I don't work, but I've never worked so hard in my life. When we found out we were expecting, I wanted very much to be a Stay at Home Mum (SAHM). I never really bonded with child care when I was little, I'd had a rough time finding a suitable father for my child, and difficulties getting and staying pregnant. So, I wanted to be able to stay at home and be with my child as much as possible.
Also, for one reason or another, I have never had a career job. It's never really bothered me, but the downside is, with the sort of jobs I have had, they haven't earned enough for me to be able to pay for childcare and the other costs associated with working and come home with a profit, and my husband earns just above the cut off for help with childcare.
Also, with premature babies, there are other issues. Premature babies are at higher risk of infection, and nurseries are a very good place to pick up bugs, as there are lots of children coming from diverse areas, and with older brothers and sisters at school, its very easy for premature babies to pick up illnesses. An illness that might send a term infant back to their beds to sleep it off, can land a former premature baby into hospital.
So for all those reasons, I am a Stay At Home Mum, and for the most part, I love it. It causes friction every now and then, and we've had the odd "What DO you do all day?" arguments with my husband, when the house hasn't been done satisfactorilly, which I can completely understand. How can you explain the time vortex that a baby/toddler creates? Things that used to take me 15 minutes can take an hour, or more! Sometimes I have best intentions of doing something, and Joseph just doesn't allow it!
In the early days, when on maternity leave, life was sweet, we had extra pennies to go out for coffee and cake, to go out different places, to go shopping. Now without that additional income it can sometimes be very limiting, in summer and spring there are endless free and cheap things to do, in winter, not so much. In the early days there were free classes, baby massage and baby signing, and baby groups. Now it's harder. As fewer and fewer families can afford to have one parent off work, there is less demand for toddler groups. And legislation and OFSTED regulations make the setting up of ad hoc groups harder and harder.
I love my days with Joseph and we're finding more like minded mums for playdates, and we enjoy our time together. It's so fun watching Joseph learn and develop, and to find new things to do. Its wonderful to see him get the hang of a toy, or learn to make things with play dough. It's fun to be able to go and feed the ducks, or play in the local park. And the financial sacrifices are definitely worth it, because before too long he'll be in school and our long lazy days together will be a distant memory.