When I found out I was pregnant in early 2010, a close friend gave me a book called “The Second Nine Months.” She said it really helped her feel better about what she went through after her daughter was born in 2009.
That introduction made me nervous. What did she mean, “what I went though?”
If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it. It’s a memoir about what happens when you’ve spent an entire pregnancy planning for a perfect bundle of joy and instead you’re faced with the reality of a newborn. (Spoiler: they cry and eat all the time.)
I’m five months into the second nine months, and I’m glad I was able to embark on motherhood with realistic expectations. We’re having a ball — and trying not to be too hard on ourselves.
Becoming Mommy has been at once exhilarating and alienating. I’m 27, and most of my friends don’t have kids yet. If nothing else that makes it logistically difficult to see friends socially. Also, I left my full-time job at the end of 2010. I’m grateful that I get to be home with my daughter, but sometimes it feels like my brain is turning into mush.
The truth is I have been ambivalent about going from journalist to stay-at-home mom.
My generation of women was raised to believe the world is our oyster and we can pursue whatever career we want. Maybe not all corners of our culture subscribe to this view, but mine does. And I’ve got a lot of years of education on my resume, so part of me is paranoid that there’s something wrong with choosing to stay home.
Take, for instance, the grad school professor who expressed disappointment when another woman in my class became engaged because to him it meant her education would go to waste. Or the former editor who told me I was too smart to end up staying home to raise kids.
There are some seriously mixed messages about women’s roles out there, and I really grappled with my choice to stay home. But it is a choice, and I’m confident it’s the right thing, right now.
When I was working I always had this nagging feeling that I needed to be at home, and at home I felt like I needed to be at work. I’m sure every mom knows this feeling.
Though staying home is right for me, I don’t think it would be right for every mom. For us, it came down to the fact that the cost of a second income didn’t outweigh the benefits. And I’m learning that the benefits of being at home are pretty great. Have you heard a baby laugh recently? It’s unreal.
I did not anticipate a year ago that this is where I would be today, but I don’t have any regrets. So far for me, the second nine months have been revolutionary.
Now it’s your turn, moms. Do you work outside the home? Did you struggle with a decision?