Okay, I realize that everyone out there who just read this title just yelled at me. Your chastising me for comparing my daughters, but I'm not, I promise. I'm comparing myself. In some ways, I guess I'm comparing being a working mom to being a stay at home mom, which I realize is the most controversial subject among moms anywhere. Probably just as controversial as CIO vs non-CIO (Cry-it-out).
But anyways, It's my blog and my life, and I've honestly reached some conclusions. However, I have to preface this by stating that right now I have PostPartum Depression and Anxiety. It's actually the reason I'm not back at work. It's actually still fairly crippling- leaving me running away from circumstances that in the past I would have jumped right towards- but that's for another conversation. I'm just saying that it's possible that much of my experience is influenced by that...
When EG was three months old I went back to work. She went to stay with the lovely ladies at the Infant Center at Growing Garden. And it went well, it really did. She loved school, blossomed, etc. When we were at home together there were several things I did...
1. I never worked on chores while I was with EG. I just didn't feel like I could. We got so little time with her everyday, it was about 2 hours total before she was getting in the bath and getting ready for bed, and that was on a good day. So, I did all the chores after she fell asleep. The dishes, the laundry, etc.
2. I never watched TV with EG around. Again, only two hours of time together, so I made the most of it. Additionally she isn't supposed to watch TV at all until at least 2 years old, so a win-win.
3. I never left EG when I could have been breastfeeding her. We took almost all of our date nights after she went to bed. It wasn't until she was at least a year old that I would take a few hours on the weekend, or leave early on a weeknight. Since she was taking a bottle so much of the time, I wanted to make sure she got the breast when she could.
4. I didn't buy many nursing clothes. I only wore them on the weekend really- in fact the picture above is a full turtle-neck dress. But it didn't matter because I pumped in a place where I could get basically totally undressed, so I didn't worry about it.
Now we get to Ocho. By this point in time I had already been back at work for a few months, so the circumstances of Ocho turning 5 months are completely different.
Here I am with Ocho at 'school'- aka our weekly Mommy and Me class.
1. I do TONS of chores around her. I am constantly putting things away. Since I'm not earning my full salary we've cut EG from daycare one day a week, and we've dropped aftercare entirely. So we are home a lot of the time. And as my SIL says, when you use your home, it gets messy. It's hard to keep everything clean and tidy when there are two kiddos running around at least 4 hours a day.
2. I watch TV around her. Not with her, and I try not to let her watch, but I'll sit down for my lunch when she is taking a nap and if she wakes up early and I haven't finished my lunch, I'll just finish my lunch and my show together. I'll put her in the bouncer, or the command center (Baby Einstein) or just let her hang on her tummy or back under her baby gym. Don't judge, I'm hungry and I need a little me time.
3. I leave her with bottles on random errands. In fact Working Dad has even taken a bottle of milk down to the beach for a morning walk. I'm not saying it works (she hates the bottle, so yeah...) but it's just a totally different approach. Since I nurse her almost exclusively (both kids only got breast milk, it was just bottle vs breast) I don't feel like I need her to have time at the breast. It's fine if we want to go for dinner- let's do it!
4. I have TONS of new clothes. With EG the thrill was getting back into my old clothes, wearing what I used to wear. Now I need new things. I'm constantly accessible, not to mention that I'm in casual clothes most of the time. It's hard to wear business slacks when you are painting, or cleaning, etc.
I don't mean to say that all working moms do the things that I did, nor do all stay-at-home moms watch TV. But it's been interesting to have a bit of both sides of the coin. And to see how it's effected my kiddos so far. I can't help but wonder if Ocho's hesitancy regarding strangers has to do with the fact that she is almost always with me...
And, for those of you who wonder, I was there when both of my girls rolled over the first time. In fact, even Matt got to see Ocho, since she was kind enough to do it on a Saturday. I haven't felt much of a difference 'watching them grow' with milestones.
Have you had it both ways? Were things different for you?