I am no longer sure of the context of this (Twitter conversation? Chat with a friend? A dream?), but I was thinking about the different forms of parenting I’ve done in the past 3.5 years.
- Full time SAHM. For Xander’s first year (plus a few months), I was a home with him with no other job. At around 6(ish) months I found a mom’s group to join and that really helped me to feel less lonely and floundering as a new parent. I think this would be one of my biggest pieces of advice to a soon to be mom (or dad) – find a group. Any group. It’s less about the kids in the early years and more about you, so make it people that YOU like.
- SAHM and part time WAHM. After we moved to Vermont I started teaching some online classes. Classes ran (run) five weeks at a time, and initially it was about 15-18 hours a week, give or take. I would do the work during nap times and after Xander went to bed. I still do this occasionally, though not as often, because now I have another job. So far, this has been the hardest version of mom-ing I’ve done. It was hard to find enough time to get the work done; I stressed about his naps and how easily he’d go to sleep (or about going into labor with Luna). It always felt like a panic to get everything done and still be the “main” parent during the day.
- Part time WOHM. This is where I am now. I work out of the home two days a week for about 6 hours each day. As the semester picks up I’ll have more at home work to do with grading. I am really loving this scenario. I like getting out of the house and being a professional and interacting with other grownups. I like using the skills I went to college and grad school for. I even like being a little nervous, and feeling like I want to perform my best. I also like that I’m able to do it part time, and still be home with the kids on the other days.
Now, obviously, this is just my experience. There is no judgement whatsoever about what any other parent chooses to do. Love staying home or hate it, there’s nothing WRONG with any of it. I’m fortunate to be where I am now, that I can do both. In a few years I’ll likely look for full time teaching work, and (hopefully) the work I’m doing now will put me in a good position to do so.
I should also point out that John is also a college faculty member, so he is home much more than the typical working parent/partner. So I’ve always had a lot more support and time during the day than many SAHMs. We may never be rich, but we do have a lot more time to spend together and with the family, so for us, we’re happy with the choices we’ve made.