Monday, August 13, 2007

free your mind, and the rest will follow...

This is post #98 by the way, only two more until the big 100th!

One of my inner battles lately has been whether or not I should return to work or stay home until the kids go off to elementary school. A few months ago, when I enrolled them in a part-time Christian pre-school, it was for the purpose of socialization and a few hours of free time for myself. I wondered if the stress sometimes associated with getting them ready and out the door was worth the 6 hours a week of "free time" I would be getting. By the time I got them all strapped in and dropped off I would be rushing to get back for them. Regardless, I decided that it was worth it for them . They too could use some quality time away from home, some mental stimulation, and some socialization.

I have always imagined myself being a SAHM and felt Blessed that financially we could pull it off. What I had not stopped to realize was that in exchange I am becoming a sleep deprived, impatient, unmotivated, stressed out Mommy. My kids are three of the most adorable, wonderful kids out there. Don't get me wrong. We have so many special moments together, we laugh, we play. But truth be told, I am worn out. The abundance of energy that these three little ones have has caught up with me. The noise level, the fighting, the destruction of anything and everything, the messes, the uncontrollable laundry and dishes...I need to step away from it all. I had to be VERY honest with myself to admit that I am overwhelmed, worn out, and ready for change. I have struggled with guilt over even considering going back to work while other Mother's are forced to. I have a choice, some do not. I had a short conversation with one of my best friends Angie not long ago. She is a working Mother of triplets, the same age as mine. As I vented my frustrations out to her for the hundredth time, Bless her heart for always listening, she pointed out that being home with them all day every day probably added to the stress. I gave that a lot of thought. There are times that I put the kids down, hurry and get dressed(yes, at 8pm), and race out the door to wherever is still open. Why am I finding peace everywhere but in my own home? I know a whole new set of challenges come with balancing a career and family, but I suspect that a Mother who works races home to find her peace. To hug and kiss all over her children and cherish every second she has with them. Either way the messes and the laundry are here to stay, but I have found that I am completely unmotivated to keep up on the messes that are reoccurring as quickly as I can clean them. I am outnumbered.

Last week, which will explain my absence in blog land, I threw my resume back together, pulled out some of my old work clothes and got on the ball. I cannot explain how liberating a feeling that was. To look at my own resume and remember how hard I worked for those credentials. I had a respectable career, I almost forgot that I was capable of more than mothering. To have the phone ring for interviews in response, I was amazed that I was still marketable after these few years off. The excitement came flooding in. I realized that somewhere deep down, I had been lying to myself. I have missed my old self. I want to emphasize that I take the responsibility of Motherhood very seriously. I respect each and every one of you who is in the trenches, spending every last bit of your energy on your household. It is admirable, and I am the first to praise you. But I have to be true to myself, and I think my time as a SAHM is up. I feel as if I gave my kids a solid 2 1/2 years of my undivided attention. They will always & forever be my first priority and my greatest love. But I am going to try and rid myself of any guilt I have for putting them in preschool full time and taking a part of myself back. I think it will in turn balance our crazy lives out. They will have the opportunity to learn in an atmosphere where Mommy is not always saying NO! and GET DOWN! all day. They will learn to play with other kids, count, read, learn the alphabet, and all those other things that I cannot always be consistent with. And I will get to do something I am passionate about and feel a sense of accomplishment. When I am home, I will appreciate that time so much more.

So this is what is going on in our lives right now. These are tough decisions to make, but the Lord will guide us in the right direction. I have done much praying about it and will continue to seek his answers.


Undomestic Goddess said...

I am so proud of you! There comes a moment in every mommies life when she realizes it's "time" , I have been at the same place since the boy started school, but now I too think it time to get out there and find me again.

3 Peas N A Pod said...

Congratulations! I have been struggling with the exact same situation.

Take care,

Laura said...

I will be the first to admit that being home is not always easy! UGH! I totally relate to your comment about rushing to get dressed and get to the first store still open (after they go to bed). My husband does not get this! I really wish you luck as you take this next step!

loren said...

congrats on making that decision! I hope you find a dream job - at least you aren't pressured to settle for a job you'd hate, right?

being a SAHM really save me. I've been going to school and am trying to find my OWN dream job :)

Erickson 5 said...

I can totally relate to this post and I feel that I should respond.

When my babies were born I went back to work 3 days a week when they turned 4 months. The only reason I felt I could do this was that my husband was working from home and had his eyes and ears on the situation with our nanny. Six months later I was told that I either needed to go back full time or quit. I was so stressed out at that time. I decided to quit and spend all my days with my kids. I Loved my year at home and it was so nice to get to know my kids ins and outs.

Then all of a sudden an opportunity fell into my lap and I could not resist. I was freaking out about going back to work and it was only going to be for 2 days a week. I did go back and I have been told by both my husband and my mother that I am a different person now. I am more patient with my kids and I cherish my time with them more. To me I feel I have the best of both worlds. I get to work on my career two (sometimes more depending on demand) days a week and get five days with the kids. I am very lucky to have the work situation that I have and I love how it is working out for all of us.

Last fall we decided to put our kids in daycare one day a week. THEY LOVED IT! My kids really got so much more independant from this. Also, they have new friends and the teachers love them too. It really is the best for all of us.
I do have my days where I do not want to go to work because I feel like I am missing out. However, once I get to work and get to turn off the mommy role and turn on the Manager roll it feels soooo good!

Good luck with your decision. It is so hard to know what to do and to find a job that you want. Who knows maybe something will come up for you that would be part time too. Then you can have a good balance between both worlds.

Jennifer said...

I work part-time but have been pondering this very issue. There was a great Oprah show on this very subject yesterday 'My Baby or My Job' that I felt very enlightening.

I blogged about it last night but the gist of the show was that it doesn't matter whether you chose to work or not work. What matters is that you are attuned to yourself and your children and actively engaged in their life. So, if you need a job to feel vital and whole and in turn can give more to your children that may be the best decision for you AND your family. Or if you choose to stay home but can stay connnected instead of exhausted and checked out - that's great too.

Personally, at this time in my life I think i need some time away to be full for my children.


The Brookharts said...

I heard at a Christian Mom's conference that stay at home mom's only spend 30 minutes more a day with their children than working moms. I don't know if that's true or not. Their point was that cleaning can wait, laundry can wait, spend the time with your kids. And that working women cherish their time more because they have less of it. That has always stuck in my head. I work from 7 am - 1pm five days a week. I try super hard to make my home time count.

I hate to admit it but I don't think I could stay at home. They would drive me crazy. (I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 1 year old triplets). I think sometimes we guilt ourselves into believing that we're the only person in the world that can care for our kids. We take our 5 kids to a wonderful, christian sitter 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. They sing Christian songs, they read from the bible, they have fun. She is always doing different things with the kids and teaching them things I don't think to teach them.

Some women are amazing that way and have all the patience in the world to be with their kids 24 hours a day...and I truly, truly admire them. I need adult interaction. I need a break. I feel really guilty about it sometimes...but I think in our situation, it works. I think every woman is different and every woman truly knows what she wants.

If you feel guilty...maybe you could move back into the work force slowly with just a few days or hours a week? I admire your honesty. Being a mom is hard. I think that what I will miss the most by working is all the fun stuff when they get into school...volunteering at school, going on field trips, etc. But I thankfully work for a Christian organization that is very family oriented and flexible. God Bless.

Casey's trio said...

I am a working mom and I do feel like it balances me out and makes me a better mom. I am more patient and re-energized when I get home in the afternoon. There is no harder job than a SAHM...for sure.
Good luck with your decision and I hope you find your peace with it.