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This is likely to start a long SAHP vs working parent thread. Maybe you'd be better to find the kids and ask them. In a couple of situations, I've found my kids had an entirely(and much better) view of them.

I have to say, my kids seem happy and healthy. They have lots of friends, success in learning, and both have a very headstrong personality.

*I* am tired. I am very very tired a lot of the time. But such is life.

My partner in life had no children of his own until I waltzed into his life, and he has become a working parent as well. He is also very tired most of the time.

We get up, we make breakfast, we get the kids ready, we drop them off at daycare/school, we go to work. We work, we leave work, we pick up the kids, we come home and make dinner/do laundry/help with homework (IN KINDERGARTEN, can you believe it?!)/bath time/snuggle time/bed time, we spend a precious few minutes alone, then crash.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The largest difference between Before Kids and After Kids is: I just THOUGHT I was busy before I had kids.

I laugh now at how packed I thought my schedule was. It was just so hard to squeeze in laundry, or (the thought of even trying now) a spa day with a girlfriend.

I was not busy. I am actually busy now, and let me tell you it's hard to be this busy when I haven't had a decent night's sleep for over 6 years.

I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom at one point. Hell, I'd still like to be independently wealthy enough to do so. ;) But I ended up divorced through no choice of my own, and those years I *wasn't* out of the work force? My saving grace. I'm not sure I could ever take the leap of faith now, making another adult the sole provider for my kids. I could do so if I was wealthy, but at my pay rate I don't see that happening anytime soon.

It's hard work, but I am happy. I can see now, more than ever, how the choice to NOT ever have children is a valid one for a lot of people - I see people, even some of my friends, that don't have kids and frankly, shouldn't. They don't have the temperament. And I don't mean that in a bad way - I could never NOT have children, because that is my temperament. I could also never have 45 kids or whatever that Duggar woman is up to now - that is not my temperament at all.

I'm not a perfect mother. I get frustrated and tired and grumpy. I lose my temper over stupid stuff. I'm human. One of the most humbling things I've learned from having kids is the ability to apologize - Sorry kids, Mommy is very tired and can't play right now. I'm sorry.

And that's okay, and THEY are okay, and I am okay. Both my parents worked (as did their parents) and I am okay. I'm college educated, I am in a steady, long-term relationship with a man that treats my children as his own, I have a profession I actually enjoy, we have a house and a dog and a turtle and a riding lawn mower and we are okay.

The kids play with sidewalk chalk and ride their bikes and play Connect Four with us and we've recently introduced the oldest to Mario Brothers (the original!) and he's way better at computers than I was at his age (and it's my career!!!) and the youngest? Going on 30, my gawd that girl will go far.

We get stuck a lot on the question of if people should be working, all the while ignoring THAT THEY ARE. The question of whether they should is moot, since it's lends nothing to the discussion - they are, and that is reality, so that's where we should be questioning and stretching and setting goals.

So the question shouldn't be stay-home versus work, it should be: in whatever arrangement is best for your family, how do you make it work, and make it better?

There isn't a dichotomy - we pretend there is, but there isn't. There is a continuum - from not working outside the home at all to working so much you never see your kids. Most people live somewhere in the middle, and it changes over time - when my son was very young, I worked *more* because of the job I had, but his father (my then husband) was home with him most of the day because of the job HE had. Over time, that shifted - I was home more (but still working) and he was gone more. At one point he was deployed and I was everything to everybody. At some points I've had two jobs, and some points I've had no jobs.

It's not either/or. It just IS.

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