As my husband can tell you, I went into this motherhood thing kicking and screaming. I was Miss Career Woman in my 20's. Not that I had that great of a career (mental health therapist), but I loved working and having my own paycheck. Independence was my middle name, even when all my friends were having babies and the pressure was on. But when I learned my brother and his wife wanted kids, something clicked for me and suddenly I wanted to try out this kid thing. Still, the change over was a tough one. Here is some of the nitty gritty I found out about staying home:
1. I miss my paycheck!! - I knew that relying on my husband's income was going to be tough, but man! I also miss having my own spending money and say so about my budget. It's awful having to ask for money from my husband. I still hate it.
2. Talking to other adults- I was so lonely when I first had kids. One, it's too much to drag all that baby stuff everywhere you want to go, so you can't just go out to see a friend, and two, you just don't have time. The isolation is crushing at first and I got a bit depressed as a result.
3. Setting my own schedule- I love this bonus! I don't have a boss (unless you count the kids), I run the house as I see fit, coming and going as I choose. It also means I never stop working at a set time anymore, but that is ok with me. I get to go to the gym, eat out with friends, shop, etc. No scheduling things around the 9 to 5.
4. Other moms- it was such a comfort to me to be able to talk with other moms about all my worries and concerns when my kids were little. And most of them didn't work full time either, so we had time to talk. And I've made some great friends as a result.
5. Keeping the house in order- this is a good and bad. I don't have to wait until weekends and nights to clean, get laundry done, etc. but I do have 4 other people working against me on this. Man, those kids can make a mess! And apparently I look like a maid cause they keep making messes even after I've read them the riot act.
6. Dinner- ok, pretty simple. But I used to dread dinner when I worked. Dragging myself home after work and coming up with something to make when I'd rather just eat a sandwich everyday was not fun. Now I have all day to throw something together and I often make regular food, not much take out or prepackaged food. Though some days Mc Donald's is all I can manage!
7. Co-workers- I had some great co-workers and some real doozies. I miss the great ones and not the others! But it's nice at home cause I can choose pretty much who I deal with all day now, or just spend the day alone.
8. Having my own business- I just started my own business with my brother in law and his brother (he's my brother in law too, right?). Anyway, having the time to start the business and get it going is wonderful. I can research, call who I need to call, and make meetings without all the worries of a regular job in the way. And maybe I can get back that paycheck too!
9. Taking a day off- At work, we used to have "mental health days" because of the nature of our careers. But any day I needed off, I had to call someone or sign a slip to ask permission. Now, I can take a day if I need to. Not that I won't get behind with my work, but if I don't feel well or just need a day, I can take it. No permission needed.
10. The stigma- I've noticed that society in general tends to look down on stay at home moms. We are catagorized as "housewives" or "homemakers" which sounds a bit old fashioned to me, since we do so much more these days. People assume that if you stay home, you don't have an education or have never contributed to society. Raising kids is not an admired profession, it seems.
11. Keeping up with my profession- My professional licenses require me to get continuing education credits to maintain them. And since I no longer have access to an employer who will pay for me to obtain those credits, I have to do it on my own. Plus, I get behind on new ideas and findings in my field just by the fact that I don't have contact with anyone in my profession anymore, except my husband. And I know he doesn't want to spend time keeping me informed!
12. This is a hard job!- I used to think going to work was hard, but nothing prepared me for the sheer exhaustion of being a parent. And apparently I don't learn too quickly because I have three kids. To say it's overwhelming is a severe understatement. I also had no help so that made it ten times worse. It's easier now, but I still have moments where I'm not sure I'm qualified for this job.
13. My kids- Couldn't leave them out! The best, most wonderful part of this whole thing is that I get to be there for my kids. I realize that I am more than blessed to even be able to stay home, especially nowadays. From skinned knees to an extra hug at the end of a bad day, I can be there for it all. Forget the lack of money, time or any other struggle, my kids are worth it.