Reasons I Love Being a Working Mom
July 5, 2012
As promised to a friend, who’s getting ready to go back to work after a first baby:
1) You don’t miss things, like we’re all afraid of. I’ve never missed a first time rolling over or a first step. I think it’s because they show off more at home- they love parents’ attention more. As far as first word, it’s hard to say because I’ve never really identified the first time speaking a word… they sort of lead up to it gradually and babble unidentifiably for a while and suddenly you realize there’s a word. There is no distinct first word. I did miss Alice’s first time using the potty, and that’s okay with me. It was three months ago and she hasn’t done it since.
2) Routine. It forces you into one, and kids thrive on that (and so do I, personally). You don’t mess around. No time to.
3) Quality’s better than quantity. If I were around my kids all the time, I feel like I’d get annoyed more easily, I wouldn’t appreciate them as much, and neat things would be mundane. I’d be jealous when Sean came home and they went running to him with super excitement. I LOVE “Mommy’s home!” time when I walk in the door. My patience level is higher when I haven’t spent all day with them… I know this from the weekends.
4) You’re a mom all the time anyway. You don’t forget this when you’re away from the kids, believe me.
5) There’s no weird dynamic with your husband where he’s working to support you staying home. That works for some families… I don’t think it would work with us. And this is not a slam on my husband, but I’d feel awful about it.
6) Work is something for you- something you can achieve at, and have just for yourself. It’s easy for that to get lost, because a kid takes over your life a lot, but it’s good for you to have that.
7) Being a good role model for a girl, especially. While my daughters might grow up, get married, and stay home with kids, I want them to see that there’s no reason they have to do that.
8) If anything ever happened to your husband you’d have something to fall back on. I’m not suggesting this could happen, but I’ve seen friends stay home with kids, but then wind up divorced and without a career and with a husband who’s contesting alimony and minimizing child support. If you’re sure this could never happen, you’re probably right, but there’s always the possibility that something could happen leaving your husband unable to work- say, an accident. Wouldn’t it be a lot more stable and less terrifying if you knew you had at least one income coming in to count on?
9) They learn the world doesn’t revolve around them. Yes, they might have to cry for a few moments here and there if there are six kids crying and only two teachers in the room. But they’ll survive, and be cared for, and be safe, and as long as it’s not being ignored (which it won’t be in a state-licensed facility) then all will be well, and they learn a bit of patience and ability to self-entertain early on.
10) I’m not a teacher and don’t want to be one. I like having the daycare do the educational grunt work and I get the cuddles and play.
Why I love having a daycare, instead of a private childcare provider (nanny, or grandparent):
1) Socialization. Kindergarten teacher friends have told me there’s a distinct difference between kids from preschool and kids who were at home, and it’s not just academic- it’s social skills and other things, like walking in a line, sitting in a group, etc.
2) Organization. Things are planned out and mostly predictable. If the place is licensed, as it should be, then there are certain standards of cleanliness and administration you can expect.
3) No competition. This was my biggest fear about the idea of having a nanny- just ONE other woman spending a ton of time with my kids. I felt like suddenly I’d be just one of two moms. Maybe unrealistic, but with daycare that’s not a problem since there are a few others and you’re THE mommy. Plus, the kid gets used to a few adults instead of just parents.
4) Dependable. If a nanny calls out sick, you have to take a day. It doesn’t happen at daycare.
5) Mostly when they’re older, but there are things kids need to do in bigger groups of their peers.
I remember being so afraid when Catherine first went to daycare of not having the closeness with her that I wanted and had with her as an infant. It worked out fine. Daycare aside, they’re OUR kids. I love my husband more than anything, and I don’t need to spend all day with him for that to be the case (in fact, it’s probably better I don’t). And with them in daycare from a tiny age, there was never a big separation that they can or will remember. The daycare ladies are so sweet and loving to them, and I’m so much a better person since I don’t chase them all day- while it’s easy to cuddle with a baby early on, it gets harder, and more stressful when they get a bit older. Saves me a lot of disciplining, a lot of “how can I stimulate her mentally?” questions, and a lot of getting angry.