It has been 15 years since I worked full time outside of the home. I have spent the last 12 years being a full time stay at home mom raising my 3 beautiful children and have loved every minute of it. I have always wondered what was best for my kids and our family. It seems when I have asked stay at home moms, they feel that being home with the kids is what is best for the kids and their family and when I ask working moms, they have the same feeling about working outside of the home. So what IS the right thing?
Honestly, I think it truly is what is right for your specific family dynamics and children's needs but I do have to say that after being home and available 24 hours a day for my children, I think they have gotten spoiled with the fact that they didn't necessarily have to be responsible and independent. Maybe I wanted it that way so that I felt needed and valued. It has been a few months now since I have gone back to working full time outside of the home and it has definitely been a complete life change for all of us but there have been a lot of positives. My kids are more independent and responsible. I'm not available to drop homework off at school or a pair of sneakers because they forgot it's PE day. When I am home from work, we spend more quality time together and appreciate the time we have with each other. We laugh more, cuddle more, and truly have more quality time together.
Now please don't get me wrong, I do not think I could have left them when they were babies and I was so fortunate financially not to have to. The time I got to spend (24 hours a day) caring for them and catering to their every need is something that I feel so blessed to have been able to do. Never missing a smile, a hug, or even the all day spells of crying were some of the BEST parts of my entire life. As hard as it was having 3 kids under 4 years old I wouldn't have traded it for anything in this world.
So for me, I think it's all about balance (just like with most things in life). Balancing motherhood, career, and having your own identity is extremly challenging but showing and modeling to your children that you are strong, independent, and confident are so very important. However you split all of that up is a personal choice and don't ever let someone else dictate what is right for you and your family. What was right for me and my kids is to have that balance of working in AND out of the home.