The Modern Mom’s Dilemma

I do my best thinking when I exercise. I went for my first post-partum run a few days ago, and through my muscle aches and skipping through the recently added “Jim Brickman Piano Lullabies” that somehow ended up on my running playlist, I tried to come up with answers to the following nagging questions:

When should I go back to work? When should I go back to school?

Should I go back at all?

The little feminist in me is lashing out at that last question, saying something like “Of course I should- if I was a man I wouldn’t even hesitate at the chance to empower myself and earn a living!” It’s true that I have worked very hard to achieve in school, and I am strongly passionate about my teaching career- even if I am just subbing for now. It has always been a dream of mine to teach.

But it has also always been a dream of mine to have my own family. I love staying home and taking care of Brady- and even though he puked down my shirt twice at the doctor’s office yesterday, there is nowhere else I would rather be.

I’m sort of at odds with myself here. First of all, I am terrified of daycare. Maybe it’s because I never went to daycare, but I am scared he will become sick, or that someone will mishandle him and I will never know about it. Plus, it’s expensive. However, I can’t ignore my student loans and the ever-mounting pile of bills on our kitchen table (yes, that’s where our bills go- we eat with them every day) and the fact that I am able to help with them- if only a minuscule amount. That being said, we could make it by if I didn’t go back- it would just take longer.

I have to do my student teaching next year if I want to get certified as a teacher, but it’s a huge time commitment- basically a full-time job plus classes… without getting paid. And it requires more loans, as if I weren’t drowning in mine already. I love teaching, and in the past I would have “sucked it up” and just done it- but having a family to think about really complicates that.

Honestly, though, the biggest part of the decision that I struggle with is… Does it make me selfish to leave my kid when I don’t really have to at the moment? 

I think this is going to take a few more runs to figure out…

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2 thoughts on “The Modern Mom’s Dilemma

  1. You bring back so many memories for me of just a few years ago. I did stay at home for awhile (echo your sentiments on daycare–it wasn’t for us) but kept my hand in the work world (lucky enough to be a writer). I’m now divorced and am so glad I did. I’m not saying to plan for the worst–but it’s nice to keep an oar in the water–or find something part-time for you and kids. Gives you both a bit of breathing space so when you come back you can appreciate each other all the more.

  2. The thing is Mandy, and I mean this, there is never one answer, and there’s never a permanent answer. You don’t have to make all the decisions now, and even if you do decide, you can always change your mind later. You’ve barely been out of the hospital yet, so give yourself some time. I know you are just like me and want to plan, plan, plan, but don’t be afraid of changing your plans! You don’t have to do it all at once, you know? And speaking from experience, I think it is a bit easier to let them go to a babysitter’s/daycare/etc when they get a bit older. It helps you not to worry so much! Try to focus on small things you can do every day if you find yourself wanting to jump right back in!

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