It’s a conundrum many a mama faces: stay at home with the new bundle of joy or return to the daily grind. You might be totally gung-ho one way or the other when baby is just a plus sign on a stick, but when the little pooper arrives, followed quickly by the 12th week of FMLA-mandated maternity leave, things aren’t so clear. How can you leave this precious angel in the hands of strangers all day? (Or on the other hand, you might be chomping at the bit to get out of the house. Or a little of both).
I’m Switzerland in the Mommy Wars, so you’ll have to decide for yourself (my best advice is: you’re going to screw something up no matter what you do, so just do what you want. If there was a perfect choice to make we’d all be making it, amirite?). However, if you do make the call–whether from personal choice or necessity–to return to full-time, out-of-the-home work, rest assured there are some benefits. Sure, there’s the usual personal fulfillment, lean in, yadayadayada WHATEVER aspect to the question. But even more important is the benefits you don’t hear about. Stuff like…
You get to pee alone at least 85% of the time.
And use both hands to get your pants up and down.
You change a lot fewer diapers.
And go through fewer of those expensive Diaper Genie liners.
You have extra hands to help with big milestones like talking, walking, and potty training. If you, like me, are totally clueless about when your kid is supposed to be able to do all these things, you can just take the mean, median, and mode of his “classmates’ ” abilities.
No need to freak out.
Even if you miss a “first,” your kid’s caretakers are nice enough not to mention it so it can still be new to you. And even if they do gloat about witnessing Junior’s first step, it’s still totally exciting when you see it for the first time personally, TRUST. Also, they know CPR and first aid and might possibly be less frenetic should the need to use it ever arise.
People ask you about your child without the need talk about theirs.
The MMO folks aren’t listening–either because their currently living the same thing, or they’re too busy preparing what they’re about to say about their own speshul snowflake.
Adult conversations with people other than your spouse.
Sure, they may be about how to send long distance faxes and what the weather will be like for afternoon rush hour, but at least it’s not about Elmo, Dora, or alligators vs crocodiles (or God forbid, poop).
It may not be at a completely leisurely pace if it’s crammed into a lunch break or a quick stop on the way home, but at least it’s whine-free (but maybe not wine-free).
Less home work.
Yes, SAHPs work just as hard–possibly harder–during the day than people with full time jobs. Yet they still tend to get stuck with the bulk of the drudgery (even when the working half is around) just because they’re “home all the time” (right). When you work a full day, that lame-ass argument is totally negated. Equal division of chores: it’s not just a pipe dream!
You get to wear “real” clothes.
Wearing yoga pants every day is overrated (and yes, I have actually done it).
On those days one or the other of you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, passing off your kid to someone else for a few hours can do both of you some good. Don’t hate the truth.
..and the best part of working away?
Seeing each other after a long day apart is akin to the excitement of Christmas morning for both parties. Christmas every day? I’ll take it.