By Cassie Murphy
It’s hard to imagine life before my bright eyed 5 pound 7 ounce baby boy who came into this world october of this past year. I was adopted by my grandparents, but growing up, mothers warned me… “You think you know love, that is until you have a child!” He was so beautiful, everything from his soft skin, his tiny fingers, tiny toes, his little nose, i just couldn’t stop kissing on his cheeks.Things had just began returning to normal when our family all went home to their parts of the country and my partner and I were alone. Happy yet sleep deprived, we found ourselves learning along the way. We couldn’t believe how quickly he was growing and changing every day, and I didn’t want to miss a single moment. I finally made a little human and he was all I really had time to think about for the first nine weeks – until my world came to a screeching halt.
We started receiving the labor and delivery hospital bills week after week, all with different amounts, some showing deductions that insurance covered and what employer-sponsored insurance didn’t cover. My son even had a hospital bill in his name and the company where I received my “Free” breast pump had also sent a bill. Wait I thought that pump was free?
Reality quickly caught up with us. I so very much wanted to stay home with my bright-eyed baby boy who’s personality was just starting to shine. We did the research about innate bonding, wanting to be with my little one.
It hurt my heart that I would have to depend on strangers to care for my child. Monday through Friday 10 hours a day, 50 hours a week, I would be without my bright-eyed baby boy. Perhaps he would learn from daycare providers and other children, not from me, his mother. And with a job making a little more than minimum wage, we crunched the numbers and many of the day care costs would be more than a $500 difference between my full-time job in customer service. So we decided to take the leap and I sent in my resignation to work.
We checked in to some alternative job solutions that would allow me to stay home. This was not an easy task! Most of the customer service jobs I found required your background noise to be minimal or none at all, i’m sure that the customer doesn’t want to hear my 9+ week old crying because I cannot assess my little one’s need while I assess the need of the customer. I looked at other options, the many online “Be your own boss”, “work your own hours” type of business such as IT WORKS, Beach Body, Arbonne, Traci Lynn, even Amway to name a few. All of the stay at home moms looked to be doing very well according to their Instagram and Facebook updates, but they all had start up costs and it would take years to build a successful business.
With no work, little savings, nine weeks of unpaid leave (not counting my bedrest days), and the uncertainty about the affordable care act, I had to go back to work, and thankfully my company allowed me to rescind my resignation.
Why didn’t any of my mommy friends warn me? I literally cried in the parking lot the day I dropped my son off at daycare. It was the hardest thing yet (outside of the cry your child makes when they get vaccinated.)
My son comes home exhausted during the week and although he seems to be doing well at daycare, I still don’t feel like I’ve won the battle. I am thankful for the professional who cares for him in her home each week but now I live for the weekends with my family. Since then I have asked other women if perhaps having lived the first few years of my life in foster care had made me extra sensitive to this dilemma, only to find that I am not alone. In fact in more progressive countries this is a supported value with supportive policies.
It makes me all the more appreciative of the generation of working mothers who often had to make a difficult decision between poverty and daycare. Looking around the world, I know it doesn’t have to be this way.
“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all of her hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.” ― C. JoyBell C.
My “New Mommy” battle has just begun!
Cassie Murphy is a new mother and after 6 years of working in customer service has decided that the world could benefit from a huge dose of kindness.