I enjoy it and it is way nice to get a regular break from the mom grind. It’s good that moms do it, but it is hard and it does make me a little crazy day in and day out. Like many moms, I think about 6 times a day, “can’t you nap just a little bit longer?” Well, now for a whole four hours every single day I don’t have to worry about how short his naps are. I get a break from the diapers and the cluster feeding. Of course if I had to choose between parenting him and working I would hands down change all of his diapers and feed him every hour on the hour, but I don’t have to make that choice and that is way nice. I cherish my time with him more and I feel less resentful.
Another reason I’m working is because I want to have money to do good stuff with. Theoretically I could do this with my husband’s income since he says what’s his is mine. But it’s not the same. I saw this play out the other day when I asked if we could donate to the IRC for Christmas and how much and he said, “Yeah. However much you want since you work.” That’s one of the big reasons I wanted to keep working and why I think it was inspiration to ask my boss if I could work part time after maternity leave even though that’s not usual and I had just started at the company and asking about it terrified me. Because since I was twelve I had this dream of having lots of money to help people. Some people feel like they need to be a nurse or a nun or a stay at home mom, etc. to do their part in the world. I’ve had this bug in me to build wealth to help with since I was a kid. I’m way thrilled that I can spend so much time with my little buddy and also pursue this other dream.
Another point, stay at home moms don’t have all their time to focus on their kids. They still might coupon or blog or make homemade things or scour thrift stores or refurbish used stuff to save money. Sometimes they spend a lot of mental and emotional energy on this. I’ve basically traded working for spending time doing that stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with all of that. I like developing software more than doing frugal housewife diy stuff. Some moms love that stuff. More power to them. Some moms have to do that stuff. I don’t and I’m grateful for that.
Another thing, the extra financial freedom that my income brings honestly brings a lightness to my heart and a spring to my step and a little extra sugar coating of peace to our marriage (I mean we argue about other stuff still, of course). It’s so nice. I think maybe just because of how stressed we were about money growing up money really weighs on me and not having to worry about it is totally incredible. And I think that affects kids. When mama is stressed everybody is stressed. When mama is calm everybody is calm. So I think me working at, least at this point in life, will honestly make a happier more peaceful home.
I think it could be easy to see a desire for more money as selfish or vain. But money provides a lot of stuff that isn’t selfish or vain. Wasn’t there a study that said that after a certain income level, you don’t get any more happiness when you get more money, but before that income level, you do get more happiness for more money? I imagine because you don’t have to stress about basic comforts and missed opportunities (things like family vacations or piano lessons, for example). Money determines where you can go and where you can spend your time and desiring that kind of independence isn’t bad.