Most of you probably know that I’m a chemical engineer. I work for an oilfield services company. I have a pretty cushy job: it’s mostly computer work, I have my own office, a company laptop, company cell phone, company truck, company gas card, and it only requires a little traveling, paid for by my company credit card, of course. (Man, I’m a little spoiled at work aren’t I?) But I’ll let you in on a little secret– all this work is really getting in the way of my being a stay at home mom.
I’m not complaining; it was our choice to have a baby while Brian is still in school. And considering he’s still got 3 years or so, I imagine we’ll have at least one more by the time he graduates. Even though this isn’t our ideal situation, things have worked out amazingly well. Since Brian only has class 3 days a week, he stays home with Kalena 2 days a week. My job allows me to work from home 2 (sometimes 3) days a week so I get to be with her those days. And we have several friends from church who are generous enough to watch her on the days we both have to be somewhere else. All in all, not bad. But…
There are times when I am painfully reminded that I work full time when ideally I’d be at home. Mostly I am reminded when having to work keeps me from making the parenting choices I would prefer to make. For example, we quit giving her breast milk at just after 4 months. Why? Because for all my efforts and pumping at work I was making just over 4 oz in 9 hours. I was spending an entire hour of my workday pumping (20 min every 2 hours) to make 1 bottle worth of milk. At that point it stopped being worth it. Also, I wanted to use cloth diapers. But with me working full time, Brian being a full time student and Kalena’s care typically rotating between 3 people in a given week it’s just too much. (So Sarah, about the diaper bag and cloth diapers, I don’t know. I think it would work well.)
Even little things, like when friends are planing play groups or outings to the park or story time at the library and I want so badly to be able to put all that stuff on MY schedule but I can’t. I rearrange my work schedule for the occasional lunchtime outing or daytime errand, but I wish there was no work schedule in the first place. I want my schedule to revolve around my family, not my job. I want to spend my days playing with Kalena, tending the house, having dinner ready when Brian gets home. And it’s hard for me to wait on that.
But I’m willing to wait. Because when it came down to it, my choices were to wait on staying home or wait on kids altogether. I’ve wanted kids since I was like 12, so by the time I was 24 I’d waited long enough! 🙂 Also, we want a big family, and putting off having children might have interfered with that.
I know that this situation is for the best. I know that Brian getting his education now is what will allow me to stay home in the future. More importantly, I know that having to work now will help me appreciate being able to stay home when the time comes. I hope at that time I’ll be able to do things the way I want. Maybe I’ll still have supply issues with breastfeeding. Maybe starting cloth diapers with the 2nd or 3rd child will be overwhelming. But I’d like a real chance at those things without work getting in the way.
Anyway, I have more to say on this topic, but I’ve gone on long enough so I’ll save it for another post.