Daycare is closed this week and I’m not working because I’m home with my son. It’s just me and my mini-human. All day, every day. For five days straight.
Throughout the week, and during my temporary stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) duty, I’ve been thinking about what it takes to be a SAHM and the thoughts are just as exhausting to me as actually staying home. This week has been the confirmation I’ve looked for ever since I made the decision not to be a SAHM.
By mid-week I was ready to pack up my child and ship him off back to daycare. It’s not that I don’t love our time together, because I do. It’s just that I cannot entertain him like daycare can. I don’t have the patience that daycare has. And because my son is an only child and daycare is full of other kids, my son looks to me for play time and it’s exhausting.
You see, I work part-time during the year yet I keep my son in full-time daycare all year round. Even though it’s summer and I’m home, he still goes to daycare. You may wonder why I have chosen this route, and I’ll tell you why. It’s not just because I want to keep my daycare spot or that I may be able to find work over the summer and will need the full-time care, but it’s also because I want to. Being a SAHM isn’t for me.
Setting aside all the excuses and in all honesty, I just don’t want to be with my child 24/7. This experience is bringing me back to when I was on maternity leave and how I knew then that this is not the way I want to spend my days. In fact, some days I feel as if I am going through postpartum depression all over again! My son is three and it feels like it’s beyond impossible to deal with him day in and day out. The struggles are intense and my anxiety and depression are spiking. He is an amazing child, no doubt, but he’s a very strong-willed child and I’m having a hard time.
Being a SAHM requires a certain something, which I do not possess. It requires a lot of patience, in which I am lacking (have you read my other posts?). It also requires a mother wanting to stay home with her child, which I do not want to do.
I know many women who are SAHMs, WAHMs, and some who even work 3 or 4 days a day week so they can have more time with their children. I’d love to say that I want to be like them, but the truth is, I don’t. I am lacking whatever-it-is that makes many moms want to stay home with their kids. Is that such a bad thing? I don’t think so. I love my son with all my being, but being together that much is not a good thing for either of us.
I know there are people out there who don’t approve of my choice. They think I’m selfish or not a good mom. I’ve heard the gasps when they hear I’m home part-time yet my son is gone all day. I’ve seen the looks they try to hide from me.
So, let’s set the record straight: 1) I am selfish 2) I’m a great mom. In fact, being selfish and having my time is what makes me a better mom. Being with my kid from morning to his bedtime makes me slightly crazy, and I use the word “slightly” loosely.
Being a SAHM isn’t for everyone. Being a working mom isn’t for everyone either. Everyone has their boundaries and their ways. I know I’m not the only mama out there who feels this way.
For me, working part time and having my son in full time daycare allows me to look for full time work and to work on what I love doing: writing. It gives me more time to do housework and work on myself. It gives me some extra time and I like it.
I keep my son in full time because it’s what is best for me and my family. It’s what helps us keep our sanity and the peace.
This post originally appeared on The Antsy Butterfly.
Karen Szabo is a part-time worker by day, boy-mom by night, and blogger at www.theantsybutterfly.com any time in between. She’s doing her best to keep her sanity by writing about being an anxious mom. She’s a contributor for The Mighty and has written for Sunshine Spoils Milk, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Parent Co., and Mamapedia. Karen can be found on Twitter @AntsyButterfly and Facebook.