I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost four years now. Jeremy and I never talked about the possibility of me staying home while I was pregnant with Shade. I was actually pretty determined to remain a working mama, but I had a rough pregnancy with her. I was working retail and on my feet all day. Which wasn’t a problem at all until my second trimester when I started ALMOST passing out every day. I would start seeing spots and then everything went black. I never fully passed out, but I would have to sit down because I was afraid I’d fall. Every day that I worked I knew it was just a matter of WHEN it would happen. And it was always a tough recovery. I’d never been pregnant before, so I didn’t realize that there was something completely wrong with not being able to walk across a store without nearly passing out. I was also having contractions, but I didn’t know what they were at the time. I increased my water intake, I would carry snacks around in my pocket, but nothing helped the situation.
Then one day, when I was seven months pregnant, Jeremy and I went out to a restaurant. I was feeling GREAT and then I started hemorrhaging. We rushed to the hospital. Shade was OK, but I was a mess. I found out that I was anemic, I received two pints of blood, and I was put on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. Which wasn’t long, because I started hemorrhaging again a month later and Shade was born via emergency C-section. She was almost a month early.
I was pretty traumatized, so I was glad that my mom was able to stay with us for awhile. I can’t even describe how overwhelmed and just plain TIRED I was. I wasn’t ready for how ANY part of that happened and then I had a newborn with colic on top of it. At the same time I had multiple phone calls with my company’s HR department trying to make them understand that YES I planned for a normal delivery in February, but I ended up having an emergency C-section in January…and I’m sorry? I dreaded going back to work. It was depressing to even think about going back. I really liked my co-workers at the time, but I didn’t WANT to go back. I just wanted to rest and get used to my new role as a mother.
Luckily my husband was very understanding of how I felt. We looked at the bills together and realized that about half of the money I made from working would go straight to child care. It just didn’t make financial sense. But this also meant that my husband had to work extra hours to make up for the loss of income. And he was already working two jobs. But he did it. He would work Monday through Friday for ten hours a day. Then he’d work an eight hour shift on Sundays. And he never once complained about me staying home. I can’t even explain how lucky I am to have him as my husband.
I’ll admit that being a stay-at-home mom is lot more challenging than I ever thought it would be. Even more so now with two kids. I feel like whenever someone hears “stay-at-home mom” they immediately get this negative mental image of a mom on the couch eating bonbons. When in reality, it means you’re on duty 24/7. And the only breaks you get are those two minutes of silence before your kid realizes that you just went to the bathroom without them. I mean…HOW COULD YOU MOMMY! MY LIFE IS CLEARLY OVER! There is no clocking out and there’s no going home for the day.
And yes, there are those days that I envy working moms. I would love to leave the house and have adult conversations all day (as much as I love having conversations with my three year old, they can be quite confusing) and then come home to my awesome kids. The grass is always greener, right? But I also realize it would be extremely difficult to be up all night with a child and then have to get up and make myself look DECENT — like I WASN’T just up all night — before going to work. So hats off to you, working moms. You’re awesome.
But I think I’ll go back to work someday. Probably when both of the kids start school. I do have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology that sometimes I feel like I wasted my time on. But then one of the kids does something that I remember from a Psychology class and I thank God that I took those classes and I got that degree.
Overall, I know I’m right where I should be. I’m lucky that I get to spend so much time with my kids and witness so many of their milestones. And as difficult as it is sometimes, I know I won’t regret this time that I get to spend with them every day.