The modern mom

The new mom comes in all ages, forms and settings. Gone are the days of the stay at home suburban housewife, for better or for worse. I myself, had never saw myself as a stay at home mom for whatever reason. Growing up my mother was fortunate enough to have stayed at home with my brothers and I for seven some years, while intermittently teaching community college and working on her doctorate dissertation.  When I did decide to have children I never really saw staying at home as an option. For one, I always wanted to have my own money and my own career. Another reason is I worked damn hard to get an education and fully planned on using it. Though I never wanted to stay at home I never really thought about childcare or what that would look like. Even after I got pregnant I really didn't give it too much thought. It wasn't until halfway into my pregnancy when it sunk in how expensive and scary the childcare situation was. Many of my coworkers had ready-made nannies with there mother, in-laws or grandparents. My husband and I had none of that to rely on, so I had to figure out a situation. Unfortunately I was still in grad school at this time, and was determined to finish before I had to go back to work. This meant I needed childcare on the days I had school all day starting when my baby was eight weeks old. After a lot of research we found a daycare close to our house that we could afford, did not have a wait list and felt safe. I felt so guilty leaving him there. I was interning that semester and I never mentioned to anyone at my clinical site that I had just had a baby and was still waking up 3 times a nigh to breastfeed, due to the feeling I would be judged for being a bad mom. It was so hard to take him to daycare at that age due to the interruptions in his schedule, the interruptions in breastfeeding, as well as the constant stress of getting him there, labeling bottles and pumping to make sure I had enough milk to leave him with the next day.

I went back to work full-time when my son was four months. I was working 12 hour shifts in an ER. I would try to pump on my 15 minute breaks, but getting that time was not guaranteed and having to find a space to pump was not always easy. I had to drop my son off at daycare when the doors opened so I could get to work on time. He was always the first to be dropped off, which made me feel so guilty as well. I would come home and he would be asleep and I would have to pump and get ready to prep everything to go to daycare. Things are easier now. I work two days a week. He is more
self-sufficient and sleeps and eats well.
Daycare is a great socializing experience for my son, and he likes his teachers and classmates. Unfortunately this country does not make it easy on working moms. There are few employers with on-site daycare, and many states do not offer paid maternity or paternity leave. Why we are so behind other developing nations with making it easier on the working moms, I don't know. I do know that it is possible to do both. You may be a zombie and hate your life at times. I never regret being a working mom. I love my time off  with my son, and I love challenging myself and earning my own paycheck. I think everyone's situation is different, and if you want and can stay at home with your kids it can be a beneficial experience.  I do know that you should not sacrifice a career over a family or a family over a career.
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