A few months ago, I decided to get a few of my very great mom friends together and start a play group where we meet and discuss interesting topics or current events. And while we actually talk more about child-related things than I initially planned when I organized the play group, it is the most enjoyable few hours of my week. On Tuesday we were sitting out on the grass of our favorite park, babies playing happily and independently close by, sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing, and we exclaimed "who ever would want to go back to work when you can do this all day!"
Now, I think we all realize that for a lot of mothers (especially those that are single), going back to work is not a choice. For us, with smart and hard-working husbands around, it is a choice. I never really "got" the appeal of staying at home until I went back to work, but even now, it's hard for me to really "get" the appeal of working outside the home because my job kind of chews up my brain and then spits it out again, so at the end of the day I have a horrific headache and am completely worthless (but... I quit. More on that tomorrow). If I went back to school and ended up with a career that I was passionate about and was working with similar individuals, I think it'd be different. Right now, all I want to do is be home with my toddler and hang out with my friends (and get back to exercising, cooking, and sewing... things I've been missing dearly). But I know once I end up home again for a few months, I'll be itching to go back to school. And as of right now, that is the plan. I'm doing pre-requisites for nursing school and will be ready to apply at the end of the summer. I'll probably take the GRE sometime this summer in case I decide to do the accelerated master's degree in midwifery. Nothing is set in stone with going back to school yet, but we are moving in that direction unless we get the feeling that it's not the right direction and we'll revise.
On a tangent, I think I will have a very hard time letting Tim control the parenting decisions. The thought of a working father coming home and correcting his wife's decisions on what to feed the kids and how much TV to watch annoys me, yet I am always telling Tim what to do... like not feeding our kid ramen or playing computer games while he's watching TV. Even though they aren't my decisions to be making as I'm not at home, I hate the out-of-control feeling of thinking that my child is not getting enough attention or healthy food. Don't get me wrong, I think Tim is doing a great job for the most part... they play outside all the time, go to the library regularly, and Tim has the added pressure of tons of schoolwork. But I still can't shake the feeling that me not staying at home could potentially be a bad thing for our family. And I hate that feeling, because how are women's voices to be heard when they aren't in the workplace/Congress/hospitals helping women birth?! Can fathers raise kids like mothers can? Is it the same, or just different in an equal kind of way? Tim definitely has talents I don't have, like patience and contentedness and he's much better at keeping the dishes done (oh wait, he's 100% better at that as I never do the dishes). And I know if I did decide to go to school full-time he would step up to the plate with the cooking and the pediatrician appointments and other things that are solely my domain at the moment. Would I even do a better job? Who knows. I'm definitely known for feeding the kid Annie's Mac and Cheese for every meal when I'm feeling lazy.
Another aspect of Tim staying at home that we've discussed is the opportunity to have friends to hang out with during the day -- he's convinced it'd be a little creepy for him to go to play groups with a bunch of women or even just hang out with Melissa while Casey is at work... and he's probably right. Hopefully if I do go back to school we'll move to a progressive enough city that there will be other stay-at-home dads around.