(drum roll please!)
You can now say you know the newest 4th grade teacher at Kitsap Lake Elementary!! Y'all this is like my dream job. It's a small school, I get to teach older kids, and I am so freaking excited! I can't wait! As far as Finn goes, he starts daycare on Monday!! I wanted him to have a few weeks to get used to it before I had to send him all day. Plus, this allows me to have some time to set up my classroom, do some back to school shopping, and just all sorts of other non-baby friendly things.
That being said, I am so sad to think that the majority of my days will be without Finn. I was talking to my friend who recently went back to work about all of the struggles of being a working (out of the home because stay at home moms DEFINITELY work) mom vs. a stay at home mom.
For me, I am a better mom when I am working. I am more engaged with Finn when we are together because I value my time with him since I know it is limited. I am not good at organizing play groups (asking people to hang out is this introvert's worst nightmare!) or coming up with educational activities to do. It's just not me. I'm also not on my phone (judge me but we all do it) as much and I am more willing to do fun things since we were apart all day. My patience is greater and my energy is higher because we spent time apart. The saying distance makes the heart grow fonder is true for me. I am a better mom when I am not with Finn all day.
I am also a better spouse when I am working. I don't sit at home all day waiting for Mike to get home. There have been countless nights where I have a long list of things for Mike to do when he gets home and then get upset when he doesn't do them right away because he wants five minutes to relax after being at work all day. I mean, how DARE he want to relax after working 12 hours? 😉 When I have worked, I come home and there are tons of things that need to be done around the house, but I'm more willing to let the chores slide because I haven't been sitting around all day thinking about them.
I also know there is the risk of missing all of Finn's firsts and I'm so lucky to have witnessed all of his first milestones thus far (he took his first steps last night!!), but in the grand scheme of things, it's a sacrifice that I'm willing to make and something that I think will not be as big of a deal as it is in the moment. Sure, I might not hear his first word, but I'll probably hear his third or fourth and it will be equally as cute (does anyone else melt over toddler speech impediments? I ADORE them!) and exciting.
I also know that being a mom is only one part of who I am. Another part is a teacher. Another part is a wife. Another part is a reader. Another part is a friend. I make time to be a (somewhat good) wife, to read, and to be a good friend, so I need to make time to be a teacher as well. I think it is important for Finn to see me as a person with my own interests. I want him to see me as someone who is independent, a go getter, a hard worker and someone other than Mom. I don't feel like he has that opportunity when I am not working.
I also think daycare can be a positive experience for Finn. He needs peer role models and social interactions with kids his age. It's good for him. When he was in daycare in Groton, he thrived. He hit all of his milestones early and loved being surrounded by other kids. Here in Washington, he has plateaued. I can't say for sure that it's because he wasn't in daycare, but I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. Some people ask me how I can be comfortable with other people raising my child and if I worry about him feeling neglected by his parents. I don't see it that way at all. I know Finn knows that Mike and I love him. I see it in Finn's smile when Mike comes through the door after being gone all day or the speedy crawl that greeted me after being gone for a weekend. Instead, I see daycare as an opportunity for more people to love on Finn and what parent wouldn't want their child to get more love?
And last, I value gender equality. I don't think that it is my responsibility to cook dinner and clean the house because I am a woman. It is my responsibility to do these things most of the time because I get home first or because Mike is doing other things, but it is not because I am woman. On days that Mike gets home before me (the VERY rare day!), I would expect him to take on these responsibilities as well. I want Finn to grow up seeing women and men doing things other things than what traditional gender stereotypes tell him.
I also know that the working mom life isn't for everyone. One of my best friends (her name may or may not be Anna...) is a stay at home mom and, y'all, she's amazing at it. She organizes playdates where they do educational activities and crafts, she has the patience of a saint and is just meant to be a stay at home mom. She finds ways to keep her identity while staying at home with the kids and surrounds them with lots of love. She rocks the stay at home mom life.
I am so grateful that the teacher lifestyle allows me lots of time off with Finn. I think the hardest job in the world is the job of a mom who works 9-5 (or more!) year round because you are filled with the responsibilities of the working world and the private world while never catching a break. I definitely didn't mean for this blog post to become a huge debate about the stay at home vs. working mom lifestyle and I truly don't believe that there is a right answer. There are some moms who would spend their whole day at work in tears, while others (like me) need to have something outside of the home. Each woman is unique and there isn't a right or wrong answer.
Being a mom is tough. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. It's also the best thing I've ever done. There is never a moment that I'm not grateful for the opportunity to be Finn's mom. It is, and always will be, my greatest joy.