When I got pregnant, and even before then, I always resented living in the US vs. in Germany because of the non existent maternity leave here. I would always fret how in Germany they would have to keep my job for three years, how you get paid from your employer for one full year to stay home and how you get money from the government on top of that. That could’ve been me, and it wasn’t. The fact was, that I went back to work three weeks after Fox was born, and although I was fortunate enough to take him with me and work reduced hours for 6 months, it was HARD. I should’ve been home, enjoying this sweet time with my tiny baby, but here I was, trying to juggle it all and dropping a bunch of balls in the process.
I didn’t want to live in Germany, but I just wished that the US had a more supportive system in place for new moms.
Leaving my baby with babysitters and touring daycares was tearing me apart. I wanted to cry, every time I left him and sometimes I did. I hated it.
My only wish was to be a stay at home mom, I wanted it so badly, but unfortunately, it wasn’t a possibility for us financially. Sure, we could’ve made it work somehow, but at what price? It just wasn’t an option.
I felt better after we got an au pair and I knew Fox was in good hands. Again, I was so fortunate to have my mother in law and wife as a boss that allowed me to work adjusted hours, from 5am-2:30pm, so I could be home with my baby for a few hours in the afternoons.
I never thought that I would be a working mom of a young child. I always pictured myself staying home until the youngest child would go to pre-k or Kindergarten, but here I was again, juggling it all.
A few weeks ago, I had to stay home from work unexpectedly because our childcare fell through, so I was able to be a stay at home mom for that day. And you know what? I had the very best day with Fox. We did it all, we played, went to his Baby Gym Class, a playdate and the Zoo. We laughed and had so much fun. That night, I went to bed with a heavy heart. I didn’t want to go back to work the next day, this was the life I wanted, to stay home with this fun little dude.
I know being a stay at home mom is the hardest job you can have, but oh man, I wished I had a shot at getting it.
In all fairness, my adjusted work schedule allows me to still do things with him in the afternoons, and I love it. While I’m not a stay at home mom, it makes me feel like I work part time and I’m a part time stay at home mom. I really do love it and I appreciate the opportunity more than anything.
Having cameras in our home and being able to watch Fox at the office (mostly when he’s eating or sleeping) has been amazing as well and makes me feel like I’m missing out on less.
Reliable and trustworthy child care is the key for me. If I feel like Fox is happy and well taken care of, I can go to work and not worry about him, but the minute our childcare falls through (which it has for the entire month of December and part of November), I wish nothing more than to stay home and take care of him myself. We are lucky to have an amazing grandma that stepped in and put everything aside to watch our little man, but of course, there’s nothing like staying home myself.
Lately, I’ve been thinking though. Thinking about how I secretly enjoy going into work every day and if I would stay home full time if the opportunity presented itself. And after all my whining, being resentful, jealous of stay at home moms, I had to admit that while it would be AMAZING to cut my hours at work in half, I think I would still want to work.
I not only like to do something out of the house, I enjoy having quiet time at work, being able to go to the bathroom by myself (HAHA) and eat a meal in peace and quiet. I enjoy the adult conversations I get to have and I like being able to contribute financially enough that we are able to travel with Fox, do Home Improvements and buy things without having to worry about being able to afford it or not.
And like I said, most days I feel like I have the best of both worlds.
I don’t know what will happen in the future when we hopefully add another child to our family (not for a while though), because with the cost of daycare, it might not be worth it for me to work full time. Plus, it’s always harder leaving a little baby in my opinion.
The plan is to build my Etsy Business enough to replace half of my salary and cut my hours in half at work, but who knows what the next few years will bring.
For now, I will just enjoy my opinionated little toddler in the afternoons and on the weekends and soak in every minute I get with him. The days are long, but the years are short!