When I was growing up, I knew that I always wanted kids. From age 12 and maybe earlier I’ve loved children, found them entertaining and fun and cute, and knew that I’d be a mom one day. I also thought that I would be the kind of mom that would have some sort of a career and drop the kid(s) off at daycare without much thought, worry, or concern.
Fast-forward to when I was pregnant with my first son, and I began looking into daycare homes and centers and found that even the most expensive options still didn’t meet my standards on what I thought my child deserved. So as I was working a “kid job” as I call it, my mom suggested that I do the necessary training to open my own home daycare. So I dove right in, taking online classes and the exams necessary. A LOT of reading- both required material and other topics that I personally wanted to learn about. I was ready to open up shop when my son was 2 months old but ran into some roadblocks and had to postpone opening.
It ended up being 6-9 months that I stayed home with my son and was a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) before I got another job, which was a 3rd shift custodian job at a nearby school. I was able to work full-time and still raise my son (until he was about 18 months old) when I went back to daytime work. But the experiences I had with all 3 options (SAHM, working but raising my son, and working plus putting my son in daycare) really helped me compare the pros and cons. I can say without a shadow of doubt that me staying home with my son was the best of all options- financially, health-wise, cooking-wise, getting things done wise, and happiness-wise.
The most unexpected thing for me was how much LOVE I had for my baby after a few months of time together. I loved him more than myself, more than my dog, my family, my boyfriend…. and it scared me. I was very critical of anyone watching him, the environment, the safety, the food and nutrition, and the supervision. Even with family I was this way, the only person I didn’t worry about was my mom cause she’s more safety-conscious than me.
I think the thing I loved most about being a SAHM was the fact that the whole day ahead of my was MINE. I didn’t have somewhere to be at a certain time (ie: work), I didn’t have to pack a lunch for myself or my son, didn’t have to worry about traffic or accidentally leaving my son in his car seat, or if he had enough supplies at daycare (diapers, wipes, bottle, formula, changes of clothes, sippy cups, etc), or if I forgot to brush my teeth that day, or if I remembered my grocery list that I’d shop off of after work…. and the list goes on.
The best part of being a SAHM was that I could sleep in with my son if we both needed it, take the day as lazy or adventurous as we wanted, take a leisurely walk with the dog in the morning and throughout the day and actually enjoy ourselves, go to a splash pad for fun, pick up used kids items and books to establish my daycare supplies, make homemade pastries and yogurt, cook healthy and delicious dinners, grocery shop and get good deals, take my son to the park, bathe and groom my dog, do endless loads of laundry, read business literature, keep up with my business records, read online articles, meet up with other mommies, have playdates, and many other activities.
I’ve never been the kind of person that does well with scheduled things like appointments, personal hygiene appointments, being to a certain place at a certain time, etc. so for me, the biggest advantage of being a SAHM was the lack of an official schedule. We had our own daily routine but it was VERY flexible. Like if my son had a blowout diaper when waking up, we could take time in the morning to get a bath and not have it be chaotic, versus now if that happens it’s a quick hose-down in the tub followed by frantic dressing and hustling out the door. Not that being a SAHM is no stress, there’s not as much “be on time” stress that is very hard to do with children, especially if you have to wake them up- to do it gently and pleasantly or fast and tantruming? Pick your poison if you’re a working mom!