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The Debate in My Head – Staying Home vs. Working Parent

on October 22, 2013

Growing up I heard an ongoing debate between my aunt and mom – which is harder, being an elementary teacher or a high school teacher. By my third year teaching, I had taught kindergarten through seniors and felt I had a legitimate handle on which was harder.

(If you’re wondering how I taught all age groups, I taught high school business electives to grades 9-12 and a career tech marketing program to seniors in years 1 and 2. Then, in year 3 I taught K-8 computer classes.)

This is me in the hallway my 4th year teaching. :)

This is me in the hallway my 4th year teaching. 🙂

So you wanna know which is harder?

Drumroll please…

BBDDDDRRRRRRRR (That’s my attempt at typing the sound. Haha, how would you spell it?)

The answer is… neither is harder. Er, both are harder.

The truth is that you can have a sound argument for either. Ultimately, it’s about looking on the bright side rather than thinking the grass is always greener.

That’s how I’m choosing to look at this debate, too. Which is harder, being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom?  Well, they’re both hard, but they both definitely have their advantages.

As my loooooong maternity leave comes to an end I’m making the choice to focus on the positives of being a working mom.

I don’t believe I’m naturally an optimist. I remember talking about this with my college roommates and I said that I thought I was more of an optimist. Their response was a sort of “Uhhh…” as in, are you kidding? My response was something like, “Well that bleepin’ sucks.” (Real positive response, right?!?)

These days I try to make a conscious effort to look on the bright side – the grass is green where you water it, right?!

If you are a “grass is always greener” type, I encourage you to only read the list for the category in which you find yourself. This post is not intended to make you feel crappy about your circumstances. It’s meant to help you appreciate them! (And that’s why after I write this, I’m only going to reread the working mom list. My maternity leave ends in a matter of days. Boo! I mean, yay! Heh.)

After all, whether you’re staying at home or working, being a mom is a pretty darn amazing thing to be!

What’s good about staying at home:

  • Some days are magical. Everyone is happy and/or you are “on” even when dealing with their fussiness.
  • You get to see all your kids’ cute comments, actions, facial expressions, etc.
  • You don’t have to find emergency backup care for your child if s/he wakes up sick.
  • You can wear your jammies all day!
  • Your kids are less likely to learn “bad habits” from others – basically, you have more control over what they’re exposed to.
  • You can participate in things like weekly story time at the library during the week.
  • You can go out when it’s not so busy – places like the grocery store or park.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t have to pump multiple times a day.
  • You don’t have to get out of the house with kids by a certain time on a regular basis.
  • You don’t have to worry and wonder about how they’re doing because you’re right there with them!

What’s good about working:

  • The time you do get with your kids is cherished.
  • You get to have regular conversations with adults.
  • You get to have a little more “me” time, even if it is just a car ride from when you drop them off to when you get to work.
  • You can wear something other than your jammies!
  • Your kids get a lot out of being around others – building relationships and learning things you didn’t necessarily think to teach them. For example, they might come home singing songs you don’t know.
  • More income than if you didn’t!
  • You have time to miss your kids and they have time to miss you.
  • You can go to the bathroom without interruption (even if it is at work, at least no one is barging in and/or screaming your name repeatedly – at least I hope not!)
  • You don’t have to change as many dirty diapers.
  • You have the opportunity to contribute to something outside your household on a consistent basis – be a member of a team, provide a service, develop a product or idea, etc.

What did I leave out? Feel free to add your thoughts as a comment!

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2 responses to “The Debate in My Head – Staying Home vs. Working Parent

  1. acuriousgal says:

    Mmmm, this is a tough one! I’m gonna say, whatever works for your family. I was able to stay home, but as a nurse, worked part time evenings and my Mother In law was able to watch my kids for a few hours until my husband came home. It worked for us. It all centers around loving your kids, make sure you let them know they are loved and protected…..then, whichever you choose, will work out!!

    • Alicia says:

      I agree that it’s about what works for you family. It’s great that a grandparent got to stay with your kids to fill the gap between you and your husband being home. We have a ton of grandparent support, too and we know how very lucky we are that we do! ❤

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