I get so tired of the working parent vs stay at home parent debate. Stay at home mom's work hard, all day long. There is no debate. Working mom's work hard too, all day long. The argument that stay at home mom's are "on" and "giving" all day long is true but the insinuation that working mom's aren't and don't is gut wrenching to me.
My family is blessed to be in a position for one parent to be home with our boys all the time. My husband has taken over that role with grace. He never complains and he spends every waking moment each day "on call". He plays, and plays, and plays, changes messy diapers, builds ramps and train tracks, reads stories, makes breakfast and lunches and keeps the peace (mostly). I am sure he is tired and there are days where I know he watches the clock so that he can hand over the baby and pass on the 4 year old "baton" as soon as I pull in the driveway. I certainly can't blame him.
We are lucky, but we also make sacrifices, just like other families. We don't drive fancy new cars. In fact, I am pretty sure the "check-engine" light has been on in at least one of our cars without exception for over 10 years. Ha. We don't take grandiose vacations. We moved into a less expensive house. We eat out very rarely, and it is certainly a treat. We really are fortunate to make it work because there are certainly those who cannot.
These thoughts and feelings stemmed from a blog post I recently read from a mom about "taking a break". Actually, I read half of it and then I got frustrated and quit reading. Her point was that when she asks for a "break", it doesn't mean margaritas by the pool and the latest issue of Cosmo magazine. It means 30 minutes of time where nobody needs anything and she can get something done (a quick workout, a load of laundry, a chapter in a book)... in peace. Oh, how I understand that. I am not looking for a day at a spa or a weekend with the girls in a hotel. I am honestly, not even sure this would be possible for me, at this point. I would feel pretty guilty about spending the time and money but that is a whole different issue for another day.
I feel pulled in every direction all the time, to work, to earn a paycheck, to keep our health insurance, to make a half-hearted attempt to keep the house clean, dishes, laundry, groceries. I work so hard at work, where patients, families, coworkers, suppliers, and insurance companies need something all the time. When I come home, the little boys needs are hungry and tired and grumpy and both want to be held while I make dinner (if only I had 4 arms and bigger biceps). I certainly also owe it to my marriage to give my time, efforts, and attention to my husband as well.
There are so many things that I day dream of...
I really want to pick up my 4 year old at preschool at noon each day. I want to see the sleepy smiles in the mornings and feed them their breakfasts. I want to take them to the park, watch them play in the sandbox, create little crafts with them and read their stories over and over. Instead, I cram those things in on Saturday and Sunday between getting groceries and doing laundry and nap time. I relish the snuggles I get on those weekend days.... but I can't help dream of adding more time with them.