Kara Evans writes about parenting for the Armchair Mayor News.
COLUMN — Here in Canada we are privileged to be able to take a year off of work after our baby is born to raise them and adjust to life as a parent. In other countries, there is no guaranteed maternity or paternity leave and parents sometimes have to return to work in as little as 12 weeks, unless the company they work for provides other benefits.
This column is not one to boast about how lucky we Canadians are when it comes to taking time off work. More so, it is about how hard the decision can be to either go back to work or to become a stay-at-home parent.
When you start to break down the financial numbers, sometimes heading back to the office doesn’t make any sense. Childcare gets costly in a hurry, sometimes nearing $50 a day. When you throw in the price of gas to get to and from work, parking costs while at work, and how much you make an hour, sometimes staying at home and becoming a full time parent is the most logical decision.
If a person only worked a minimum wage job, it could barely cover childcare costs and they’d essentially be working for free, but sometimes, that’s the only option. Bills unfortunately don’t pay themselves and sometimes it takes two incomes to take care of them.
There have been plenty of days where I wish I were at work, soaking in the office gossip instead of arguing with my daughter that she does not need to watch “just one episode” of her favourite show.
I have been envious of the other moms who get to escape to the office, where they can be an adult again and wear nice clothes with fancy shoes, have conversations about politics or the switch of coffee brands in the lunchroom, or even talk in a regular voice instead of a sing-songy high-pitched one.
Then I realize that perhaps, just maybe, those working moms wish they didn’t have to be at work, that they could stay at home and teach their children everything in life that they need to know. While I’m pining away for questionable office coffee, I’m not realizing how wonderful it is to be able to stay at home. Sure, the daily at-home routine becomes rather repetitive and boring at times, but so can being at work.
I should add: special mention goes out to the single, working moms out there. There are a couple of women in my combined circle of friends and acquaintances whose super powers when it comes to working and raising a child will never cease to amaze me. They need to be able to make some of the ultimate compromises in order to meet both financial and parenting demands.
What I’ve definitely learned through discussion is that stay-at-home moms sometimes wish they were working moms, and working moms often wish they could be stay-at-home moms. The grass may certainly appear to be greener, and you may find yourself thinking, “Why can’t I be her?” but chances are, that other mom may be thinking the exact same thing.
Kara Evans tweets from @KaraEvs and blogs on http://www.shewriteswords.com.