I was thinking about one of my former favorite TV shows, Desperate Housewives the other day and despite all the crazy antics that went on in the show, I was struggling to come up with some good reason for the name. I have felt many moments of desperation as a mom, but almost all of them have come while I was working. Even though I really enjoyed working part-time I recall several instances of panic when I couldn’t quite balance home and work responsibilities. My hats off to you moms that work full-time and manage to do it all because I’ll be the first to admit that I was overwhelmed to the point of being desperate. Here three ways staying home has alleviated some “desperation” in my life.
1. Time – I used to struggle to get my babies up early and drive them to my mom’s house before heading in to work. It seemed like even minor delays like an unexpected diaper explosion or a feeding that ran long meant I was late to work. There were days I had to bring my baby back to the office and finish my work while she sat in her car seat. Some days I borrowed an empty office (I had a cubicle) in order to simultaneously breastfeed my daughter while finishing work on the computer. Though I made it work, it caused me a lot of stress. Now I have all day to do what I used to cram into one weekend and snow days, doctor appointments, or special events aren’t a problem.
2. Transportation – I racked up quite a bit of debt paying for gas to and from work. If my car broke down and needed repairs it was the end of the world because I couldn’t get to work or pay for the repairs. Staying home has alleviated stress because if one of the cars is out of commission my husband can borrow my car to get to work until it’s fixed or I can do my errands at night or on the weekend using his.
3. Childcare – One night after work, I got a call that my mom had broken her foot and was rushed to the hospital. My first thought after worrying about my mom was sheer panic because she was my childcare for my two kids. I called local daycares who either didn’t want to take my kids on a temporary basis or cost more than my monthly part-time salary.
I wrote a blog post called “Will Work For Daycare” because I literally pictured myself standing by the side of the road with a sign with those very words scrawled in magic marker. What I felt was sheer desperation because I had no other childcare options since I didn’t have the money to pay for it.
Now it’s all me, all the time. Does it get overwhelming sometimes? Sure. Sometimes I’m tired, bored or cranky, much like my kids. But I never feel desperate for someone to watch them. It truly is my job now. I like to think that I didn’t choose “not to work,” but rather I just chose not to get paid anymore.
So while not everyone can or wants to stay home with their kids, my advice is to make some Stay-At-Home mom friends, because you never know if you’ll be in a pinch one day for time, transportation or childcare.