I’ve been back at work full-time for an entire year.
And I’ve struggled.
Growing up, I never pictured myself as a stay at home mom – but as the time to go back to work grew closer and closer, I realized that that was exactly what I wanted to be. I’ve never really felt a calling on my life until I became a mother, but the second I held my ginormous red-headed son in my arms, I knew that that was exactly what I was designed for. Unfortunately, Nathan and I aren’t in a financial position to be a one-income family, so I went back to work part-time in May of 2011 and back to full-time in June of 2011.
And it’s been hard.
We’ve dealt with a bit of separation anxiety on Topher’s part. Some bullying from one of the other kids he spends time with. An irresponsible childcare provider. Lots and lots of sickness.
Now it seems like things are finally working out. Topher spends three days a week with one of our good friends and her three-year-old son and two days a week in a dayhome with five other boys between the ages of one and five.
And he LOVES it.
But I still feel like I’m getting a lot of flack from friends and family. Some days I think it’s just me and my messed up preconceptions of what other people are thinking – but other days I get questions like “A dayhome? Why would you put him in a dayhome?” or “Can’t Nathan get a second job?” (when I barely see him in the evenings as it is?) or I’m subject to the ever-so-annoying “If it was really important to you, you’d make it work on one income.” (as if I don’t have Topher’s best interests at heart?!?)
It drives me nuts. Nathan and I have always had the parenting philosophy “You do the best you can with what you’ve got” – so that’s what we do. If it means full-time childcare outside the home, it means full-time childcare outside the home – and I’m tired of feeling judged. Topher is happy. Flourishing, even. He has the vocabulary of a five-year-old. He knows the entire alphabet and can count to 15 (and can count to 10 in Spanish as well). When I have a day off, if we aren’t going to meet up with one of his friends, he cries.
I’m the only working mom I know, and it’s lonely.