As a parent who learned the hard way that I wanted to be home with my child, I can tell you that I love being a full-time mom. I was very career-oriented and couldn't see past that, even when I got pregnant.
I researched local daycares and felt good about the one I chose. However, when I dropped him off that first week, something didn't feel right. Sure, I loved my job. Sure, I had big plans, but leaving him there went against my mommy gut.
The urge to raise him myself (he was at daycare from 8 to 5 each day as an infant) was too strong to ignore. I was miserable, probably because I love kids so much. I mean, that's why I went into teaching! So here I was spending all day with other people's children while my own baby was cared for by strangers...
I quit my job at the end of the year and pulled him out of daycare at 15 months. I would have quit sooner but I felt obligated to finish the year..
I worked as a private tutor to help us make the transition to one income and learned how to be more frugal. I quit tutoring completely when I had my second child and didn't do any "work" until she was about a year old and I had the itch to get going again.
This time, I knew I wanted to write. I loved the flexibility writers had and was luckily enough to notice that the Natural Living site (my passion) here at Bella was available one night when I was surfing. Since then, I've gotten my first article published in a homeschooling magazine, launched my own personal website (janzeiger.com), and started writing regularly for pay at Suite 101.
I'm currently working on my first book which is a guide for homeschooling parents in my area. I've also got my eye on several magazines I'd like to write for eventually including Family Fun and Mothering. In the back of my mind, I'm mulling over the idea of becoming a certified lactation consultant, but I know there's too much on my plate at the moment. In addition to my writing, I've started my own Homeschool Consulting biz called A Love for Learning Homeschool Consulting and just started doing phone consultations and personalized information packets. I do homeschool evaluations locally, so this is my busy time of year
I'd also like to get another master's someday--but this time in natural health.
I even just started my own website for "green" resources in the Orlando area and am working hard to promote that. And to top it all off, I'm a distributor for Juice Plus and Usborne Books!
Why am I sharing all of this?? Because I think it's important to acknowledge that it's not a black and white issue. The internet has made it so even moms who want to be home with their children (and maybe even homeschool) CAN work from home.
I do a little here and there when they're awake, but for the most part, I work after they're asleep at night. I love the flexibility. I have several things going on and will stick with what's the most rewarding personally and lucrative. I hope to eventually replace my teaching income with everything I do from home, but I know that probably will take years to accomplish. I'm okay with that because I'm educating my kids and living life to the fullest. I dropped out of the "rat race" when I quit and we're no longer worried about keeping up with the family next door.
While I'm a bit of a workaholic (lol), my point is that moms who stay home with their kids no longer have to "just" stay home. It's already a full-time job, but some moms may want or need more.
I need to express myself. I need to feel like I'm making a difference in the bigger picture in addition to making a difference in my children's lives. I also feel driven to bring in an income for multiple reasons, with one being that I want to be able to travel more often with my family. I also want to bring in an income so if something happened to my husband, I would have to put them in school and go back to teaching.
As for connecting with other moms, I make it a point to go out once a week. I know many moms who get out less than once a month, so I can understand why so many get burned out. My hubby knows Wednesday night is my special time and that, even if none of my friends can attend, I'm going to the bookstore for coffee. Usually it's a group of 3 or 4 moms and we often close the place down.
Sometimes we even leave the bookstore at 11 and go to an all night diner to continue the conversation! I think connecting with and listening to other adults is important--especially when you're with kids most of the time.
In addition to my coffee night, I'm also a member at the YMCA and often go to workout with mommy friends. Our kids are happy playing in the childcare center while we get to workout AND catch up.
I joined to lost weight, having no idea how good it would be for my mental health!!
I have found in MY experience with local full-time moms that the ones who aren't happy simply aren't finding time for themselves. Some will even go back to work because they feel lacking in some way, while others (like me) will figure out what to do from home to meet that need for intellectual stimulation and grown up conversation!
Sure, I'm busy, but it's a good kind of busy because my schedule is so flexible and kid-friendly.
I really do feel like I have it all. All I need now is a housekeeper.