My Personal Story
I wanted to dedicate a post to why I chose to go back to work instead of being a full-time stay-at-home mom. I know this can be a controversial topic with mommy shaming on both sides. I am not here to do that, I am simply going to speak to my journey and decision that overall has been both difficult and stressful but in the end, what has been best for me.
When I had my daughter it was during COVID and I was working part-time from home. Roughly 20 hours per week, give or take, and that overall was going pretty well. My husband was home for the longest he had ever been without a deployment or TDY (temporary duty station, essentially when they have to leave for an extended period of time for training or a new course). It was glorious. Once my husband deployed right around my daughters 6 month mark, I started taking on some more responsibilities at work that required increased hours. Still doable from home and watching her at the same time. However, once she got a little older, and honestly a little more demanding of my time and attention, managing conference calls and deadlines became a little more difficult. I was at a crossroads. Do I give my notice and just focus on parenting, or do I hire a nanny to help me manage?
I hired a part time nanny, a college student from one of the local universities. My schedule was rather flexible so I had her come anywhere from 0-18 hours per week and I could run errands, take conference calls, workout, go into the office if needed, and it was working really well. But with the added time, attention, and demand at work, my workload increased yet again. My nanny wasn’t able to give me full days to the extent that I needed them in order to travel up to Denver to meet with clients and get some of my business development duties accomplished. My boss was accommodating and didn’t demand anything from me, but my sense of responsibility to my clients (and many now friends) was looming over me. I wanted to be able to give more to my company and clients. I was also pregnant with my son at this point and knew I was going to want to take some maternity leave. But with two, I knew I couldn’t continue to give what I was giving to my job if I didn’t receive more help.
I started searching for full-time nannies and discussed coming back to the office full time with management and they were more than happy to have me come back. They also accommodate me needing to work from home on Fridays. It really is an amazing company and group that I get to work for and with.
Ultimately, the reason I decided that it was best for me to go back to work full-time instead of either being a full-time stay-at-home mom, or a full-time mom working from home, was my inability to feel like I could give 100% of myself to my kids all day and all night. When my husband is gone (sometimes 9-10 months out of a given year) there is absolutely no break for you when you are a stay-at-home mom. There is nobody to take over bedtime duties while you shower or clean up after dinner peacefully. There is nobody to watch the kids while you run to the grocery store or go meetup with a girlfriend for lunch or happy hour. I did not have the mental capacity to maintain this level of effort day in and day out for months at a time. I give mom’s who do that with military and traveling spouses the utmost respect because I feel it takes a very special, gifted person to do that.
All-in-all, after paying my nanny, I really don’t bring much home in the name of a paycheck, but the mental break from parenting, the feeling of accomplishment and pride in an honest days work, and the adult interactions I engage in give me the reset and purpose that allows me to give more of myself to my kids when I am with them. Deployments become less of a survival mode and I can get myself into a healthier routine. If you are thinking about returning to work or just simply feeling overwhelmed by motherhood/parenthood, think about your mental health and what you need to feel refreshed. You are not alone, and your outlet may bring you so much joy and lead you to new adventures!