On a normal day my husband takes our six year old son, Grayson, to school at 8:00. Later at 10:00 he wakes our daughter up and feeds her breakfast, and I either get up with them or sleep until 11:00 or 11:30, needing the extra rest for when both kids are home. At noon we all take a nap, and at 3:00 Grayson comes home.
Then, it’s total insanity.
My youngest is a toddler going through the whiny/screaming phase, and my son Grayson is all boy. In other words, loud blasting noises and Star Wars noises are the sounds of our home.
But I wouldn’t change that because it’s ours.
It’s exhausting. Some days (like today) I feel completely done, but once they go to bed I’m gearing up for the next day and ready to do it all over again. Before, as a working parent, I dreaded each day, stressed out trying to balance a job, a household, and being a mommy. It was too much for me, which is why I choose not to work.
I’ve taken a lot of flak over this decision. It is mind boggling to me why it is anyone else’s business, but that’s neither here nor there.
When I had Grayson, I was a single mom and I had to work to support us. There was no other parent, no other form of support. My life consisted of going to work, going to pick Grayson up, sitting in the parking lot for five minutes sometimes to take a deep breath, finally going in to get him, getting home and microwaving a meal, begging him to eat said meal, dealing with him wreaking havoc while trying to unwind, then going to bed only to do it all over again.
I was miserable and unhappy. I felt like the time I actually spent with my son had no actual quality to it. I was aggravated, overwhelmed, exhausted, and downright depressed sometimes. This wasn’t the mom I wanted to be.
When I got married a few years later I continued to work, even though my husband let me know it was my choice, not an obligation anymore.
Even with a second parent in the home, I was still the primary caretaker. He worked nights and slept during the day, so the majority of the child rearing was left to me. While getting married solved the financial strain of being a single parent, it provided little relief from the day to day stresses of raising a child.
When I became pregnant with our now 14 month old, there was zero debate as to whether or not I would continue working. Aside from the fact there would be zero money for childcare, more importantly, for me, there would be zero time to be a mother, which means more to me than any amount of money.
Being home with my children has afforded me so many opportunities to be a better mom. I prepare a home cooked meal for my family every night. I sit down and read with my kids rather than having to rush to put dinner on the table and get them bathed and off to bed with no time to spare. There is no question about how am I going to get time off to go to the zillions of specialists that were needed at different times for my kids. I wake up in the morning and I smile at my children because I no longer feel that the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
I am not saying working moms or their children are at a disadvantage. Not at all! I’m well aware that some moms are able to successfully balance work and family. For me, I just wasn’t able to handle both and still be the mother I wanted for my children.
It is a financial hit now that we are only on one income. I can’t always make a playdate because I have to reserve gas in my car for the rest of the week. If I see a $20 pair of shoes, I can’t always buy them. Dates? We can’t afford them.
Someone said to me that I allow my family to financially struggle because I don’t want to work, which couldn’t be further from the truth. To this statement I respond, “No, I don’t want to work because I want to be a mother. My kind of mother, that I define. A mom I could be proud of.”
Now is the first time I’ve ever been able to say this: I’m a happy mother.
Simone Praylow is a wife and mom to two kids ages 6 and 14 months. She is originally from New Jersey but relocated to Key West and later Columbia. Simone is an avid reader, couponer and blogger. She also enjoys painting when she has a spare minute. You’ll often to find her either on a book or on Pinterest finding yummy recipes for her family. She loves the outdoors, but at heart of is a complete homebody!