Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Answer

I am happy staying at home, you know.  Really.  Notwithstanding all my recent posts on my devilish toddler, my guilt over splurging on a pair of boots, judgmental attorneys who hate women, and the monotony of my daily lifeI actually am happy with my current job.

I am the first to admit I've been a bit of a Debbie Downer recently.  I have a couple of excuses: First, it's cold and dark outside.  As I've mentioned before, this tends to bring on a funk each year, no matter my employment status.  Second, this blog is my place to vent.  For some reason, I have more of an urge to vent when I am sad than when I am happy.  So the "wah wah wah," "I'm bored," "feel bad for me posts" tend to outweigh the "what an awesome day," "my kids are the joy of my life," "you know you want to be me posts."  When I'm happy, I don't always want to write about it.  I'd rather just live in the moment.

My last post was a particularly depressing one, in large part because I'd just gotten back from vacation.  (Isn't everyone depressed when they get back from vacation?).  In any event, I suppose I can see why, to an outsider, it may seem like I am a miserable stay at home mom who regrets and laments walking away from my career.  In fact, a commenter asked me this very question:

"Why do you choose to stay at home?  It seems as if you don't enjoy it.  Every single thing you typed is the exact reason I work outside of the home (the need for something other than monotony, the need to be intellectually stimulated, etc.).  I have great admiration for SAHMs, and I'm not at all trying to judge, I promise.  But, it seems that so many SAHMs are not happy..."

I thought this was an interesting, genuine question.  So here's the answer:


This job is hard.

Really hard.

It's harder than my biglaw job for sure.

It's all consuming and exhausting and there are no sick days.

It can be boring.

It can be isolating.

It can be demoralizing.

It can be completely unrewarding.

It can make you question who you are and who you have become and who you are supposed to be.



And this is a big but.

Someone has to do this job.

And if someone has to do it, I want that person to be me.

I want to be here in the morning to wake the kids up.

I want to pick Braden up at school, even when he throws a tantrum and hits me and causes a scene, because I want to see him in his element and know his teachers and know his friends and make sure he is wearing his gloves.

I want to make sure that Casey's food is cut up in teeny tiny pieces so that he doesn't choke.  I know that no one, not even my husband, will cut it up as small as me.

I want to be there for the tantrums.

I want to give the time outs.

I want to hug them when the time outs are over.

I want to witness the tender, most unexpected moments when Braden decides to make Casey laugh.

I want to volunteer at school events and host playdates.

I want to take them to the park when it's sunny out.

I want to take them to doctor's appointments.

I want to take their temperature and make sure that they get all 1.8 mls of Motrin, and not a drop more.

I want to kiss their faces whenever I want to.

I want to kiss their boo-boos when they fall.

I want to cuddle with them both as much as they will allow me to.

I want to document this time in their lives - in my memory, in photos, in this blog.

I want to live and appreciate every single moment.


And here's the thing:

I could probably still do all of the above things if I was working outside of the home.

But, NOT working means that I can do all of the above things without added stress.

Without outside responsibilities.

Without the pull of billable hours or clients or bosses.

Without having to take vacation days.

Without having to monitor a blackberry.

Without distractions.

Without having to think of anything of real importance outside of the two most important people in the world to me.

And that is a gift.

A gift that makes all the tantrums and boredom and hard days worth it.  SO worth it.

Every night when I put Braden to bed we "talk about today."  We go through all of the day's activities ad nauseam, and the narrative always ends with, "It was a wonderful day."  And you know what?  I mean it.  Every time.  And as I tuck him in and leave his room, I silently mourn the day that has passed and know that it's one less day I'll have with him as a little boy.

The fact is, I have the best job in the world.


  1. I think this is one of my favorite blog posts ever (of all blogs).


  2. Making look forward to maternity leave. I wish I could SAH for a year or more. I'll be happy if I can pull off 6 mos. Love this post.

  3. As the original commenter who asked you the question, thank you for such a thoughtful answer. Thank you also, for receiving the question for what it was intended to be, and not responding with a knee-jerk defensive answer. My outside the home job is as a therapist; so asking the big questions is what I do.

