Parenting is all about choices. Which obstetrician will you use? Or should you have a midwife? The choices only get tougher from there. One of the most difficult choices is whether or not to return to work and entrust your new bundle of joy to a childcare provider. Choosing to work from home is a deeply personal choice. There is the obvious emotional aspect. How could I entrust this tiny human being that I had grown in my belly for nearly a year to just anyone? Then there was the financial aspect. My daughter’s father was in the picture, at the time, but even together we didn’t earn enough to make paying for childcare worthwhile. There may have been a time when one income was enough to raise a family on, but unless you are in a high-income bracket, that is no longer the case.
There was also the question of proper nourishment. Breast milk is best, it is also cheaper and easier. At 2:00am, I didn’t have to stumble into the kitchen to mix and warm formula. I just had to let nature take its course. It was a moment to cuddle in and enjoy this tiny life I’d created. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to pump breast milk during an eight-hour workday. Not to mention missing those priceless moments shared with your infant. I was unwilling to put my daughter on formula or allow a daycare service to care for her during her those first formative months of her. The only emotional and financially logical choice was for me to work from home.
Staying home rather than returning to my job as a teacher’s aid took a chunk from our budget. It comes down to priorities. I made it my priority to invest as much time as I could into raising my baby. I took odd jobs online and baby-sat for other mothers for extra cash. My working from home gained momentum as she got older, but mostly we cut the budget wherever we could. I bought baby clothes at consignment shops and we gladly accepted hand-me-down clothes and toys. Rice and beans became a staple at our dinner table too. Each sacrifice was an investment in our child.
When her brother came, we had it all figured out. We even chose to enroll our children in a charter school to have more influence on their studies. I admit, there were times when I thought I would go nuts from the lack of adult company. I longed to be considered a productive member of society, but our babies have just one chance at a childhood.
They are both adults now. My son is finishing his last year of high school and working his first job at the local Baskin Robins. My daughter is 21 and has already earned her bachelors degree in computer science and biology and works for a tech firm in the Bay Area. I will always cherish the day my daughter called from college to catch up and said to me, “Mama, I’m sorry that you had to turn down all those great job opportunities just to stay home and take care of us.” I held back the tears when I told her, “I’m not. I’d make the same choice in a heart beat.” That moment alone made every bit of sacrifice worth it.
Author: Delvine C.
See all work at home personal perspectives on this blog.