I am a full-time middle school teacher, as is my husband. Having an almost five-month-old at home, and returning to work after only 6 (yes, six) weeks of maternity leave, there were a few things I did NOT want to hear. Now, I am not dogging on stay at home homs or anything like that! I think y’all have the hardest job in the world, I really do! I wanted to tell you what it’s like from my perspective and shed some light on what I go through as a working mom. And, yes, I have heard ALL of these things said to me:
1. Oh, don’t you just miss your daughter when you’re at work?
No, I’m heartless. HA. I miss my daughter like CRAZY. I honestly cry at least twice a week going to work or while at work because I miss her so much.
2. Do you ever even get to see your kiddo?
Absolutely! She may go to bed early and get up early, but I make sure those few moments are treasured. And we LOVE our weekends together. Also, because we’re both teachers, Micah and I will get all of our breaks with her.
3. Do you sleep?
The only time I don’t is when my husband and I decide to stay up later than usual. But she starts bedtime at 5;45, is down by 6;15 and sleeps until I wake her up at 5:30 the next morning. On the weekends she will do 6:15-6:15. So yes, I sleep.
4. Do you have time to do ANYTHING?
Sure! I cook, have date night once a week with my husband, go to church, am finishing up grad school, LOVE to read with a nice glass of wine, etc. I MAKE time.
5. I bet your husband hates that you’re working.
Mmmmm no. He loves that we’re both contributing to our family’s lives, that we get to share teaching ideas constantly, and that Charlotte will grow up seeing two hard-working, highly-educated parents.
6. Do you have a maid? I mean honestly who has time to clean and cook.
NOPE, but I have myself and I have my husband. Also…. the Roomba is my bestie (we have the vacuum one and the mop one- thanks Mom!). But really, Micah and I split up everything in the house and divide and conquer, and it’s great! You can read more about my husband in this article here.
7. I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t go back to work like that.
Well, I didn’t have a choice. And it works! It’s hard, but it works. It doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s okay! Everyone is different and I don’t judge one mom from the next, but please realize this is what works for my family.
8. So someone else takes care of your kid? That has to hurt, I wouldn’t want someone else taking care of mine.
Yes, and she has raised three wonderful daughters and loves Charlotte like she is her own! And Charlotte absolutely adores her. I couldn’t imagine having anyone else keeping her during the day- Andrea, you rock!
9. Did you even try to make it work so you could stay at home?
Sure, I have my own blog (www.whatelisabetheats.com – check it out for some awesome recipes) and am trying to monetize that, but Micah and I both love teaching and don’t want to give it up. The conversation we had about me staying home on a one teacher salary was pretty short. And although I would love to hang out with my daughter everyday, there’s just no way right now, and that’s okay.
10. Oh, is that why you stopped breastfeeding?
Fed is best people! Breast or bottle or both! Charlotte is growing and healthy. And not that it concerns anyone but Micah, myself, and Charlotte, but I actually ran out of milk after three weeks of breastfeeding. It’s a genetic thing and I’m lucky I was even able to feed that long. I DO know that the pressure to come back to work after 6 weeks definitely didn’t help my milk supply, though.
11. Oh you poor thing, I’m so sorry, no one should ever have to go through that!
You may be surprised to find out, but according to the Women’s Bureau, 62% of women that gave birth in the last 12 months are in the labor force, and 70% of women with children under the age of 18 are in the labor force. You can read more about it here and here. So, there’s more of us going through it than you think!
12. What about me time? I bet you never get any of that!
My husband built me a bath board so I can enjoy my wine, cheese board, and a good book (or sneak an episode in of a show). So, yeah! I get my nails done once a month as well, and man is it relaxing!
13. Childcare is SO expensive, wouldn’t it just be cheaper to stay home?
I’m not going to give out our budget and how everything works, but no! We need my income regardless of me staying at home or working! Even if I stayed at home, I would need to bring in at least 75% of my income so we could keep up the lifestyle we love!
14. Well, I guess you’ll only be having one kid, then!
Negative, folks. We want one more, and God-willing he or she will be born sometime in 2018!
15. Don’t you wish you could be at home with her?
Well, yeah! I’m her Mom! But I also wish I could hang out with my husband all day, or take my dogs to the park daily, but hey we don’t always get what we wish for!
I love my job. Teaching is hard but oh-so-fun. And while it is a nice ‘break’ from home life, I miss my daughter dearly, and love receiving pictures throughout the day to get me through to the next. I get donuts on Monday mornings just to cheer me up and make the start of my week a little better. I’m SO thankful for coffee, Jesus, grace, my wonderful husband, and everything in-between.
To all the working Mama’s out there- you got this. To all the SAHM, you’ve got this, too!