I think we can all agree that work is not our favorite.
Whether you work for yourself, work in an office, work at home, work year-round, work part time, or any other kind of work, there is always an aspect of work that's just no fun. I mean, don't we all just want the freedom to do what we want, when we want, however we want? Work often gets in the way of that because, you know, we need money to do those things we want.
A few posts ago, I made a comment that going back to work after having a baby is brave. Some people questioned whether "brave" was really the right word to use. I mean, I'm just going back to work, not jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.
The thing is, brave means so many different things to so many different people. What seems brave to one person isn't necessarily brave to another. For me, leaving my baby in someone else's care all day long is really scary. So, I feel that it requires bravery for me to do it.
It seems like stay-at-home moms get on the defensive pretty fast when people talk about work. Some people might think that being a SAHM means you don't do anything but sleep in every day and hit up Target around ten o'clock. However, if you've ever taken care of a child (or two or three) for a day by yourself, you know that isn't true. It's a full-time job to run a household and take care of children, and sometimes it drives you half crazy in the process. It's hard work.
Not everyone is cut out for it, and not everyone wants to do it, but what frustrates me is that sometimes I feel like people act like everyone can do it. "Are you going back to work?" was a common question I got while I was pregnant, and maybe it shouldn't have annoyed me because people were just honestly asking, but it really did annoy me. It's like, "Yes, okay? I can't afford to not work right now." *hangs head in shame* For us, it is much more cost effective at this point for both of us to work, especially me because my job has the 401k and better health insurance. If one of us were going to quit, it would most likely be Jordan.
In my "ask anything" call for questions, someone wanted to know how I decided how much maternity leave to take, so here's my answer: I was told by my boss how much maternity leave I could take. I would have preferred to take twelve weeks, but it is what it is. I do, however, feel extremely blessed that they offered me the opportunity to work full-time at home until the end of the year. I would be a hot mess if I had to take R to a daycare three weeks ago.
I received two other questions that relate to this topic:
1. Do you feel like people judge you for being a working mom?
2. Do you plan on working for the long haul, or if it worked out would you stay at home?
I think all moms feel judged to some extent, whether they work from home, stay at home, or work outside the home. SAHM moms seem to feel that people think they don't "do anything," and I suppose working moms might feel judged for leaving their kids during the day and not being around. To answer the question, I have not yet felt judged for being a working mom, and I think it's absolutely terrible that anyone would judge someone for working to provide for their family. But I also think it's terrible that someone would judge a SAHM for quitting their job to stay home with their kids.
I've mentioned this in previous posts, but the fact of the matter is, I basically can't talk about leaving R to go back to work in my office or I start crying. I thought that since I like my job and my coworkers and generally don't mind going to work every day, it wouldn't be that big of a deal to leave her, but the truth is: sometimes I really feel like it might just kill me. If I had the option to quit my job, I absolutely would. The green monster of envy is insanely jealous of all my friends who are able to do that. I absolutely do not want to leave my baby with someone else all day long.
I am very much aware of the fact that as a Christian, I am to do everything without complaining or arguing, and I am also to do everything for the glory of God. Even work. I am very thankful for a job I like and coworkers I like, and I am thankful for a job that allows me to buy food and save for vacations and set up a college fund for R. I am really praying about having the right attitude about all of this, because God has put me in this place for a reason, and who am I to say that I want to stay at home? Maybe he has me going to work to be a witness or a comfort to someone there?
It won't be easy for me to go back to work in an office. It's already been an adjustment to go back to work at all. The work/life balance will be difficult to figure out, but I am praying that I can have the right attitude about it. It does feel like the brave thing to do, mostly because the thought of it scares me, but that doesn't mean staying at home with your kids isn't brave too.
I think most of all what I'm realizing and what I want other people to realize is that life is hard for everyone, no matter what it is you do. We need to not judge and compare and be envious, but instead let's support one another in our different work and understand that there are good and bad aspects to every situation.
No one has the perfect life, the perfect setup, even if that's what it looks like from the outside. Life, with all of its ups and downs, is really hard work.
"Understand this: we are both tiny and massive. We are nothing more than molded clay given breath, but we are nothing less than divine self-portraits, huffing and puffing along mountain ranges of epic narrative arcs prepared for us by the Infinite Word Himself. Swell with pride and gratitude, for you are tiny and given much. You are as spoken by God as the stars."
-N. D. Wilson, Death by Living
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
-1 Corinthians 10:31