Oh, I know, right? What a completely obnoxious blog title. For the love, you're thinking, if this turns into a Mommy War piece, I will personally take a giant steaming crap on your windshield.
(Or ... perhaps not? Perhaps that particular colloquialism is mine alone? Shame, really. It's such a versatile threat, you'd think it would get used more often.)
Anyway, don't worry, I'm not here to take sides, and I certainly hope you aren't. I've just been thinking lately about what sort of answer I'd give to that question, because someone recently asked it of me. As someone who used to do one thing and now does the other, she wrote, which do you think was/is harder for you as a mom?
Here is where we immediately step into very tricky territory, right? Because of course it doesn't matter what I think. Every family is different. There is no universal "better" when it comes to parenting, unless we're talking about some general no-shitters like "feeding children nutrients is better than giving them Four Lokos" or "it's probably better to hold off on Baby's First Bungie Jump until they can hold their heads upright."
But I wasn't asked to come up with a politically correct non-answer, I was asked to share my experience, and so I did. I said that in some ways, my enjoyment of motherhood has deepened over the last couple months. I love how we don't need to rush, that my time with them is not limited to the craziest parts of the day. I love not being 20 miles and who knows how many traffic-choked minutes from them. I love the little moments we have together, the books and the games and the hugs.
I am particularly happy to be shed of the logistical migraine of juggling work and daycare, and I no longer have a coronary event when my phone rings (my god, my god, that moment of seeing the word "KINDERCARE" show up on the display).
There are debits with the credits, though. I don't miss my commute but I do miss the joyous shrieks of my boys greeting me at the door. That little family reunion we all enjoyed every weeknight was really something, you know? Yes, we were apart during the day, but then we got to come together again and it was a glorious daily celebration.
There's the inevitable frustration of balancing work and home. The isolation, the drudgery, the things that add up and can make me unpleasant to be around at times.
The fact that I no longer have a whole different aspect of my life to focus on, with adult conversation and interruption-free lunches.
So I don't know. There's no simple answer. For me, what I'm doing now makes me happier than what I was doing before, and I think that's the best I can hope for. Parenthood involves so many compromises and so many ever-changing factors. If I were talking to someone who was trying to decide what to do—whether they were going to keep their office job or choose to stay home—I'd say, there is no ideal option. Whatever you choose, sometimes it will be exactly what you need and sometimes it will suck massive balls. Either way, it will be hard. Either way, you will have ups and downs.
But most importantly: no matter what happens, you'll make it work.