As I reflect on my daughter’s first year of breastfeeding I find myself comparing the journey to my first daughter’s. It’s impossible not to even though the situations are completely different. With my first, Claire, I went back to work full time as a teacher when she was only 12 weeks old. I had to constantly think about my milk production, schedule, and pump supplies. With my second, Natalie, I opened my own mini daycare and stayed home with her and her older sister. Schedule didn’t matter nearly as much and my pump no longer was attached to me, literally.
Going from a Working Mom to a SAHM/WAHM I have noticed some major differences.. As a SAHM there is:
LESS PUMPING- or any pumping really. Hallelujah. I pumped probably 50 ounces in total with Natalie. Compared to 10-12 ounces a day with Claire.
LESS CLEANING- Way less pumping, means way less cleaning bottles and pump supplies. For me this was the worst part about pumping. Sanitizing, using bottle brushes and the whole thing took forever.
LESS BREAKS- Natalie is a year old and she still hates being away from me. I’m sure this is part of her personality but it also has to do with me being by her side constantly, nursing on demand and her never taking a bottle. I’m her Number One. I was Claire’s number one but I could leave her for a date night or a doctors appointment without finding someone who could deal with a screaming baby.
MORE BREAKS NEEDED- There are less breaks BUT more breaks needed. At least for me. With my first when I was at home I wanted every minute spent with her. Every moment with her was extremely special and used with intention. My school vacations were scheduled and used efficiently so that we would have the best time possible together. I used to get mad that a church we go to offered to take Claire to nursery because I couldn’t imagine spending one of my precious hours with my daughter away from her after spending Monday-Friday days away from her. Now that I’m home I love a break. When my husband gets home I am so excited to go to the store alone or really do anything alone.
MORE NURSING- Natalie nurses so many times a day(and night) its hard for me to count. She nurses when she falls, sees something that scares her, wants to cuddle. It’s constant. Claire would sometimes nurse like this but she mainly nursed for food because she was in daycare five days a week and learned other ways to cope.
LESS SCHEDULING- As much as I like schedules I don’t HAVE to stick to one. As a working mom I had to stick with a certain nursing/pumping schedule or my supply would get messed up. Every ounce counted.
LESS STRESS ABOUT NIGHTS/MORNINGS- My husband reminded me of this the other day. He was talking about how with Claire I would get so stressed out if she was crying at night. With Natalie I do the night feedings without much stress. I know worst case scenario I just don’t leave my house the next day. Mornings were filled with measuring ounces and packing a lunch for daycare. There were many mornings I would get so frustrated that one of my pump supplies didn’t make it into the sink to be cleaned the night before and I would be rushing like crazy.
SICK DAYS NO LONGER EXIST– When you are a working mom and you have your child paid for and set to go to daycare you can take a real sick day with no children yelling demands. As a SAHM sick days are the same as every other day except you feel guilty for putting them in front of the tv for hours.
SAME AMOUNT OF GUILT– In both situations you feel guilt. As a working mom you feel guilt for dropping them off if they are having a rough morning, or not being able to be with them when they are feeling sicks. As a Stay at Home Mom you feel guilty for not making as much money and for not ‘socializing’ your child as much as some people say you should. You feel guilty if the house doesn’t look perfect because you were home the whole day.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to be a working mom and a stay/work at home mom. Overall, balancing alone time, mom time, and work time is hard! You have to do what’s best for your family and for your sanity. Being a mom is hard and finding balance is key… let me know if you figure it out ;-).