Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On Work/Life Balance

I used to just ignore all the silly mommy war blah blah about staying home or working.

Don't know what I'm talking about?
Well you are lucky (and under a very comfortable rock). The basic idea is that women judge each other relentlessly about their parenting choices. And a big topic is working.

Before 'Lil D I assumed you should just pick a side and go with it depending on your personality. I have no dog in this fight. My mom was an excellent mother who worked outside the home (still does). My mother-in-law is an excellent mother who stayed at home (still is). And I think JTS and I both turned out just dandy. We both love and respect our mothers. I thought (and still think to some extent) you should choose whichever lifestyle best suits you and your needs and desires for your family. My mom would go bananas being at home all day. She still would. She cannot sit still for the life of her. But from a very young age I knew I was cut from a different cloth. A lazier, less driven cloth some might say. But I am what I am (to quote Paula Deen) and what I am does not fit into my previous simplistic idea of stay at home vs. working.

At this point I have no idea what I am!
Where is my black and white box to check?

I probably spend about 85% of my time being a stay-at home mom. I take care of the baby, I run most of the errands, I clean most of the house. I still only cook about 10% of the time because JTS is just better at it than me and enjoys it more than me. And I really like that I can do this. But I can't help but wonder if I'm missing something? When someone asks me what I do I still say graphic designer.

I spend the other 15% of my time agonizing over my "career" or what is left of it at this point. Am I missing something? Should I be trying harder to be career oriented now? Should I throw in the career dreams until 'Lil D is in school? Would I miss designing? Would I miss the idea of me designing? I have no answers. I still do about 2 small projects a month (which I enjoy) but I get extremely nervous now about meeting deadlines and being available when I need to be because you just never know when the darn baby will sleep!

It's been much harder than I thought it would be to put a lot of effort into even a part-time career without some childcare. But we did the math and unless I got a full-time job, child care makes a 2nd income net neutral.

And I simply don't want a full-time job right now because I do love being home with her and with some cost cutting initiatives (like living in our apartment) we have been able to make that happen.

So here I sit, as usual, straddling the fence.

I have dreams for myself and I have dreams for my family and right now they don't particularly align.

I still ignore the mommy wars but I can't ignore the one going on between myself.


Katherine said...

First: love the blog layout. Maybe it's new and I have just missed it because of feedly? Either way- it looks great.

Second: the work/stay at home decisions. Yikes. Tough discussion

I think you have to a) fend off the guilt either way (I feel guilty leaving my kid with someone else! We don't even need the money! or I feel guilty not working! I have the degree and shouldn't just waste it!). Also b) try something long enough to move through the initial discomfort. If I had decided about returning to work based on how I felt the first couple of times I dropped baby R off with a sitter, I would not have kept at it. I felt so sad and guilty! But after a while I changed my tune. Working a little a week is good for me, and good for my kids. I didn't have that perspective the first few times I did it, but now I can see that it has been a great decision for all of us.

Love hearing your thoughts on this!

Daisy said...


The guilt is what gets me every time! Plus I enjoy both. I enjoy staying home and being with B but I also enjoy working.

I could use the money so if I were to do part time I definitely need to make it worth my while.

Ahhh....I guess I'll figure it out at somepoint