There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and no easy one for most people either. But it is the question that is on my mind constantly and so I figure I will throw it out to bloggyland and see what comes back ... or at least throw it out to no one and get it out of my head!
To become a SAHM or to be a working-mom ~ that is the question.
First of all, I recognize what an amazing privilege it is that I can even make this choice. At the beginning of this year Lukas and I couldn't even afford childcare and now being a SAHM with his new job is a slight possibility. I will probably have to go back to work for at least half a year but after that, I can choose to continue or stay home.
Having the choice however doesn't automatically make the decision for me, as I know it would for some people. Some women feel their destiny is to stay at home and raise their children and that is the right place for them and always has been. They may also have husbands who are doctors and lawyers (aka tons of my friends) and be more financially secure, which makes the decision a bit easier to swallow. On the other hand, some women have great careers and love what they are doing and know that with extra time and effort, they can do well at both work at home responsibilities. They find work to be rewarding and enjoyable and therefore worth the effort.
I'm somewhere in the middle...
I don't enjoy my job and it isn't a career, it is a paycheck. There is no room for growth, creativity, change. Half my pay would go to daycare each month, so basically I would be working for 50% less money than pre-baby which is sickening to think about. However, that is money we would be able to save for a house and pay towards a mortgage in a couple years when we are ready to buy one. It means safety and security in case anything happens to one of us, the baby, the dog, the car, etc. And sure, it means money for fun stuff too that wouldn't be possible if I was a SAHM since our budget will include "necessities and minor savings for emergencies - end of story".
However, I'm also not a baby/kid person. I refuse to accept callings at church that involve anyone younger than tween/teenagers. I don't look forward to long hours of screaming, diapers, feeding, cleaning and all the other "work" that comes with being a SAHM mom. Our income will also be drastically reduced and it will probably take us another 5 years to be able to afford a house on just Lukas' salary, as long as everything goes well. But the thought of mixing the two - work stress that is unrewarding and with 50% less pay and then going home to a screaming needy baby and a messy house ... just sounds like an awful concoction to me.
This sounds like a no-win situation to me and I am absolutely stuck and frustrated every time I go over it in my head.
Do I stay at work and deal with the stress and guilt?
Babies in daycare get sick more often, but otherwise they survive. I grew up going to daycares and while I didn't particularly like it, I wasn't scarred for life. And I don't know that staying at home all day with just my sisters for company would have benefited me much either on the flipside.
Do I stay home and deal with the stress and guilt?
Those are MY school loans eating away our paycheck each month. I have a decent paying job for someone who studied languages and is working outside of their field. I feel like I should contribute financially to our family budget. If I leave my job now, I will most likely end up with a lower paying job should I decide to go back to the working world in a few years. Working from home isn't a viable option, neither is working part-time. It is all or nothing, no option to "try it and see".
So while I do have a CHOICE ... I mostly feel like I just have GUILT no matter what I choose and it is disheartening. I'm trying to be excited about this baby, trying to look forward to it all... but mostly I'm just stressed out, worried about everything under the sun, and wishing ... I guess for a perfect life that no one has ;-)
Anyway... stay at home moms... any thoughts? Working moms... any thoughts?