"I can't do what you do"

This was said to me by a very good friend this week who has just had her second baby girl. What she was referring to was me being a full time stay-at-home wife and mother with two small children with no regular childcare. So I said the same thing right back at her!! She works 3 days a week (when she's not on maternity leave) and her daughters will be looked after by her mum one day a week and in nursery the other two days. Her mum does a bit of housework etc too.

I just know that if I worked, it would be me still having to do the majority of housework and food shopping and cooking etc. It would be me who would be getting up mostly at night when required, it would be me who would be responsible for taking and collecting children from nursery and certainly my responsibility to stay home with them if they were sick. Hubby would help, but that is what it would be, help, not doing the organising and thinking that has to go on for any of the above to happen.

My friend then said something very interesting, and it was at this point that I realised that there is a cost involved in whatever lifestyle choice you make as parents. She said that because she works, it means her husband doesn't go for certain jobs or promotions at work because it means that he would be away more, or have less flexibility when it comes to looking after the children. She feels that this holds him back. The same is said for her job too. In our house, the 'cost' for us is that I don't bring in a second wage, I don't have 'any other identity' than that of mother and wife. But you know what? I feel that this is a price worth paying, both so that Hubby can achieve all he wants to in the business world, and that our children have me around all the time. I don't have to worry if any of us are poorly, and I can structure our lives around what we want, not what some employer is wanting.

Yes, sometimes I struggle on days when it has been really tough, when I've not slept properly for what feels like months when I think 'wouldn't it be lovely to have someone else take care of the children so that I can do what I want to do'. But then I realise that what I want to do is be at home with my children, warts and all. So perhaps, there is no cost at all...