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Working Mom Versus Stay at Home Mom: What is Harder?

picmonkey_imageI have been a single working mom, a married working mom, and a married stay at home mom.

Which job has been the hardest?picmonkey_image-7When I was in college, I ended up being a single mom and determined to graduate on time. I remember taking 21 hours at ULL in education, six hours at LSU through their correspondence program, and having a newborn baby. I remember how hard it was but when you have no other choice, you just do it.

I remember my first teaching job in Rayne, Louisiana teaching Geometry and making $21,000 a year. After I paid my medical, I ended up clearing around $1400 a month. I got paid once a month so I had to make sure that I did not live above my means. I had a two bedroom apartment for my daughter and I. I remember this period of time being hard, but not impossible.

Did I wish I could be a stay at home mom?picmonkey_image-15At this point I was just starting my career and had just graduated from college. I was exciting about teaching and working. At this point I just wanted to meet a nice guy, get married, and have my “little family.”

I eventually met my ex husband and we were married. We ended up in Houston because of his job. He was an engineer and I found a teaching job in Houston. Life as a working mom was a lot easier because I had help. I didn’t have to figure out everything on my own. Our combined incomes were a bonus for me because all I had known was being a poor teacher.

Did I wish I could be a stay at home mom?picmonkey_image-14I was still excited about teaching. Paige was four and thriving in daycare. She was happy and I was happy. The school where I taught ended at 2:30 so I was home pretty early to hang out with her.

My ex husband and I decided to have William. A week before William was born, we were told by my ex husband’s company that we were getting transferred to Canada. I decided that it wouldn’t be fair for me to be on maternity leave and tell my principal “Sorry, I’m not coming back so you will just have to find a certified teacher in the middle of the semester.” I decided that I would stay with Paige and the new baby until Christmas so that my job have the time to find a good replacement so that I wasn’t leaving them in a lurch. Matt would go to Canada immediately and I would just make it to Christmas (it was August at this point.) This was one of the dumbest decisions I have ever made.  I should have just gone with my husband. William was constantly sick as a newborn in daycare. I was on my own and my principal was aggravated that I called in sick several times. I had no other choice. I would pump Will full of Motrin if he had a fever, bring him to daycare, and pray that they didn’t call.picmonkey_image-3Did I wish I could be a stay at home mom?

Absolutely. I was miserable. I just wanted to be with my husband and have help with the baby.

We lived in Nova Scotia, Canada for a year where I did not work. This year was very hard for me because my family was all back in Louisiana and Texas and I was in new place. I tried to make friends and settle into this stay at home life. The weather was terrible (snow) and I was stuck at home a lot of the time. I was resentful of my ex husband that he got to go to work everyday and I was literally stuck at home in crazy snow weather. This is not what I imagined the stay at home life to be. I imagined having lunch with a group of girls, play dates with the babies, and cooking really nice meals. On top of everything, my ex husband’s new position was actually a pay cut because of all of the crazy taxes you have to pay in Nova Scotia. I had to watch our money closely because we didn’t have my extra teaching salary to have fun with. I felt guilty spending money. I just wanted to go back to work.picmonkey_image-13We ended up back in Lafayette, Louisiana for a while where I got another teaching job. We got back in the routine of things and I was happy. I enjoyed teaching and being a mom.picmonkey_image-2We ended up getting transferred back to Houston and I ended up getting divorced. I landed a teaching job at a Middle School. I was now a single (working) mom to TWO kids. This was hard because Paige and Will have always been involved in activities. I will say that their dads have been LOTS of help but is still not the same as living in the same house.

Did I want to be a stay at home mom?picmonkey_image-8Even though it was hard, I was happy working. I felt a sense of fulfillment in my job and I enjoyed earning my own money. I received child support so I was not financially struggling. When I decided to get my Masters, things got a little tough but I am glad that I achieved this goal.picmonkey_image-4A few years later I met my husband Brad and we were married. I continued teaching. At this point I gained two more children. Before I was taking my two kids to the dentist, doctor, etc. Now I was helping Brad take his kids to the dentist, orthodontist, doctors, practices, games, etc. I was teaching full time and doing the parental duties for four kids. Brad is an awesome husband and does more than any guy I know. He was volunteering to coach his girl’s sports team (even though they live over an hour away) and also volunteering to coach my son’s sports team.picmonkey_image-11Did I want to be a stay at home mom?

At this point I started to get really tired. I felt that I was not enjoying my kid’s lives as much as I wanted to because I was always in survival mode with my job and all of the kid’s activities and appointments. Brad and I decided to get pregnant. I was still teaching at this time. We went on a weekend getaway with the kids and I told Brad, I think I want to be a stay at home mom when the baby comes. Brad immediately said “You can do whatever you want to. If you want to be a stay at home mom, that would be great. If you want to stay working, that would be great.”picmonkey_image-10I ended up having Charlotte and being a stay at home mom. The first few months were weird. When the kids were at school, I sometimes felt guilty because I wasn’t at school too. It felt very weird not having to wake up at 5:30 and being in that crazy mode of getting the kids ready for school and myself ready for work. I didn’t mind driving the kids to their activities in the afternoon. I actually look forward to them for once.picmonkey_image-9I got very involved in the neighborhood mom’s group and started taking Charlotte to play dates and going to mom’s lunches. I decided to volunteer for the neighborhood social committee and helped plan things like Daddy/Daughter dances. I helped start a freezer meal club got involved in other things.

It is funny because my older kids really think that I chill out all day and watch TV. I guess they probably think I eat bon bons too on the couch. Paige constantly asks me “Why can’t you bring me McDonalds today? What else do you have to do? Ha! Me “Not be the parent that drives fast food to school everyday.”

Do I want to be a stay at home mom?picmonkey_image-5Yes Yes Yes. I don’t feel like I am entitled to be a stay at home mom because at any moment, our situation could change and I will go back to work. I do, though, feel like I put in a lot of dues to get here. I think that I appreciate it a lot more because of me always being a working mom in the past. Brad LOVES me staying at home. When I worked, we halved everything (cooking, laundry, etc). Brad appreciates that he can come home from work and just relax.picmonkey_image-6What is easier?
(MY OPINION…I am sure some would disagree) In my experience, being a stay at home mom is a lot easier than being a working mom. As a working mom, you are still expected to do laundry, cook, clean, etc, but after you have worked all day. As a stay at home mom, you get to do it during the day. I know a lot of working moms say “I could never be a stay at home mom.” I completely understand that perspective.picmonkey_image-12My question for you: What do you prefer?

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