Interesting perspective, asunshine. I do feel now that who I am as a person has changed in a fundamental way. I guess I just didn't realize how much I would love being a mom, and (at least for the moment) not even close to being unhappy or unfulfilled--I feel more happy and fulfilled than ever.
It might just be a phase though, I guess only time will tell. I do think I will work in the future. But then I've had others tell me that they've felt this way as long as their kids were young. One doctor friend told me that she hated spending her days taking care of other people's kids when her own kids needed to be taken care of too, and she felt like she was outsourcing the best job. (Her words, not mine. Again, hoping not to offend anyone, just sharing a range of perspectives).
I'm interested, asunshine, when did you feel that your honeymoon period was over?
The honeymoon phase was with the concept of being a stay at home mom, not with my son. I should clarify that. My love for my son only deepens and grows every day. Seeing him become his own person is simply awesome. It is because I value his individuality, and mine, that I continue to maintain a part of my life that is fulfilling to me and part of me as an invidual -- my work. I do know other moms who never returned from maternity leave because of the change you describe. I was also fundamentally changed by my son's birth in a way that I will never be the same (in a good way). To answer your question, I felt the desire to go back to work when he was around 12 weeks - but I was working from home. I was not comfortable returning to hospital work (ie, being away from him for hours at a time during the day) till he was 2 years old. I had to go back earlier for many reasons, but I really wasn't ok with it till then.
Thanks for sharing. I think it's important for all moms (and people, really) to maintain the parts of our lives that are fulfilling and make us individuals. For me, right now, I think I would feel unfulfilled if I didn't do this ( take care of my son full time) but I can see that one of the challenging (and exciting) parts of parenting is that you never know how you'll feel around the corner. It is amazing to me how much becoming a mother has changed my priorities, though, and also how much I don't mind that.
For me, I feel torn up about going back to work for at least the first year after the baby is born. And after, it gets easier. But the truth is, my kids are 4 and 2, and I still feel like I am missing out when I am at work. Mind you, not guilty, because my kids are fine. But sad like I am missing out. But compared to the misery I feel when my kids are younger than one year old, this feeling is much much milder. So you may not feel much differently even as kids get older. I am friends with many SAH moms who used to have high powered jobs who decided they are happier at home with the kids.
Hi Clee, I think you put it very well--I wouldn't feel guilty being away if I was satisfied with the care I left my son was in, but I think I would feel sad. I never expected to like being a mom so much, even when I was pregnant I didn't think I would love it so much. It feels a lot like falling in love.
I sort of think that I wasn't raised to be a SAHM. Girls who were smart and did well in school were supposed to want careers, I think. I have always said I wanted a career and family, but I sort of wonder if this isn't partly because I was giving the "right" answer that was met with approval. I think as a child if I said I wanted to be a SAHM, the adults in my life would have challenged it. After all, i was raised in a "girls can do anything" generation. (Not that I don't believe that's not true, of course. I just wonder if the ambition of being a SAHM was sort of degraded a bit in the process). I was thinking today about a lecture I heard by Anne Marie Slaughter, where she said that in some ways we tell girls they can care for a family or earn money or any combination, but we the message to boys is that they need to have a career that makes money. Maybe if more boys were told that being SAHDs was a valid option for them, then it would take some pressure off working moms and also escalate the value of stay at home parents. At this point I really live being a mom, but I also wonder if I won't be sad someday if I don't have a career. It's just hard to know. I'm trying to just take it one step at a time.
Anyway, I'm rambling. But it does help to write this down and also to read your comments, so thanks.