This morning I woke up before my alarm clock. No, not because of the trains screeching their wheels or the sunlight blazing through the windows (thank you Target for your blackout curtain liners) but because today is “mommy’s last day of freedom.” Today is my last day to consider showering as an option or to decide at any random moment its a good time to bake a cake. Because starting tomorrow, I rejoin the working world. That means getting up early, having a schedule and coming home to get ready to do it all over again.
Returning to work has been bittersweet for me. Of course I want to be home with my daughter and be the one who shapes her most vulnerable years. But then I think about it and realize, do I REALLY want her to be like me? Is that fair to my husband or even our dogs? Because there can only be one person in this house who is always right and I’m sorry, I’m not giving that title up to a 3-year old.
Many people have asked me why I’m going back to work. It’s a combination of economics, security and personal ambition. When I decided to stay home with my daughter, I always intended to go back to work. I just thought it would be after I finished my masters degree instead of during it. We now live in a bigger, more expensive city and for us to live the lifestyle that we enjoy, that means we need two incomes. I didn’t move to Chicago to not be able to eat at all the fabulous restaurants and attend the concerts and shows. I also miss the security of having 2 incomes AND being able to contribute to my retirement fund. And like many people, I miss having the adult interaction, strategic goals and deadlines. It’s a sickness that I have but I like to work. No, in fact, I love it. Some people love scouring the internet for good deals, I love reading through contracts and doing process improvement projects. I also think I’m a better mom when I’m working. There’s a better balance for everyone.
So today has been a family day. We played at the park, ate brownies and ice cream for lunch and now, we’re watching Marley & Me for the 50th time in four weeks. Sure we could be out enjoying all the Labor Day festivities but for my last day of freedom, it’s been all about my daughter and the activities that she wants to do. And if she decides we need to watch Marley & Me for the 51st time, we’ll watch it because just for today, she gets to have the title.
Whether you’re a SAH or working mom, what has been your biggest challenge?