I actually have no idea why there has to be a 'versus' in that title. It implies conflict straight away.
I'm lucky, I get to do a bit of both.
When I first had Isobel, right up until the point at which I went back to work, I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mum. Who wouldn't want to spend all their time with the beautiful child that they gave birth to.
As it turns out, I actually found I enjoyed having a couple of hours to myself when Isobel went to nursery; yes I cried nearly every time I dropped her off, but it was good for me.
Remember I am a single parent (how could you forget) and although I am lucky in my relationship with PD that we do manage to co-parent at times, I do bear the brunt of parenting. No lie-ins, no-one else to get up in the night, no one coming home for supper and 'how was your day'.
So to me going to work is a respite, a chance for adult non-baby conversation. Not to mention the fact that I think being a stay at home mum must be blooming hard: how do you entertain a child all day? I worry that I don't give her enough stimulation, that I should do more things and go different places all the time. It's pressure and a lot of it, to bear on your own. It's not like I have family nearby to help take the strain.
No, it's me and just me.
I think all this isolation has a lot to do with my the state of my health mentally. I built a little bubble and lived in it. Slowly I drew the bubble in tighter, to a point where I couldn't let anyone in it or get out of it.
Meeting people, even people I was close to was hard, I wouldn't pick up the phone I still don't always pick up the phone, I wouldn't write, I just couldn't talk to anyone. It was too hard. I just wanted to curl up in a ball or runaway with my little girl.
I took pills, I went to yoga and now I work too. I've stopped taking the pills but not because I thought I was necessarily ready but because I simply didn't want to take them anymore. It's been tough, I walk a tightrope every day and I have no spare emotion left, I'm not even sure I have a safety net anymore.
I still find it hard to venture out, even the most innocuous invitation can shake me, but at least now, more often than not, I go and I have fun. I'm nearly me again.
So you see it's not that being a stay at home mum is something I look down on, it's just something I have realised I cannot do on my own.