, it is a good thing that I was home, too.  But so many of the wonderful parts about staying at home were falling by the wayside.  We just couldn't seem to get out to the door to do the museums that often.  I found it nearly impossible to read a book that would hold both kid's attention.  I started having to have hubby bring home Wendy's way more often than I care to admit because I just couldn't get dinner on the table. But I still loved being at home with my children and being the center of their lives.  And because I loved what I was doing, I still felt fulfilled not having a "career".

Now that number three is here I am having that "Holy Hell!  Why in the world do I want to stay at home?" feeling.  I'm starting to feel torn and I wonder if this (staying at home) is really the right thing for me at this point in my life and if I am doing what is best for my children.  I know that the most important thing we can give our children is a happy mom.  I'm starting to wonder if I just can't hack being a stay-at-home mom anymore and if I'd be happier going back to work.  Don't for one second think that I am complaining.  I realize just how blessed I am to have the option.  I know that there are people out there who would give their left lug nut for the opportunity to stay home with their children.

My dilemma feels complex.  If I go back to work, it would be for purely selfish reasons- I just want to go to work, put on high heels, eyeliner, and have adults to speak to that don't live inside my computer.  Plus, the income would be nice. But after seven years out of the workforce, would I even be able to find a job?  I doubt that putting "blogging" on my resume will count for squat.

I also wonder if going back to work reinforces to my child who is struggling to attach that people will continue to leave him.  But I also wonder if I go back to work and I'm not around him all day every day, if he might stop taking out the brunt of his issues on me.  But then what if he feels like he doesn't have a punching bag?  Will he spontaneously combust?  Or will he rip a nanny to shreds?  And if I'm not here doing the therapy with the boys, who will do it?  (The answer is no one.)  Or will I maybe be so happy out in the working world that the rest of my family will feed on my happiness? Will I feel so fulfilled out there doing something outside of these four walls that I will just shoot rainbows out my butt?  Will spending less time with my children actually make our relationship better and make me cherish them more?  Then the what if's crawl into my head and I worry that the repercussions of what may happen if I go back to work almost feel to lofty to even think about this little experiment. 

Then there is the issue of the workload.  There will still be the same amount of dinner to make, dishes to wash, laundry to do, homework to complete, therapies to go to, groceries to buy, books to be read and fun to be had that I will be cramming into 3 hours with my kids everyday instead of having the whole day to do it.  Working moms deserve a medal.  So do stay-at-home moms. (someone give me a freakin' medal!)  After weighing the pros and cons for weeks, I just can't make a decision about whether or not to go back to work to try to preserve my sanity.  Hell, who am I kidding?  I can't even make a decision about what to eat for lunch!  Such is life!  And thus, the conundrum continues.  What's a girl to do?

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