I knew from early pregnancy that I was going to resign from my job to stay home with our new baby. Since we could swing it income-wise, I knew having mommy with him all day would be best. Sure I considered whether I’d feel guilty not contributing to the family income, or whether I’d get bored not having an out-of-home job, but what better way to contribute to our family than raising our child up right? Right?
I plan to go back to work at some point – or at least do something besides be with baby all day – when the time is right. Like when he (and any future kiddos) are old enough to go to school. Just months into my new mom gig though, I started hearing, “Are you ready to go back to work yet?” “Aren’t you bored?” “What do you do all day?” I didn’t expect others to assume my stay-at-homeness would be so short-lived. Of course there were folks who applauded my decision, but all the questioners got me questioning. Should I find something at least part-time? Why am I not bored? I do do a lot of just sitting around in my pajamas. (I really do. But my “work” day never ends, so I’d be silly not take advantage of the perks when I can.)
Maybe I should feel flattered that folks think I’m ambitious enough to raise a baby and work too, but I continue to be put off by the fact that staying home with kids still isn’t considered ambitious, or “enough,” or takes away the from the “me”-ness of the mom who decides to. I definitely have less time for certain pre-baby hobbies, but I’ve also incorporated baby into some of them (jogging, just with a stroller), and have new ones (babywearing, this blog!). And really, anything he enjoys, I like watching (or hearing) him enjoy. I certainly haven’t lost any of myself; my interests and priorities have simply evolved, just as they did over time in my pre-baby life. And as for what I do all day? Well, probably much of the same things a day care provider or babysitter would, except that I get to witness all the moments I’d otherwise miss. And all that is way more fun than work so, no, I’m definitely not ready to go back yet.
So I haven’t lost any part of me, but I have added “mother” as the biggest aspect of my self-identify (as I imagine many out-of-home working mothers have as well). The evolving me is mostly mother now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as my number one priority is raising my little boy, I’ll embrace that identity and love being “Mom.”