Working Mom vs. Stay At Home Mom. This is how it’s always presented, as if it’s a fight and we are in the ring against each other. When in reality, we (mothers) all understand the demands and sacrifices of motherhood. Some of us stay home because financially, it makes more sense. Some of us work, because financially, that makes more sense. And the grass is always greener, am I right? In this case, contributing author Karen Trombetta shared her reasons for quitting her dream job to stay at home. Do you work or stay at home but wish sometimes you did the other? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Photography by Heather Gallagher
Dear Future Karen (aka Matteo’s mom),
I know you thought you were one of those people who were not born to be a mother. Like, at all.
You have always been a little weaker than most, prone to pain, bruise easily, can’t handle too much physical activity. I mean, an hour-long barre class is pushing it. You hate sweating when you’re not supposed to, have to have your 8 hours of sleep every night, massages, facials, and love your long showers. You never cry and think you’re a bit cold and insensitive.
You’re pretty needy, selfish, a prude, and get queasy over the mention of poop or vomit.
You always worried that if you ever had kids, you’d be too selfish to take care of them properly. That you’d fail miserably.
You love being the Director of Special Events at LifeWorks. You LOVE it. It is a dream job at an amazing organization, under incredible leadership. You work with super strong women, who are mothers, who you sincerely hope to grow up to be like one day. You put on big fundraisers and have your eye on a million little details. Your smallest event consists of corporate teams renovating youth’s apartments and organizing the 200 people that make it happen. You take great pride in fundraising, knowing the impact it carries.
You are very much a people person and that aspect of development is your favorite part. It isn’t a high-powered job paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it has great purpose. If you do your job well, it means that many homeless and at-risk youth will have a good chance at being safe and living a great life.
More importantly, while at work, people listen to what you say and do because they value your skills, opinion, integrity, intelligence. Not because they love you or are married to you, ha!
But, you lost your independence the moment you peed on the stick and it was positive.
Your body was no longer your own and you had to take care of the precious life growing inside. The hardest part? Losing control of your bladder. No, you didn’t completely lose bladder control, but you no longer had control over its high demand. But, you were fine living this life except then you got gestational hypertension and were on ‘house arrest’. You had to work from home and miss out on lots of occasions with friends and family.
You started to cry a bit more easily and frequently.
Then you have a baby. Isolation. You look into childcare and realize the cost just doesn’t make sense. You decide as a family that you should quit and stay home instead of handing your paycheck to someone else. It’s a sacrifice to forego an additional income, but you do it.
Once the dust settles and sweet mom and grandma go back home leaving you to fend for yourself and your month-old babe, it will get really lonely.
The only other adult you’ll see is your husband before he goes to work and when he gets home after a super long day at a demanding job. You’ll unload your brain and your 8,000 word per day quota to this poor man all at once about the most mundane things, like, how many dirty diapers your babe had that day.
But I have great news for you.
Matteo will get a little older and you’ll get a little better. You’ll get into your new rhythm. You’ll find a great community of fellow stay at home moms, and moms who work from home and have flexible schedules. You’ll also find Tribe which will help tremendously.
Suddenly you realize you can handle more pain than most. You can hold it and not pee for hours on end. Like a champ. You don’t ever notice when you stub your toe on the edge of the furniture in the dark, or the bruise it leaves afterward. You? Modest? A thing of the past as you nurse that newborn on demand. Your arms don’t bother you even after you’ve been holding your 30lb babe for two hours because he’s inconsolable and the only place he wants to be is tight against you. The worst, leaky, stinky, full, dirty diaper doesn’t phase you. And vomit? You can clean up vomit in your sleep.
Now you cry all the time. All.The.Time. You are ruined forever but in the best way. The love for your child is so overwhelming. Every child is yours. Even that perfectly healthy, loved, taken care of, happy child, you will want to hold and protect. If you see one that’s hurting, hungry, cold, you feel it’s your responsibility to protect them as well. Like your own.
Yes, you miss your old life. You miss going into work every day. You miss having a lunch, or even a coffee break.
But you know, even on your worst day as a stay at home mom, you are the best you’ve ever been in your life. You may not be the best at it, but I promise you, it’s your favorite thing you’ve ever done.
You’ve always thought that having a kid is like being handed a ball of clay. You can squash it or try to shape it into something beautiful.
The thought that your being with your son full time is helping to shape him into something beautiful (fingers crossed) should make you feel good about his future.
This is your purpose. This is why you’re here. You are the luckiest. You get to be Matteo’s mom.
I can’t sign off without acknowledging all those working mamas that hold a 9-5 and still come home to the job that you can’t clock out of. I tip my hat to you!
Karen Trombetta was born and raised in Celaya, Guanajuato and moved to Texas at 13. She has a deep love for travel and found the perfect partner in a Sicilian man with whom she’s traveled to destinations near and far. Karen has a one-year-old son, who rocks her world. She loves learning everything about different cultures; their food, language, and customs. Prior to focusing on her son, Karen was the Director of Special Events at LifeWorks.