It’s the great divide, the line in the sand, the heart of the mommy wars: should you stay home with your baby or go back to work? Aside from important life considerations like money, personal fulfillment, or a desire to see your child all day, both parenting lifestyles come with their own perks. It’s a hefty decision. And there are good reasons to choose both.
Here are 9 perks of staying home with your kids …
1. Yoga pants
The power-suit uniform of corporate America is no longer for you! Throw off the shackles of your button-downs and revel in the slubbiness of a T-shirt and yoga pants. Possibly the same ones you slept in. You’re a mom. No one cares anymore!
2. A decided lack of paperwork
You’re used to filling out forms to requisition a form to fill out another form. Your baby doesn’t demand an expense report by 5 PM. The most you’ll do is pencil in information at the pediatrician’s, and this form will be so short you’ll laugh. You’ll lose your handwriting skills. You won’t care!
3. An increased social media presence
Spend your stolen minutes updating your Facebook status, uploading Instagram pics, and fighting with complete strangers in comment sections. You’ll finally have a chance to keep up with your friends’ food pictures, whining, and pop culture references. Plus you can bore them with endless pics of your kid.
4. Unlimited shopping time
Go to the mall in the middle of the day. Browse the makeup counters and shop for clothes that won’t fit. You can tie your kid down in a stroller for at least the first five years. Plus, you can wear your yoga pants.
5. TV time!
When baby is small, watch all those shows you never got a chance to. Real moms start with Good Morning America and work their way onto Netflix, where they binge-watch The Tudors or Degrassi: The Next Generation. As your tot grows, you can overanalyze children’s shows (why doesn’t the animated tiger wear pants?) and decide which theme song makes the worst ear-worm.
6. Time to clean your house
Not really. You won’t want to do this any more than you did when you worked, but now, people will judge you for it. Keep your laundry in baskets, wipe down the counters, and you’re gold. After all, you just had a baby/are chasing a toddler/have to keep up with a teen.
7. You can start a crafty hobby
What else are you going to use Pinterest for? Learn to knit or crochet, both hobbies which you can do while ostensibly watching your children. Kids over the age of 2 can be roped into modpodging. And don’t forget: you can always sell those hemp toe rings at the farmers market.
8. You can sleep when the baby sleeps
Before, your alarm blared at 5:30 AM sharp. Now, your mewling/wailing/shrieking little alarm may demand you rise at 3 AM, 8 AM, or even 10 AM. It’s a crapshoot every day! Then when your baby finally goes down for a nap, you can lose consciousness for as long as it takes that sucker to wake up. Theoretically. Actually, you’ll clean the bathroom in an exhausted stupor, because some dim part of you still cares.
9. Time to make the mommy rounds!
There’s library story time, gymnastics, mommy ‘n’ me swimming, the baby-wearing meeting, the hospital support group — tons of adult interaction with people who understand what it’s like to get barfed on. Other than handling human feces on the reg, you might not have anything in common with them. You will not care.
And if that list isn’t compelling enough, here are 9 perks of going back to work …
At work, you share a designated coffee pot. You can fill up whenever you need (i.e. all day). Most importantly, you can sit and chug that liquid magic before it’s cold — no need to desperately reheat all day. Also: office Starbucks run!
2. You can actually GET DRESSED!
You absolutely have to spend 30 minutes clocking quality time with your foundation, your lipliner, and all their makeup buddies. Other people are going to see you, and you have to look professional. Write off your Sephora charges as a business expense.
Pumps and heels, red and pink — you have an excuse to wear all the awesome footwear. You don’t have an almost mandatory uniform of flip-flops. Your feet must look as amazing as your face. Don’t you need to go to Nordstrom Rack and buy more shoes? You definitely need to go to Nordstrom Rack and buy more shoes. Maybe some leopard ones.
3. The commute
It’s as silent as you want it to be. You can chill out to some news on NPR. You can rock out to your Spotify. You can even nerd it up and listen to an audio book. Or you can sit back and enjoy the sweet, sweet silence you didn’t get from your screaming spawn at 3 AM. You can even play songs with the F-word in them. This is the ultimate in parental luxury.
4. Your boss
Your boss might be a grade-A jerk, but he doesn’t poop on the floor and expect you to clean it up. When he wants something, he doesn’t scream it at the top of his lungs. And if he touches your boobs, you can sue him for sexual harassment. On the other hand, his baldness doesn’t qualify as cute.
These people will feed, play with, and socialize your child all day long. They’ll even take responsibility for potty training! Instead of drooling on you all day, your kid can drool on people his own age. And once in a while, you can leave him there while you make an after-work grocery run. Alone. Oh, the ecstasy!
6. Other adults
Every day, you talk to people about subjects other than bodily excretions, bodily excretions on your clothes, sleep, and infant feeding. In fact, some of the people you chat with may not even know you have a child. If they do, they don’t care. You’re free to discuss cultured things, like The Biggest Loser or that trending cat video. Win.
7. Perpetual excuses for takeout
You devote umpteenth hours a day away from your kids to provide a better life for your family. There’s no judgment when you order out: who says you need to slave away at a hot stove? Chinese takeout to the rescue!
8. The weekend!
Work can suck. Then you have Saturday and Sunday: two glorious days of non-work, which can be amazing (farmer’s market, hiking) or utilitarian (catching up on housework). But any way you slice it, you’re not at work. So take a bath and drink some wine!
9. The bodily fluids rule
If one of your coworkers pees on your leg, he gets arrested, not congratulated. It is illegal for you to be spat on. No one poops in front of your chair, and unless you’re an EMT, they don’t bleed on you, either. You are safe from all bodily excretions other than your own. Oh, the magic!
The choice is difficult. The stakes are higher than just your child’s well-being. But remember, power suit or yoga pants, we’re all in this together. Even if we sometimes want to trade places.More On