I remember when I first became a mom, I strongly desired going back to work to “use my brain,” and to have “adult conversations.” I felt home bound a lot due to breastfeeding, naps or a sick baby and thought my new life was void of the conversations and intellectual simulations I needed to grow and feel important. Zane is now two and as I reflect now on the aforementioned beliefs and even hearing new moms say it following their update that they’ve returned to work, I realize how close-minded I was with this thinking. Daily, my brain is overworked to the point that it needs to check out. Do I feel dumb because I spend most of my time with a toddler? Heck no! I feel smarter than ever with my refined problem-solving, planning, and negotiating skills, along with all the parenting knowledge I’ve read. I never stop thinking; there’s meal planning, injuries, discipline, taking care of my husband, sleep training, potty training, self-care, swim lessons, etc. The list is endless! Further, I have enough thought-provoking, meaningful adult conversations that sometimes I need a break from meeting up socially with anyone. How did this become the case? As tiring as it is staying at home with Zane, and future kids, I’ve appreciated the fact that I get to create what our life looks like on a micro- and macro-level. In other words, I get to choose what our days look like and overall, what teachings, value, beliefs, etc. I want Zane to grow up with through my guidance while staying home. How does this look like for us? Well… I’m not a routine, habitual person so therefore my rule of thumb is, as long as Zane naps, plays, eats, and is clean, his needs are met. It does not need to be at the same time exactly everyday. Of course I get hung up on how long his nap is, or how many he had, or the quality of food he consumed, but overall, I’m pretty flexible. Therefore, I have cultivated a flexible life for us that includes daily play dates or meet ups with my childless friends. Most of the time he gets to play, and sometimes he just has to make do with what’s around if we aren’t at a park or around toys. It is during these social occasions that my need for adult conversations has been met and exceeded. Namely it is because I handpick my social meet ups and each person fulfills a different need I have. But best of all- I get to build relationships and be present for someone. Put together, I never feel like I’m missing something that work would fulfill.
I’m thankful for the life I have as a stay-at-home mom, even when the days are rough. I wouldn’t do a thorough job serving my family and especially other people (by way of being there for them) if I had to juggle work outside the home as well. This is what works for me/us. I know everyone’s situation and feelings vary.