Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed as a stay-at-home mom and wondering if I’d be happier as a working mom. I know it’s a grass is always greener situation, because when I was working I wondered if I’d be happier as a stay-at-home mom.
One of the reasons I’ve been questioning the stay-at-home mom choice more and more is my kids are at a tough age. At any given time at least one of them is angry, whining or tantruming over something. It wears me down very quickly to feel unappreciated day in and day out.
Last week something special happened. My son sweetly asked me to take him alone to swim lessons. He is a Dada’s boy big time and has never asked me for 1-on-1 time if Dad is around. It completely melted my heart that he wanted time with me when his Dad was available to go. He got to go down the slide for the first time at that swim lesson. After his lesson he told me they must have known his Mama was watching and that’s why he go to do the slide. It was so sweet!
Of course he spent most of the next day not listening to me and tantruming to try to get his way instead of asking politely, so my heart eyes have cleared up a bit…that’s toddler life, ha! 🙂
My daughter is just learning to walk, talk, and find her personality. She has started to experience a little bit of freedom and independence and desperately wants more than she is ready for. This has lead to many recent tantrums. My sweet angel baby is growing into a toddler, and I’m not ready.
I’ve recently started having my son do deep breathing with me when he’s upset and it has worked wonders! He immediately calms down and is able to move on. I tried it once with my daughter, but she is still too young to understand how to take deep breaths with me, so it didn’t work as well for her. But, it works great on me too. Whenever I’m about to start screaming my head off at the kids, I try to take a few deep breaths first to calm down and evaluate the situation.
All the kids’ recent moodiness combined with me recently signing both my kids up for (part-time) preschool in the fall has me daydreaming about going back to work as an engineer when they start school.
Whenever I’m trying to decide something big, I make lists. We did it before we moved to Australia, and before our most recent move to Houston. Deciding to continue as stay-at-home mom versus going back to work as an engineer is a huge decision, so it definitely needs some pros and cons lists.
I made lists of the 5 best things about being both a stay-at-home mom and an engineer and the 5 worst things about each.
5 BEST things about being a Stay-at-Home Mom
- Being with my kids all day everyday
- Never missing big moments – first steps, first words, first foods, first tantrums, class parties…
- I’m raising them my way – I don’t have to compromise or make sacrifices
- Playing with my kids at the park in the middle of the day
- Reading, singing songs, and rocking my kids before nap time
5 BEST things about being an Engineer
- Feeling accomplished and rewarded for hard work – that re-energizing high from being recognized
- Interesting and mind-stimulating work
- Daily interactions with co-workers – meeting new and diverse people who have become life-long friends
- Learning something new almost everyday – engineering is challenging and always changing
- Great salary and benefits
5 WORST things about being a Stay-at-Home Mom
- The morning rush – getting kids fed, clothed, brushed, and out the door on time for school. It’s pretty much impossible to do without a meltdown by at least one of us, but sometimes by the time we leave we’re all screaming and crying.
- Meal time clean up – my daughter is in the food throwing stage…need I say more?
- Whining kids – when I plan a fun day with playdates, parks, and ice cream, but the kids still end up whining about something…
- Kids not wanting to take a nap – I rely on the nap time as my precious <2 hours to myself during the day to shower, clean up, check emails, work on the blog… When they don’t want to nap it turns into an epic battle of wills that the kids often win.
- I’m always on the clock – my “workday” begins when the kids wake up and ends when they go to bed, so it usually is at least 13 hours, 7 days a week. I rarely (as in 1-2 evening a month, max) am away from my kids.
5 WORST things about being an Engineer
- Long hours to meet stressful deadlines
- Ratings and reviews creating competition and self-doubt – the bitter disappointment I’ve felt when the my rating is lower than expected (I’ve only ever gotten average or above ratings, but I have high expectations of myself and am proud of my work, so average can be heartbreaking).
- Management requesting answers that my work can’t justify
- Subtle unfair treatment because of gender or maternal status
- Working for “the man” – for my entire career I worked for large corporations. I wasn’t exactly helping people or changing the world like I originally pictured myself doing as engineer.
Writing these lists was very therapeutic for me. It’s scary to write the truth sometimes. When I was writing the 5 worst things about being an engineer list I started to get some anxiety, and I thought that was a good sign that I am not ready to bring those 5 worst things back into my life yet.
I’m pretty lucky that I can be a stay-at-home mom to my kids, so I think I’ll stick it out a little while longer, crazy tantrums and all. 🙂