“Staying at home” versus “working” can stir up some raw feelings among mothers. But, I love to share stories about the “truths” of motherhood. Today, I would like to share my experience going from an exclusively stay-at-home mom to working part time in my profession.
I loved staying at home with my children. Even though I never intended to take a huge chunk of time off work, I loved being at home with my infants more than I ever imagined. Something felt very right about being the one to fine tune their ever changing schedule, knowing what they needed and when, and being there for every first (which happened every few days in the infant world). Those first few months were all about my babies. And that felt wonderful. But, I had a strong desire to get back to a passion other than my kids when they were about 6 months old. For me, that meant returning to school to finish off my master’s degree which had been put on hold for 2 semesters while my life with triplets evolved. It was fabulous to put some focus back on myself and my ambitions and it was great to see my children still thrive even in my occasional absence.
Over the past year, I have started to work about 15-20 hours/week on my wellness business. Mostly I teach fitness bootcamps in the early AM and evenings, teach a few online classes, take on a few clients during the week and work on administrative bookeeping. The work keeps me submerged in something I find very satisfying (my profession) and I still get to spend lots of time with the loves of my life, my children and husband. I honestly feel blessed to experience the best of both worlds, work and family.
For me, work helps me feel complete. I love what I do. I loved being at home with my children but honestly, as busy and hard as being a mother to triplets is, I needed something more. I think some of us excel at certain things in life, whether that be business, a craft, writing, educating, etc. For those of us who have the option to pursue what really makes us happy, whether that be working at a traditional “out of the home” job, starting our own etsy business, decorating, or cooking, we should feel very blessed. For some, being an outstanding mother is a passion in itself, For me, my passion lies elsewhere and in order to feel complete, I needed to work again.
Since I have started work, I’m a lot more even-tempered. I don’t find my emotions running amok nearly as often and I feel a whole lot less lonely. I stay very busy and I like that. Most importantly, I feel very content and “me”, and isn’t that what we all want out of life? There are some trade-offs. I rarely have time to cook so our menu isn’t as diverse as I would like. My house also isn’t nearly as clean or organized as I would like. Sometimes I wish I could take several weeks off to decorate but then I realize, I don’t really like decorating anyway.
Working outside the home for me is much more than a much needed break from my children. I think it is for most of us. It is a chance to do something that I love that doesn’t involve my children. It is therapeutic. I find I am truly present with my children when I am with them and when I am away, I can take a breather and get a new perspective on the chaos of life.
But how do my children feel about me working? Who really knows. They seem to really like going to preschool 2 days/week, eagerly running to their classroom but just as eagerly greeting me when I come to pick them up. Their vocabulary has exploded since starting school and I love that they have excellent teachers. Their weekly lesson plans, art projects, and songs are something I wouldn’t have so eloquently exposed them too otherwise. They also are VERY excited to see Grammy when she watches them two evenings a week, barely giving me a second glance as I leave the house. I still spend 4 complete days with them each week, I’m pretty sure they don’t mind me working.
I do admit, the days I get up knowing I have absolutely NOTHING else I must accomplish but hanging out with my kids are pretty fabulous. But, I don’t think they would be quite as fabulous if I didn’t know what was on the other side.
In the end, I think we are all “better mothers” as long as we feel fulfilled and content with who we are. I also think children know and grow to respect a mother’s individuality. Discovering that balance is just another way motherhood teaches us about ourselves.