I made it! We made it! My four weeks of working full-time are over!
Almost two months ago we moved our family back to Stockholm, Sweden where we were married and began our life together. Marcus had just gotten his first post-college job, we had gotten an apartment and we were facing a few months of the hard transitioning from student loans and practically backpacking to finally settling down. It doesn’t sound that hard. But what with moving costs, deposit, buying furniture and all the extra knick-knack such as dishwasher salt, toilet brushes and the likes, it slowly amounts to quite a lot.
So evidently and inevitably, I needed to take a job to help balance our economy. And I wasn’t too excited about it. It’s not that I hate working, but I really had a hard time accepting that I’d have to turn over my baby to someone else during the day, even though it would only have to be for a short period.
I applied for and got a short-term local cleaning job. It was close and it was only four weeks. It was perfect. We worked it out with Marcus’ family to help babysit. We were all set.
The first day was not fun but after that it was surprisingly easy. I left Baby in the morning and came back home, and Baby didn’t really seem to care too much. I really came to like my job and my colleagues. It became a routine. And the month went by quickly.
And yet I hope I’ll never ever have to do it again.
It has definitely been refreshing to have more time to myself and I’m sure if you turn it some certain way you could argue that it’s been healthy for Baby too. But these four weeks have only motivated me to work even harder to avoid ever having to leave my child for a job ever again.
Can I be bold and share some of my reasons?
I took her for granted
The first thing I noticed that was different after I’d started working was how accustomed I’d become to the fact that I only had to take care of my daughter for a few hours every day. On weekends I noticed that I got impatient with her and caught myself counting how many hours were left before I could put her in bed. I’d become used to someone else dealing with the annoying things. Changing her stinky diapers, feeding her when she didn’t want to eat, making her fall asleep and even just giving her my full attention when really I had other things to do. It made me feel really sad that I was considering her a chore rather than a privilege.
And I didn’t really, but subconsciously something had changed.
It scared me once I realized. I don’t want to give myself reason to be annoyed with my kids – especially when it’s not at all their fault.
Frankly, I’m in awe at how so many mothers can work full-time, be the mother of multiple kids and run a home at the same time. The other day I cleaned the bathroom after work. Between having dinner, putting Baby in bed and cleaning up after dinner. I felt so accomplished!
For two years now we’ve moved from one sublet to another. None of the furniture was ours and even when we cleaned it up really nice it still didn’t feel like home. It’s my dream to be able to be in charge of making our apartment feel like home for my family. To make sure it’s nice and clean with dinner on the table when Marcus gets home. Creating a space where it’s easy for my family to feel happy. I think everyone deserves a home like that – and I realize now that it takes a lot of time and energy. If I can provide that service for my family, I’d consider it one of my most prestigious duties.
It didn’t make sense
Probably the weirdest part in all of this was figuring out the babysitting. It seemed so silly to me that I was handing over my full-time job (Baby) to someone else so I could go do a different less meaningful full-time job. I was looking for someone to do a job for me that no one in the world could do as good as I could. I was getting a job because I needed money, but I’d have to pay some of that money to have someone else take care of my child. My child, my first priority and most important job.
I don’t know. It just felt weird. And pointless.
It just felt unnatural
Last but not least, I just wanted to be with my baby. The night before my first day I cried myself to sleep. I kept picturing her confused face as I turned around and walked out the door. I truly truly did not want to leave her.
Although I completely trusted my babysitters, it hurt to know that someone else was rocking her to sleep, feeding her, practicing walking with her, playing with her. That I wasn’t there.
And isn’t that enough? Isn’t simply wanting to a good enough reason to stay at home?
I know that some people don’t have a choice. They just need two incomes. I completely understand – that’s why I just took a job. And I’m just counting my lucky stars now that I don’t need to work full-time right now. I may need to again in the future. But boy, am I gonna try my best to avoid it. Working from home, lowering our costs – anything.
And I really like my job and my colleagues – I’m happy that I can still work evening shifts. I just felt like I was in the wrong place. That I was needed way more in my home. That I could even contribute more to society in my home. By raising a strong family. It weirded me out that somehow someone might think I was being lazy for wanting to work full-time. For choosing my family over a job or a career.
And am I lazy? For wanting to be a stay-at-home-mom? For wanting to be the one who teaches my kids their first words, teaches them to walk. For wanting to be there when they come home from school. For wanting to raise my kids by example and not by theory. For wanting to provide a home where my kids can always find me. Can I be a little cheesy and add, where my kids can come home to the smell of freshly baked bread and private piano lessons by their mom? Is that really too weird?