Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom: I’ve done both!

Working mom vs. stay at home mom

It’s the ultimate debate in mommyhood

I’m not here to preach which one is best but wanted to share my experience with being both, a working mom and a stay at home mom. I can see the challenges and the perks of both positions and made a decision based on my experience and personal preference. But how many moms get to experience both? Not many. I wish every mom had the opportunity to experience both because it has opened my eyes to my parenting style and has changed the way I plan to parent in the future.

Working Mom

When I was a working mom, I had this mom guilt like you wouldn’t believe. I could never use a babysitter because all non-working hours were dedicated to my children. I would pick them up from daycare and make sure we were able to do something before going home for dinner and doing night routine. We went to the park, the beach, a hike, ride bikes,or the library.  The weekends were just another opportunity to up my game on the outings. We went to museums, farms, aquariums, amusement parks, longer hikes and bikes rides.

I was on a mission to make memories everyday with my children.

Why? Because I was a working mom and I needed to squeeze in these memories after 4pm on the weekdays and on the weekends. I was trying to overcompensate for the hours that I wasn’t home making memories with them. It was all about the children.

But at what cost?

Meanwhile, my marriage was suffering. I was exhausted and didn’t have time to squeeze in time for my husband. We would get a babysitter about every three months, once a season for a couple of hours to enjoy ourselves. That’s four times a year! How did we have a second child, I don’t know. We never had time for each other.

Then I lost the baby weight and then I lost more weight. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, I just didn’t have time to eat. In the morning I rushed around packing bags for daycare and in the evening I was making memories with the kids. Night time routine took forever with prepping three different meals for dinner because everyone wanted something different, two different baths, and two different bed times. I was exhausted. I didn’t stop until after my kids went to bed and my face hit the pillow. I went to sleep hungry.

I bit my nails to the quip with anxiety and I never indulged in self care. That would require time away from the children and that was just not acceptable when I already spent 40 hours away from them working.

Then I lost my job.

I am going on my second month as a stay at home mom. It was so hard the first two weeks adjusting to being a stay at home mom. The first week as a stay at home mom was awful! My toddler had tantrums all day, every day. Why? Because I no longer had mom guilt and was setting limits.  As a working mom, I was so concerned about spending time with my children that I set very few limits.

You want cookies before bed? Sure.

You don’t want to take a nap? Ok.

You want me to buy you that toy? You got it!

I was so stuck on my mom guilt and engulfed in creating these great  memories with my kids that I never stopped to see the bigger picture.

I was creating entitled, spoiled brats.

via GIPHY

Now, that I’m a stay at home mom, my guilt is gone. My kids nap everyday, they do chores, I say “no” without flinching, and I even tell them the dreaded phrase, “Because I said so!” I am the parent and I set the limits for my children. It was a challenge at first but now I love it. I use a babysitter, I go on dates with my husband, I eat, I shop, I even watch TV on my kindle when the kids are napping! It’s great! My kids are doing better, I’m doing better, the family is doing better.

All good things must come to an end

As much as I’ve enjoyed being a stay at home mom and regaining control of my household and life, it’s not for me. I enjoy working and I miss it. I miss having an identity other than “mom”. I miss excelling at something and being praised and compensated for what I do best.  I’ve decided to go back to work at a new school at the end of Summer. Being a working mom is not for everyone, same as being a stay at home mom is not for everyone. I honestly wished every mom had the opportunity to try both so they can see where they belong.

Let me Reflect

As I reflect on my experience of being a stay at home mom and returning back to work in the Fall, I know that the guilt I carried and the expectations I had for myself were unrealistic. My kids will be fine if I use a babysitter. They will be fine if I say “No”. Every day doesn’t have to be an adventure and it’s ok for my kids to be bored and wait for mommy. If there is one thing I learned from this, it’s a healthy mommy makes a healthy family.