As I sit here nursing my son. I look down at him and the decision to stay home with him is easy. There is no question, this is my place. No paycheck, no amount of income, no cars or fancy vacations can replace these fleeting moments.
Then the winds change. A whole world of opportunity opens up to you, things that you never would have dreamed of before now. It would make anyone second guess the decisions they thought they already made.
Let me just say, that there are many mom’s who who wouldn’t even think twice about taking such an offer. Some women have been blessed by God with gifts to share with the world, not just with their family. I thank God for these women every day. The world is a better place because of them. Some women are “working moms” and some are “stay-at-home moms” and there is nothing wrong with either one.
That being said, I refuse to let the working moms of the world make women who desire to be home with their children feel as if they are doing something wrong. I absolutely refuse to tread carefully with my words, and think twice about what I share on social media, for fear of making the “working-mom” feel guilty. Your choice to go to work, and to send your child to daycare 5 days a week, was your own. If you were blessed with the ability to make the decision to go back to work and in turn are required to spend 40 less hours a week with your children, own it. If you feel guilty about your choice, consider the possibility that you made the wrong one. There is nothing wrong with being a working mom. In fact, it has its benefits for the entire family, but don’t let your insecurities about your choices come off as an attempt to make other people feel bad about theirs.
Consider the fact that many women don’t have the choice. Often times, a woman HAS to work. Be it because she is a single mother with no other income to support her or because her family simply doesn’t make enough to pay the bills. Those women who made the choice to be a working mom, maybe it is because they wanted to maintain a certain lifestyle or because they truly enjoy their work, did it because they wanted to. There should be no guilt there. The mom who is forced to work, but would otherwise prefer to be home making arts and crafts with her children, didn’t have that freedom of choice. So to all of you working moms complaining about how the stay-at-home moms are making you feel guilty with their Pinterest projects and mommy groups, for lack of a better choice of words: shut it. It’s OK to want to stay home, just as much as it’s OK to want to work. Your guilt is your own, stop trying to pin it on everyone else.
I say these things because I stand here with a new perspective. At a crossroads between being the stay-at-home mom I so desperately wanted to be, and the working mom who can take her kids on vacations, and buy them all the toys an clothes the luxury of two incomes can provide. I see the benefits of working full-time that reach far beyond the financial. A choice many moms are faced with, and in turn have convinced themselves that there is a right and a wrong way to be a good mom. Generally, by picking a side and tearing down the other.
The stay-at-home mom in me hates the idea of paying another person (more likely a rotating cast of people) to take care of my son. I want to stay home and make art projects out of melted crayons, and fancy bento-box lunch designs. I want to attend mom groups, and be a card carrying member of my local BWI group. I want to be the one to help my children prepare for their first day of preschool. I want my children to feel the comfort and the security of knowing that no matter where they go after they step on the bus for the first time, that mom is always at home waiting for them. I want to always be available for their every need. I want to drive them to their after school activities and be always cheering for them in the crowd. I don’t ever want there to be a moment that I am stuck at work late, or in traffic, and my son makes the winning shot – with no one there to cheer him on. I believe so strongly in closely connected families, that I do think babies need to be carried and held, and kissed and hugged – as much as humanly possible. I believe that securely attached children should be allowed to experience the world on their own accord, when they are ready to do so. Not because they are forced to. When my kids are ready to try something new, I encourage it, even if it means they might get hurt. Want to take your first steps? You might fall down. You’re not ready to fall asleep on your own? Well then, I’m here to help you until you are ready.
The working mom in me, the person I always thought I would be until I looked my son in the eyes, wants the career. The working mom in me wants to show my children the importance of hard work and dedication. I want to teach my children to be independent, and social. The importance of an education, and a passionate dedication. To give my children the opportunity to learn to play with other children, experience the world, and have the opportunity the participate in activities I could never provide for them. I want to attend graduate student luncheons and I want to display framed photographs of my son in my office with a view. I want to bring home a paycheck that allows us to go shopping on the weekends, and lease two cars, and go on vacations to Disney World every year. I want to be able to give my children the opportunity to see the world while we travel. These things can make children feel equally loved, attached, and encouraged.
In every single way, these two scenarios are the same, yet totally different. Each way the child is loved, encouraged, valued, and respected.
So the question remains, not what the “right” thing to do is, but instead what is right for our family. It’s not placing judgement on others who chose differently. It’s saying, here is what we want in this season of our life. Seasons change, opportunities come and go. They only person who knows what is right for your family is you.
So post pictures of your arts and crafts without abandon, and don’t apologize for getting home from work late. Just be the mom you want to be, make the decisions that are best for your family, and own them.