Raising children is the hardest job in the world. No pay, no sleep, no benefits, no thank you…yes its the most demanding job, it has its own set of benefits like getting to enjoy all milestones and always being there to kiss boo boo’s but it is an extremely difficult job.
Initially after having the baby I was planning on staying home for 6months, when you have a newborn, 6 months sounds like a lifetime away. You imagine by 6 months they will be so independent, eating, playing and capable of being left all day. But 6 months role over in a blink of an eye and they are still so dependent and fragile. So eventually we decided that I should stay home for a year. She turned a year and I still felt like she was still too young to leave, but anyway I started looking for a job.I finally got a job and I didn’t have that much time to prepare mentally to go back to work.
I was sad I was going to leave my baby with a stranger, I was sad because we had our routine and activities we used to have on a daily basis and now we were not going to have that time anymore.
I remember two weeks after leaving her with the baby sitter, she got her first diaper rash ever in her short life. I was so upset, I could have quit my job. A working mothers guilt I have heard it referred to. It happens to me every once in a while, when I feel terrible that am not at home taking care of my child, but mostly I am used to it now.
So the first day I went back to work I remember drinking a cup of coffee while having some grown up conversation. At first it felt as if I was acting, as if the conversation was pretend play, it was weird to have someone to talk to about something other than baby poop and baby food, and what new thing the baby had done.
Later on in the day I remember going to the bathroom, I just woke up and went to the bathroom, no having to distract someone with toys before leaving, no little person following me to the bathroom, no tears or having to tear a little person off me because they didn’t want me to leave.
At lunch time I remember eating when I got hungry, not having to feed someone and hope they sleep so I can eat, no sharing my plate of food with little sticky fingers, no eating while standing up because am trying to do 5 things at the same time.
When my phone rang, I could actually answer it and have a conversation. I didn’t have to be quiet because the baby was sleeping, I didn’t have to fight with someone who was tagging and pulling at me through out the whole conversation, I didn’t have to think twice before answering the call, I didn’t have to shoosh someone while talking on the phone.
When I got off work I went shopping for a few items at the store, no diaper bag in hand, or making sure baby is wearing a clean diaper before leaving.
Life stopped revolving around naps, and dirty diapers, baby talk and toys, diaper bags and and wet wipes. My clothes stopped having stains on them and I became a grown up again. Going to work, – I hate to say it,- but going to work felt like a break. It was actually easier for me to go to work than to stay at home with the baby.
Staying home to raise your children is a difficult job, it requires time management, planning, multitasking, task prioritization, organizational skills, wearing multiple hats, commitment, decision making skills, management skills, dependability. All this are tasks you require and acquire as a stay at home.
That is why I want to give it up for all our stay at home parents, both mums and dad. They deserve nothing but the utmost respect, and with all the skills the role entails they could have your job in a blink of an eye. Stop asking them what they do for a living and when they plan on going back to work, for the job they have now is more important and demanding than yours.