    I struggle some with my decision to work outside the home(though really, it wasn't much of a decision, it was a financial necessity since my husband was still working on a doctorate when we had my daughter). I also think that it's a decision that might change over time, and sometimes needs to be re-evaluated as children's needs change, family's needs change, parents' needs change, etc. I think the decision is such a personal one, and that there is no best, "one-size-fits-all" answer. While part of me would LOVE to stay at home, the other part knows that the cons would likely outweigh the pros. And, since I have a job where I CAN shut it all off at 3:30 and go pick up my daughter from daycare and do all the things you mentioned above, this works for me. But, I see so many people who either grow to resent their children and blame them for the loss of their own identify, or, conversely, who resent their jobs for keeping them away from their family, and I think it is so sad. As someone who also gets the January/February/March blues, I know where you're coming from (though I'm also in the DC Metro area, and we have had it pretty good these past few months weather wise; I'm expecting Jan and Feb to kick our butts).

  4. Love this. I'm hugely pregnant with #3 and this is about to make me cry.

  5. I love this. As an about-to-graduate-and-become-a-BigLaw-associate woman, I find your blog so thought-provoking! I can totally see this being me in 5 or 10 years. Being a perfectionist may make you really good at law school and being a lawyer, but it makes you want to be really good and 100% devoted to being a mom too.

  6. You know, this comes up a lot on mom blogs. If you complain, you must hate your children, hate being a mom, etc. But people complain about their WOH jobs all the time and nobody says, "Maybe you just don't like being a surgeon/lawyer/office automaton."

    Parenting rules. But like any other job, it's hard. The hours are long, for no pay.

    It's time to start treating SAHMs the same way we treat WOHMs. It's a privilege to stay home with your kids. But it's also a privilege to have a career. Not everything has to be roses all the time.

    And FWIW, it's blogs like yours, blogs that are REAL, that I come back to every day, rather than the ones where everything is sweetness and light 100% of the time.

  7. thanks for this. I just resigned today and while I am so happy to be able to stay home with my baby, I did not share my resignation with many people in fear of judgment. I needed to read this to help me articulate why I quit. Today was also his 6 month dr's appointment and I was there. Btw, you sound like an awesome mom. I'm so going to do the end of day review with my son some day. Thank you.

  8. Thank you for having the words I haven't been able to find.

  9. As a well educated mom who stepped back from work to carve out more time with my kids, your message hit home for me. My dauthers are now 17 and 15, and I am so proud of the young women they have become. For me and my family, it was worth all the heartache and career angst I went through to reconcile leaving a great job to spend more time at home. I whole heartedly agree that working moms do a great job at raising their children, and this isn't a judgment at all about people who choose different paths. However, for my family, this decision made our home life less stressful, and was the right decision. The time I've spent with my girls, the ablity to get to know their friends, the opportunities we've had to get involved in volunteering, have shaped me as much as them.

  10. A fellow associate sent me a link to your blog, and I'm hooked. I am currently contemplating leaving my BigLaw job and staying home with my kids. I have 3 (I went to law school when I was 30, and had 2 kids while there). You are putting into words all of the inner conflict I have, and it is so nice to hear someone say it was worth it. I'm only in my 3rd year of practice and sometimes I feel like if I walk away, I will never be able to work again, and that freaks me out a little, but this post makes it feel like it is worth it. Thank you for writing this.

  11. I really love this blog - in part because I am a former biglaw lawyer that dreamed (briefly) of staying at home with my kids. Instead, however, I took an in-house position with flexible hours. I'd like to point out, however, that working moms do not get sick days either. It annoys me to no end when SAHMs say that we get sick days. When I'm sick and my kids are at school or have their normal babysitter - we are paying for a babysitter. Which SAHMs have the option of doing as well. Also, I'm still Mommy in the morning and after school and all through the night. So yes, being a mom is a full-time job - and if you also work and are a mom, it's like two jobs - not like trading one for the other.

  12. I love this post. I read this every once in a while, especially when something makes me question leaving my job. Its hard to leave a career that I fought so hard for and spent thousands of hours in building. Yet, I look at my baby and there is nothing more important right now then being with him and it is such a privilege to be his mom. I will go back to work some day and when that day comes he and I will both be ready and happy. But until then I really appreciate reading and relating to your posts. It is real. The joys and angsts. Don't change a thing.

  13. I just found your blog, and am enjoying reading back into the archives so much...I'm a former lawyer, too, though I jumped into stay-home parenting right from the get-go (with a year of teaching between) and never looked back...anyway, this post really spoke to me. It's exactly how I feel. Every single night, I can't believe how lucky I am to have spent another day with my precious, little for not long enough boy. Just as true on the days that are harder/more boring/more exhausting than others. So, I'm with ya!


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