Friday, October 11, 2013

"I think it's a tough road if you're a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, if you have a partner, if you don't. It's the best job in the world, and the toughest job in the world all at the same time."

I have many friend who are Moms.  Some of them are stay at home Moms, some of them are working moms, and some are even both.  I, myself, have been both.  When Dylan was born, I stayed home with him until he was about 7-8 months. I don't remember the exact date, but I got a part time job at the Mall at the end of 2005 as a Seasonal Employee during the holiday season.  Mind you, this job only lasted about 2 months.  I worked nights and weekends while he stayed home with his dad/grandparents, and it was over before Christmas.  It was very hard for me to leave him, even though I only worked 4-5 hour shifts most of the time. I missed him and I hated being away from him.

After that, I stayed home until April, right after his first birthday, and went back to work part time at CVS down the street from where we were living at the time.  His father had lost his job and we needed SOME income, even though it wasn't very much.  I stayed at CVS throughout the summer, and then I decided to go back to school.  

I tried working at CVS on the weekends AND go to school, but that gave me no time to not only study, but to see my baby!  Both his father and I signed up for full time classes at the Community College and my days were jam packed. We had finally moved out of his parents house into low income apartments (which were very nice, and big, apartments, don't judge a book by it's title...).  I had class from 8am until 4pm Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  After the second week, I decided to quit CVS and just be a full time student, but applied for the work study program (which was only 10 hours a week for me, broken down into 5hrs on Tuesday's and Thursdays.)  So, my weeks were busy, but at least I had my weekends to spend time with my son.

I was able to balance it out.  I was even lucky enough to have Dylan enrolled at Mom's House, which is a FREE daycare for single moms or dads (unmarried) who are enrolled in school full time. This in itself was a miracle.  For those who don't know how expensive child care is, look it up.  Depending on the child's age, it can be more than your rent, or sometimes, the same amount.

So, there I was, being super Mom, going to school, going to "work" 10 hrs a week and doing my "service time" at Mom's house 3 hrs per week (every mom/dad there is required to do it, see previous posts as to what it entails.) Mind you, I had no car of my own, so I relied on Dylan's father for rides, until I met my friend from the daycare, and we wound up car pooling.

I attended school full time for a year, and I was able to graduate in May of 2007. (I had already done time at a different community college prior to getting pregnant.)

Two months after I graduated, I got a full time job at a special needs school, working as a one-on-one teachers aide.

Contrary to what a lot of people believe, I haven't always been a stay at home Mom.  I was let go of my job officially in February of 2008 because my depression and anxiety had gotten so out of control, I just stopped going to work.

I moved home in July, and started babysitting while living at my mothers house.  I did that for the school year and also wrote a lot of my novel on my days off. In 2009, after taking a year to calm my nerves and get back into the game, I attempted to go back to school for my bachelor's. Dylan was in pre school by then, but I still needed daycare because it was only half day.  I found a woman who did it through her home that was a lot cheaper than the college daycare, and was able to get student loans to help cover the expense.

I made through a year of school, and then a month into my second year, I would up in the hospital.  That was when everything fell apart.  I dropped out of school and haven't worked since.

The past 3 years haven't been easy for me.  I was able to apply for disability and was approved after almost 2 years and a court appeal.  I met my fiance through a friend, and was able to move out of my mothers house, get my drivers license, which was something I've been struggling with ever since I was old enough to drive.  Driving anxiety has been one of my main problems for the past 12 years.  I've been doing A LOT better with it ever since my fiance has helped me, given me the tools I needed to cope (a fucking automatic transmission being one of them...), I know that if it weren't for him and his help, I still probably wouldn't have my license.   He was the only person willing to let me drive their car and take my test with it, and now I drive all the time.  (But not in rush hour, or in the dark... baby steps, guys.)

So, imagine being a stay at home mom with no car, or access to a car.  Always worried about how I would get to doctors appointments, how I'd get my SON to the doctors if he needed to go.  It was not an easy process... asking family and friends was all I had.

Right now, at this point in my life, going back to work is not an option for me.  Even if I wanted to, which I have thought about, a lot.  It's not that I couldn't.  My son is in 3rd grade now, and is gone from 8am-4pm, so I could get a job within those hours (like 9-3) BUT I still have fairly severe anxiety when it comes to interacting with people.  I don't like talking to people I don't know, because it gives me so much anxiety.  So, for now, I am a stay at home mom, who writes a little on the side when I am able to concentrate long enough, and also I am disabled.

I feel like some people, some of my friends, look down on me for that. Like I am not good enough for them... Like my choices were wrong and I'm a bad mom for not working.

Well, I don't think you're a bad mom for not being around so watch your child grow up.  I don't think you are wrong for making the choice to go back to work and make money so you can support your child financially, even though they will have limited time with you.  That is your choice.  And some people believe money is more important than time, and that's fine.  I don't want to be that kind of mom.  I want to be there for my kid, and if I ever do have another one, I want to be there for her, too.  This is entirely my choice based on my own feelings about working mom vs stay at home mom.  Neither one of them are WRONG, they are just choices you make depending on your own circumstances.  Some people can afford daycare, other people would only be working to pay for daycare so it's not worth it in the end.  When you're lucky enough to have two incomes in a home, sometimes, you can weigh your options and see if you can survive on one income, so one parent can stay home with the child.  Some people also really like their job.  I understand that.  If you like your job and you want to keep it, then yea, go back to work! I think it's really rare for people to really love their jobs, so if you are one of the lucky ones that do, then go!

But not everyone has that.  Not everyone can have a family member babysit their child while they work.  We live in a hard, cold world.  We need to stop judging parents on how they choose to juggle their work life and mom life.  And being a stay at home mom doesn't have to be permanent.  Or it can be, whatever you want.

What I am trying to say here is; Neither of us are better or worse than the other.  We're all parents just trying to do the best we can for our kids.  And that is what really matters.

I love my kid.  I love spending time with my kid. I love talking to my kid.  And until he's older, and I am healed, there isn't a job outside of my home I could do.

But that's just me.

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