Recently I read a blog from my buddy Abesh's wife talking about working after motherhood. It's a very honest and highly recommended bit of reading, but it made me think about my own path to validating that I should always work full time.
When my wife and I got married, she already had a 5 year old, who was (and is) awesome. He was absolutely the sort of kid you'd send over to someone's house if you were trying to convince them that having kids was a good idea. It was especially cool because his biological is a great dad, so we had him exactly half the time, which meant we could still, you know, go out and do things. Due to the ease of hanging with Michael and the part-time nature of that, being a stay-at-home dad still seemed like a possibility.
Shortly after getting married we had another child, [Note: But not that short -- the really magical magic happened after the honeymoon. Lucas was born almost exactly 1 month before our first anniversary. Stop judging me.] and everything changed. I mean, this kid was here every stinking day; I was like "When is his dad gonna pick him up from daycare?" Then I was like "You idiot, you are his dad." Then I was like "You need some damned sleep, man." I realized at this point that staying at home might have some drawbacks.
Then, when Lucas was about 6 months old, he got sick. Not deathly ill, just that sort of sick where they are too sick to go to daycare because they might give it back to the kid who gave it to them at daycare, but not sick enough to hang out all comatose on the couch all day while you work or nap or whatever. I had the schedule flexibility at work to stay with him the whole time, so he and I were home alone with each other for 3 days. I don't actually remember anything that happened during those three days, but we literally wouldn't talk to each other for 6 weeks after that. You may think you could never stay that angry at your own baby for that long, but trust me, it's much easier when he is even angrier at you. It was about this point that I knew being a full-time stay-at-home parent wasn't in the cards for me.
I am thoroughly convinced that the key to a happy child is happy parents (perhaps not drug-induced happy, but happy). What path is right for you isn't going to be right for everyone, and that is OK. What isn't OK is judging other parents for their decisions. At least not until you have some kids and have what I like to refer to as "grown up problems," then judge away, but know that those parents don't give a crap what you or anybody else thinks. [Note: I'm sure those without kids just read that last sentence and thought "Wait, I have grown up problems," and those with kids are just nodding and smiling. Because you don't.]
And whatever you do, don't be like this advice-seeker, who is obviously still a child.