Stay-at-Home Mom vs Working Mom

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My one dream growing up was to become a Mommy. I wanted four babies and wanted to be there for every milestone in their life. I wanted to go on field trips, help in the classrooms, and participate in the PTA. I wanted to help my children to read and do their homework. I wanted to read every book my kids read. I wanted to make sure we were eating healthy and sticking to a budget. I wanted to take care of our home and have a place of order. I wanted to play with my kids and enjoy every second of being a Mommy.

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Of course once I became a Mommy reality set in. My home is in a mess more than in order. I was always tired. Babies take up a lot of time. Laundry and dishes are never ending. Kids are always hungry. They grow so fast that keeping track of clothes that fit and clothes that don’t fit is an endless chore. Being a full time mommy is so busy and exhausting. But I loved it.

I also loved that I was able to stay at home with my babies and enjoy all the time with them. I loved hanging out with other moms as we let our children explore, play, and have new experiences. I don’t care for cooking but I enjoyed making new things from scratch and hearing my children tell me I was the best cook ever. I didn’t mind all the laundry and trying to figure out how to best organize and make our home better. Yes, I was always tired trying to make everyone happy in our home but I loved it.

When my life changed, it was NOT my choice. I had to go back to work because now I had to take care of my children AND provide for them. I was NOT ready to go back to work full time, I was pregnant with my fifth child. It was scary. How was I going to do it ALL by myself.  It was a HUGE task just doing my half of the work of tending to the children and the home. It was scary.

Gratefully, when young, my Daddy encouraged my sister and I to get an education for “just in case.” He wanted us to be prepared IF a spouse passed away.  I was obedient to his advice and got my teaching degree before I was married. Though my reason was different for why I had to go back to work, I was prepared. So while pregnant, I was able to substitute a few times a week and was able to barely provide for my family on a part time income.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d become a single mom of FIVE kids.

I substituted until I gave birth on Christmas Eve 2013.  Up until her birth I worried about how I would take care of four children and a new baby. God did provide in miraculous ways to my humble cries for help. I was able to stay home with my baby for 7 months. This was a HUGE blessing to be with my baby for so long.  BUT I knew that eventually I had to leave her because I had the responsibility to provide for my family now. I was nervous to leave my baby because she refused to drink formula or my breast milk from a bottle or cup. It was even more difficult to leave baby because I had never left a baby before THEY were happy to see me go. I was blessed once again to find a part time job at my children’s elementary school library AND get into college to pursue the opportunity to keep the school library job full time.

With a new part time job AND being a full time grad student, life really changed. I started to feel like I was failing as a mother. I now did things I never did before…

  • Sign up for a school event and forget to go.
  • Feed my children ready made food from cans and ready made packages for dinner almost every night.
  • Miss doctor and dentist appointments or constantly rescheduling them because of schedule conflicts.
  • Forget to give my kids lunch for a field trip or run to 7-11 to buy their lunch for a field trip.
  • My house got even messier.
  • Kids ran out of clean underwear and clothes.
  • We ate less fruits and vegetables.  My kids were getting constipated.
  • My children outgrew shoes and clothes and I couldn’t replace them right away.
  • I couldn’t relate to the moms I used to hang out with. I felt left out and forgotten a lot. I didn’t have friends to talk to that understood my problems any more.
  • Bed time schedules got later. The kids stayed up so I could see them after my night classes.  
  • Kids got sick more often.
  • My oldest started struggling in school for the first time and I couldn’t just go talk to his teachers right away.
  • Food rotted in my fridge because I forgot to use it.
  • On days off taking baby to the park or on a walk, I’m still thinking about work and if I have enough money for the week/month.

Life is so so different as a working mother. After one year of this crazy schedule, I think we are all slowly and better adjusting so that there are less mishaps and healthier eating. We still have to figure out many things to improve our family routines and schedules. I’m forever grateful for all those who have helped and are still helping me with my home and children so that I am able to work and go back to school: my parents, cousins, my friends and church members. My parents have been there for my children and I pretty much EVERY day since baby was born. I am so blessed.

Change is difficult. Especially change you did NOT want. Yes, I still miss the life of being a full time stay at home mom but I no matter what, I AM STILL A MOM.

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Originally written 9/14/15

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21 thoughts on “Stay-at-Home Mom vs Working Mom

  1. You are a rock star!! I’ve been both at stay at home and a working mom, both are hard in their own ways. But while teaching I felt pulled in so many ways and it was so hard to feel satisfied about how I was doing in every aspect of my life. You got this!!!

    1. Thank you! You are too kind. <3 I'm a teacher too! I love our work schedule that allows us to be with our children during all vacations and holidays. 🙂 I knew that being a classroom teacher would be extra challenging with so many children as a single mother so that's why I went back to school and got my masters to be an Elementary School Librarian. 🙂 I love love love my job! 🙂 Days that I have to work and my kids have off they enjoy coming with me to work. 🙂

      Thanks again for reading and commenting on my post! 🙂

  2. As a working single mom I can relate to much of what you have written here. Motherhood is tough. Motherhood when you are only home and awake a few hours each day is even tougher. But I truly believe that being a work-away-from-home mom has actually made me a better mamma to my little one in many ways. All families are different and have different needs, but for our family this current set-up seems to work. I hope you don’t ever feel guilty about going back to work – you need to be applauded for unselfishly doing what your family needed at the time.

