Overall, I would give the past year 2 thumbs up. I have loved getting so much time with Charlie. That would obviously be the primary benefit - and one I had the urge for as soon as my maternity leave was coming to an end. I think a lot of women go through that, though - especially with their first child. It is so hard to leave them at daycare and they seem so tiny. But you get used to it.
As a secondary benefit, staying home has also made things around our house a lot easier for everyone. Our weekends are no longer races to get all the errands run because I do a lot of that during the week. I typically have a babysitter come for one afternoon a week so I can take care of things without Charlie. Overall, things just run a lot more smoothly, which was something we were in dire need of with Brad out of town for work so much.
It's a lot saner for me, not having to take care of baby + house + full time job + all other in-town things while Brad is gone. I think it's also a lot saner for Brad because I'm not as stressed and he can spend his weekends doing fun things with us instead of us constantly trying to keep our heads above water.
I guess you could say I gave up my job in favor of his. And that's probably true. I had kind of reached the natural stopping point for me at the job I was at and I was also dying to stay home. Brad loves his job, apart from having to be away so much. He loves being a workaholic. So I think we are both doing what makes us happy right now.
It's a luxury for me to stay home, and I realize that. I'm fortunate that I had a choice. A lot of moms don't. So I feel very blessed.
However, not being employed messes with my head a bit. After my job ended in April it was kind of weird and unsettling to no longer have a job. It still gets to me periodically, especially with this crummy economy and unemployment rates so high. I kind of can't believe I gave up such a great job. It's a strange panicky feeling until I remember each reason I chose to do this in my head.
I've even had a couple of dreams where I knowingly lied to people and told them I was working. Isn't that crazy?
As much as the part time gig was a great thing for a while, I'm relieved it's over. I didn't enjoy the pressure and feeling like I was never doing enough. Also, Charlie's not sleeping as much these days, so fitting in the hours would have been tough. His naps are shorter and he goes to bed later. It would have been tough to keep going with no daycare.
I recently met a couple of other moms who quit their jobs to stay home because their husbands travel every week and it's been nice talking to them. I feel like less of a wimp for bailing on my career right now. I know I'll pay for it later, when I decide to go back to work, but it's definitely feeling worth it so far. It's nice to meet other people going through the same thing in life.
So overall, it's working out great. I think it's mostly working because it's what our somewhat unique set of circumstances needed. And each of our unique circumstances is really what we have to base our decisions on in this arena, don't you think?