My Husband’s Mom Stayed Home So He Wants Me To—No Thanks

My husband grew up walking to school with his mom and coming home to freshly baked cookies and coloring books. Because of his upbringing, he’d love it if I was a stay-at-home mom but that’s just never going to happen.

We both have flexible jobs anyway. My husband and I both work at decently paying jobs that have regular hours. He can sometimes work from home and my office is flexible on start and end times. They’re also relatively secure (knock on wood) with good health insurance benefits and 401K plans. To top it all off, we’re still able to get home early enough most days to take our daughter out to the park, swimming, or the library.

Left to my own devices, I’d run out of ideas and end up losing my mind. I’d do my best, obviously, but I’d end up taking our daughter with me for errands or to wander the mall a couple times a week. Household chores would start piling up, which would mean I’d need to park her in front of the TV while I prep lunch or put on laundry. Nutritious meals are great but I’d eventually just give in and make her something she’ll actually eat. I love reading to her and trying to teach her new things, but could I keep this up day after day? I’m not a professional and I’d rather outsource to people who are.

He didn’t know how great daycare programs can be. Our daughter attends an awesome preschool that she loves. The staff are great with her and she gets plenty of healthy foods (which she’ll eat if other kids are).  She spends lots of time outside and has a structured environment to play and learn. In fact, I think she’s learning much more than she would if she stayed at home with me every day. Her teacher is a certified early childhood educator who creates lesson plans and develops play-based learning materials. She is a total godsend.

I don’t think it’s healthy for our daughter to be with me 24/7. I love spending time with our daughter and value the things we do together, but I also don’t think it’s healthy for her to never be with anyone else. I want her to learn to play, share, and interact regularly with other kids before she starts kindergarten. How will she do that if she’s always with me?

My husband has fond memories of his school days but so do I. Seeing my mom at home for lunch was something I never knew, but my husband did it on a daily basis. He also walked to school with his mom every single day while I took the bus. He had his mom as a parent chaperone on field trips too. My experience may have been different, but I still had a happy, healthy childhood regardless. I don’t need to be a SAHM to ensure our daughter feels the same.

Two incomes are better than one. We live in a major metropolitan area with a sky-high cost of living. It wasn’t realistic for me to seriously consider dropping out of the workforce, even after factoring in child care costs. If I left my job now and didn’t return until our kids were school-age, I might have a really hard time getting back into the job market. I might even have to start over in an entry-level position competing with all the new grads out there and I’m not feeling that.

I began to feel isolated during maternity leave. I’m lucky enough to live in a country where parents have the option of taking a year off work after having a baby. While I’m so glad I took the full 12 months, there were definitely parts of me that were starting to dry up. Like my ability to make small talk or relate to other adults. I didn’t think I could be at my best day after day if I spent all my time at home.

It takes a village. As the first baby in our extended family, both sets of grandparents love to spend time with our daughter. Both our moms were over the moon to help out with babysitting a few times a month, and I’m thrilled that she’ll grow up knowing and loving her grandparents. Since I was lucky enough to have that support to supplement our childcare schedule, it definitely made going back to work a no-brainer.

I always assumed I’d be a working mom. Just like my husband initially assumed that I’d stay at home because his mom did, I always thought I’d go to work because my mom did. I liked that she had a life outside of me. She had colleagues that were her friends, projects she had to work on, and company functions to attend. Even though my daughter is my whole world, I want the same for myself. Plus, I want to show her that it’s possible to have a thriving work and home life, so she knows she has a choice if she ever becomes a mom too.



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