To work or not to work? This is the question that has been plaguing me lately. A good rational argument could be made for either side. I loved my job as an architect and part of me would like to resume life as someone other than just Imperfect Mommy. I've been staying at home with the kids for more than three and a half years. It will be four years by the time I would consider going back to work. And that feels long enough to avoid the working mommy guilt, right? Probably not.
I've already considered that LR has only been alive for two of those years. Wouldn't it be nice if she got four years of mommy at home like Emma? And then I think about money. Living on one income in this city can be a little brutal at times. Of course, will I actually make any money after I pay someone quite a lot of money to take very good care of my precious charges?
I feel strongly that EC is ready to be challenged more and to interact with other kids on a regular basis. Maybe even make some friends whose parents we aren't already friends with? Does sending her to preschool mean that I have to go back to work to swing the tuition? Preschool tuition can rival college tuition around here. But can I find an option that would allow her to get her interaction and allow LR to get some alone time with Mommy?
Of course, this opens up other questions about where they will go to kindergarten? Public or private? And the biggest one of all... how will I ever be able to concentrate on my job when my kids are with complete strangers??? I thought that leaving them for an entire workday would get easier as they got older. And in some ways it has. But then my two little best friends and I have been hanging out every day for years and what will I do without them? I mean, what will they do without me? Or what will they do without each other? They've gotten awfully used to fighting over the same toys and screaming in unison to drive mommy nuts.
Living in the city provides us with so many choices in this area. Its nice to have choices until it means you have to make one. When I was small, my parents didn't have a choice of where to send me. Where I lived determined my elementary, middle and high schools. Childcare was slipping the neighbor some cash to look after your kids as well as her own. There are more than fifty elementary schools in the city. Even more if you add in K-8 schools. That many choices can be intimidating. And I have to consider if I'm willing to send them to any of those schools or if I feel like private school would somehow give me a little more peace of mind (I'm aware of how snobbish this sounds).
And maybe I'm being crazy to think this far ahead. But maybe I'm crazy not to. All these parenting decisions feel so huge. To stay home or not to stay home? Send them to preschool or just keep winging it at home? And finally, how do I take the emotional aspect out of all of this in order to make a rational decision? Because I'm pretty sure that I'll never be ready for anyone else to have as much time with them as I do now. And I can only imagine that it will be more than a little hard the first time I hear one of them profess that someone other than me is their best friend.