After 11 years and three babies while working you would think this question would no longer cross my mind, but it does. I did stay home with my first child until she was almost 2. Then I had a job offer, and I can safely and reverently say I have found the unicorn of jobs for a mom of four — a wonderful community, coworkers, schedule, and work. I am beyond fortunate.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t ask myself the question, What if I stayed home again? Do I want to? Absolutely not. No. Some Sunday nights I am desperate for Monday morning, the quiet of my desk, a hot coffee, and the silence and time to drink it in peace. I need a challenge that doesn’t involve folding laundry or wiping a kid’s nose. And my kids are older now. They need school, friends, activities, adult role models, and instruction other than me and what I can give them.
But still. I think about it. Mostly when I haven’t been able to get to the grocery store in more than a week and all we have is a bruised apple and an open La Croix in the fridge and eat cereal for dinner (again). Mostly when I am exhausted, overwhelmed, tired out, and drowning in the aforementioned laundry. Mostly when I really want to exercise, consistently and regularly, and not just for 30 mins on a random Tuesday because the dog needed a walk. Mostly when the weather is gorgeous, and I haven’t finished a book in five months and I just want to sit in the sun and read. Mostly when I am impatient and grouchy with my kids at the end of a long day at the office.
I think about it when my kids have random days off, and I’ve asked NINE people to babysit and no one is available. I think about it when one kid needs a red T-shirt for some dress-up day or cornstarch for some project, and I have no time to get either and Amazon can’t help me because it won’t arrive in time. I think about it when I spend $30 for Instacart delivery. When there’s a field trip I can’t go on, and my kindergartners cry when I pick them up because I wasn’t at the zoo with them. When my son has another doctor’s appointment. When my daughter has a dance competition in another state, and I use my precious vacation days to take her. I think about it.
But. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. (I am thankful for that precious two years home when I was learning how to be a mama for the first time). And I know, I’m actually not a better mom when I stay home. I’m a better person when I work, and that in turn helps me be a better mom. This might not be the case for some people. But it is for me. So even though I still ask myself the question, and probably always will, I know the answer.
And I’m good with it.