Do you other stay-at-home moms get that? That sort of "so what do you do exactly?" sort of question? I have had that question A LOT lately, especially as school has started and I'm seeing more of the kids' friends' parents, and they wonder if I'm working, if I'm not working, how much, who watches the kids, etc. etc. So here's the scoop: I have a great job. My #1 job is that I'm at home. Yes, I went to 8 years of college to be at home. My first bachelor's degree got me absolutely nowhere, except that I knew I wanted to go to nursing school. I think I figured that out in the second semester of my junior year of college (the first time around). By that time, I figured I might as well finish up with the Degree That Would Get Me Nowhere since I was only 2 semesters away from finishing. So I did. Then right away jumped into nursing school pre-requisites, of which I had NONE. So I finished those up, went 2 more years to get my BSN and worked for a few years as an RN in labor and delivery. During those years, I tried every conceivable option of working--full-time (for a very short amount of time, just until Max was born), part-time, days, evenings, just weekends, PRN...nothing really seemed like the perfect fit but I kept trying a new schedule, a new job.
Finally I went back to grad school...since the whole point of me going to nursing school was that I really wanted to be a nurse-midwife. After 2+ years of grad school, I finished up that degree and got my license to practice midwifery. I have tried a couple of different ways of working in that profession as well. Part-time, half-time, not at all...it is tough. I love helping moms and babies, but the schedule of it and the overall intensity of it was too much for my family life--and me. For 18 months straight I had migraines and crazy insomnia. So what do I do exactly now? Like I said, I have a dream job. The vast majority of the time I am at home...BUT I have been helping in an OB clinic for several years now, and now I have a more predictable schedule there where I work 2 days a month. Yep, 2 days a MONTH. One of my friends just yesterday said "Geez, I want your job." :) Nope, you can't have it, it's mine. So I'm a stay-at-home mom, where a couple times a month, I get to get out of the house, use my work brain, put on work clothes, talk with other adults, and get paid for it! I love it.
So what I've figured out...it is absolutely impossible for ME to "have it all"--to work more than I am now and have the ideal family life. It doesn't work. For right now, the dream job is 2 days per month, and that in turn means sacrificing parts of my job that I really love. But it is so worth it. That doesn't mean that it isn't possible for other people to have it all. We all have to do what works for us, and making judgmental claims about others' choices (or necessities) doesn't help the situation one bit. We all are working on making peace with whatever situations we are dealing with--so let's make that a little easier on one another!