    I may just write a blog post on this very topic (the joys of being a work-from-home-mom) in the next couple days. If I do, I’ll link back to this post!

    -Denise @ http://www.NotYourOrdinaryMom.com

    1. I too agree that working has made me a better mom in some ways too! And I do not regret going back to work cause I absolutely LOVE my job as an elementary school librarian. 🙂 I am still struggling to figure out balance of 7 kids in 4 different schools and 2 sitters…my preschooler rarely does her homework cause I’m so swamped but I know she isn’t behind in her learning at all. There are so many that surround her and teach her daily. 🙂 It’s just different and that’s all she knows.

      Thank you so much for commenting and your kind words! I look forward to reading your post too! 🙂

  3. I understand completely! I was a stay-at-home mom who home-schooled and now I work and my kids go to school. The transition was so hard and I cried for weeks. But we are all okay, and my kids know that I love them just the same and I know that they are taking care of even if I am not the one taking care of them during the day. Thank you so much for this post! It’s always nice to know I am not in this by myself.

    ~NaTasha https://31eden.com

    1. Thank you for reading my post and for your kind comment. Yes, the beginning is the hardest time as everyone adjusts to any change in family dynamics. And yes, you are not alone. 😉 Thanks again! 🙂

  4. Thank you for being so vulnerable. I am currently working after having my first baby but now my husband and I have decided for me to quit my job and stay at home. I am really excited. We all have to do what is best for our family. That is why I went back to work at first, but now we have decided that it would be best if I stay at home.

    1. Congratulations for making the decision to stay home with baby. 🙂 It’s a super hard decision cause money will be tighter but baby won’t be baby for long. They grow up so so fast! Enjoy every minute you can with your sweet one. <3 One of my favorites was just lying in bed cuddling with baby without worry of rushing off to do something, just enjoying baby. I'm excited for you! 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and for your wonderful comment. 🙂

  5. I can totally relate to this post! I have had to work off and on since my kids were born. When I’m working, its hard because of all the reasons you listed. When I’m not working, money is very tight, and that’s hard too. Hang in there. You have a beautiful family!

    1. Thank you so much for reading my post and for your kind words. As I read your comment I think…hmmm…there is no “easier” path, 😛 either one is hard in their own way. It’s how we look at things and what we view as the blessings in our life, only then we can appreciate all that we currently have. I’m sure you too have a beautiful family. <3 Thanks again for your comment! 🙂

  6. It makes me sad that moms are divided between stay at home and working moms (and the other categories, like part-time working moms or work-from-home moms). All these roles are both rewarding and challenging—yet we’re all moms, and we need to stick together. I’m glad you’re all adjusting to your new life. And I’m pretty sure NO MOM ever is done with laundry at a given time! 😉

    1. I agree that it’s kinda sad that mothers have to “defend” themselves about why they choose to work or not work. Yes, moms need to stick together no matter what cause being a mom is definitely the hardest job ever! 😛 It’s also the most rewarding job too! 😀 As for laundry…do you really want to go there? LOL Thanks so much for reading my post and for your comment! 🙂

  7. Wow!! You are an inspiration to not only working Moms but I’m sure stay at home Moms too! I love how your so open in sharing the struggles and also how you are managing them and finding solutions! Congrats to you 🎉 Great post!

    1. You know the funny thing about becoming a mom…you can’t imagine life with kids cause there is so much going on without them but as soon as babies come you can’t imagine life without them. <3 For me being a mom has given me more purpose and direction in my life. Seriously never a dull moment. lol. 😀 Just had a thought...currently no time for yourself? Perfect training to be a mom. lol Mom's rarely have time for themselves. lol. 😉 Thanks so much for reading my post and for your comment! 🙂 When the time is right you will know. 😉

    1. It’s a hard decision and the right decision is what is right for your family. 💕 If you can afford to stay home and be with your daughter I encourage it because they grow up way too fast! But if you have to go to work make sure the time spent with her is QUALITY time. Make memories together. That’s ultimately what our children will remember. ❤️ No matter what, you are a GREAT mom. 😊

  8. Wow! I can’t even imagine being a single mom, let alone a single mom of 5 kids! That in and of itself is amazing and then you went back to school. I think it’s so awesome that you chose to have a positive outlook and not crawl into a metaphorical mental hole or self-pity from the circumsta

    1. Thank you for your kind comment! We all ultimately choose how we will respond to our challenges. I knew to be the best mom, I needed to be positive and keep moving forward. I did what I did and still do for my kids. I did have really hard days full of tears but gotta keep shaking it off and get back up again. I’ll share more of my journey in future posts. 😊 Thanks again!

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