Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To Work Or Not To Work...

In response to my call for what you wanted to see here, The Gausman Six tossed this one out:

"Something I would love to see you talk about is if financially it had made sense, would you have continued to work outside the home knowing what you know now about triplets' (and school age kids') schedules and logistics and how difficult it is to manage."

Whew! Thanks for throwing me a softball question, Shannon! Here's my answer.


Stay-at-home mom? Work-outside-the-home mom? Work-at-home mom? It's a good dilemma to have: Should one parent stay home with the kids or should both parents work? There are lots of people out there who don't have a choice.

And sometimes the choice has nothing to do with money. Not everyone is cut out to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). Heck, there are many days when I am sure I'm not cut out to be a SAHM. And there are days when I am positive my kids would be better off with a nanny.

For all the challenges and frustrating days I've had as a stay-at-home mom these last three plus years, I cherish the time I've had with my kids. That said, I can see from here that what many of my fellow moms say is true: It's easier to work while your kids are little.

A competent nanny can handle the daily schedule of triplets plus one. God knows, if an overtired mom can handle it, a well-rested caregiver can do it! But as kids get older they need someone there to cheer them on. They want a parent on the sidelines. And making that happen requires some serious effort!

Plus, little kids = little problems. As your kids get bigger, the problems get bigger, too, and you've got to juggle that into the mix. Having a caregiver deal with a fever or potty training is one thing. Bullies and broken hearts require parental assistance.

I have said many a time that I don't know how a two-career family manages kids' after-school activities and the need for a part-time chauffeur. I still don't have any answers to that dilemma, since we're not quite there yet.

I can see from today's vantage point that returning to work would require a lot of juggling, being very particular about what activities the kids participate in, and probably take a personal secretary just to keep it all straight.

But I love my chosen career, and I got great personal satisfaction out of my work. I'm not willing to say I'll never go back. I don't know how all of those things will come together yet, but here's what I do know.

I know that I am glad I have stayed home. I am equally glad I have the experience of being a mom who worked outside the home. And I'm glad to be a work-at-home mom now. (Though my colleagues tend to be quite rude when I'm on the phone!)

All of that brings me to my answer: "No." Knowing what I know now, I would not have continued to work outside of the home. Not because of the complicated scheduling, but because I realize what a privilege it is to have been such a huge part of my kids' lives these past three years. I know what I would have missed, and it would have been a great loss.

Now if only I had a crystal ball to help me decide what to do about the working dilemma in the future.

Stay tuned: Three posts until number 1000!

© Trippin' Mama 2012

1 comment:

The Gausman Six said...

Thank you for this post. I have worked since our oldest was born but we are now in a position where I don't have to work if I don't "want" to. I'm really struggling with the decision so I appreciate the insight.