I expected that having a baby would change any feelings I had about staying at home versus going back to work. What I didn't expect was that it would leave me even more conflicted.
Now I understand with my heart as well as my head why some parents don't want to return to work. I completely understand not wanting to leave your children if you have a choice. I understand enjoying being with your baby so much that you don't want to miss one single second. I believe that many feel more fulfilled in caring for their children than they ever did at their day job. I agree that caring for your children is as trying, demanding and draining (if not more so) than a typical job. I am painfully aware that child care costs can be hard to justify. As expected, I have an even deeper understanding, empathy and desire to support those who stay at home. I get it. I do.
I also see that working outside the home can bring a much needed balance to one's life. I get that adult interaction can be sorely missed. I understand wanting to feel like your own person, apart from your child, for a few hours a day. I understand wanting to perform and excel and be challenged professionally. I can imagine that many must miss their jobs, their coworkers, their office. I understand craving a regular schedule - `to get up each morning, shower and get dressed. I know full well how weekends aren't really weekends unless they are different than work days. I understand, empathize and fully relate to those who choose to go back to work. I will always have their back. I get it. I do.
So I was right. Having a kid of my own did change how I feel about the whole thing. Except I still don't have any answers.
If I had a job to go back to, I know what I would do. What would be best for me. But I don't. And I stay at home. For now. And perhaps for longer. Until the perfect job lands at my feet. And I love it and hate it. I'm busy and bored and challenged and fulfilled and lonely and content and unhappy all at once. I cherish every moment I have been given with her and yet I desperately long for some space. I want to get a job and yet I don't ever want to give this up.
It doesn't make much sense.
And there is no right answer.
At least not for me.