Chicago stay-at-home mom: What I miss about working

As much as I love being home with my kids, and as much as I am dreading the day that I have to dust off the resume and plunge myself back into the workforce, I will admit that there are plenty of things that I miss about being in the workforce itself.  My last day of work was June 15, 2012, and as I waddled out of the office for the last time (carrying 40 plus pounds of my soon-to-be born second baby), I’ll admit that my face was stained, both with tears and, if I remember correctly, red velvet cake crumbs.

So, to mark the impending two year anniversary of my last day in my office, here’s a short list of the things about working that I occasionally miss.

My work friends.

Sure, I still see my two closest work friends at least once a month, but it’s different. I can’t just swivel around in my desk chair and look over at my friend G and ask, “Do you think I’m crazy for having another baby?” And I can’t just pick up the phone and dial four quick numbers to my other friend M and ask, “No, really. Do YOU think I’m crazy? Now let’s gossip for fifteen minutes in hushed tones while I squint at my computer screen pretending you’re a client.”

My work enemies.

Ah, of course I never had any work enemies, per se. Just a handful of people who absolutely drove me nuts. Maybe I had to listen to their incessant blathering all day long, and it made my blood pressure skyrocket while I suppressed the urge to rip my sleeve off my sweater, ball it up, and shove the fabric down their throat. Maybe I would see their name blinking on my phone as an incoming call, and I’d have to restrain myself from rolling my eyes and screaming a little. Either way, come to find out that I miss those lovable nitwits sometimes. But just sometimes. And really just the fact that they gave me something to complain about.

Lunch breaks.

Oh man, do I miss the lunch break. What a wonderful segment of the day. Here’s an hour that’s just for you! Do whatever you want with it! Take a nap in the car! Go shopping! Meet a friend for lunch! Hey, why don’t you go to Smash Burger? You love Smash Burger! Have fun! Actually taste and enjoy your food, because once you’re home full time with kids, you’ll never get to savor another bite.

The commute.

Surprise! Didn’t think that one would make the list, did you? Now, sure, my forty-five minute commute, ten times a week there and back, was pretty awful. But there are definitely days when a long drive all by myself with just my playlist and a hot mug of coffee sounds like a freaking vacation.

Being an expert.

Of course, now I’m an expert in motherhood, in raising two delightful, perfect children, in Nick Jr. programming, and in how to microwave a stack of frozen pancakes while simultaneously holding one child, screaming at another child, and slicing a pear with an extremely sharp knife. But I used to be an expert in other matters of the financial kind. I used to know things. I used to have answers to the sort of questions other adults would ask about grown up issues not having anything at all to do with Dora, potty-training or half-assing breakfast.  And there are days I miss that level of authority.

The money.

Well, of course I miss the money. All of us miss my money. Surviving on one income is not particularly easy, and we have sacrificed without my paycheck. I would be lying if I said I never worried about money when I was working, but now that I am not working, I think about money so much more. And there are definitely months when I lay awake at night, just missing my money and hoping and praying that the exchange (a full-time mommy versus daycare but some extra cash) is the right one for my little guys.

At some point, this stay-at-home mommy is going to have to go back to work, but I still don’t know when or where or how. The thought of reentering the workforce makes me feel a little agitated, truth be told. But one day, for sure, I will be sitting at a new desk listing the things I miss about being home with babies/toddlers/preschoolers. I know that long list is going to make me feel so sad that nothing will be able to cheer me up except, perhaps, a lunch break trip to Smash Burger.

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