Having spent the past few years navigating the world of motherhood, it is amazing in its sisterhood. Once you're in the club, you're in the club! But acceptance doesn't come as easily as you might think. There are very distinct branches within the club, and they don't necessarily commingle...kinda like oil and water. There are the crafty moms, green moms, fit moms, blogging moms, military moms, single moms, young moms, old moms, hot mamas...even supermoms! Then, there are the more clearly divided branches of working moms and stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs). If you've ever seen these two groups pitted against eachother in an interview or on a talk show, you can see how vehemently members of each group will argue the virtues of their side and how it is better for our children. These debates definitely had me thinking about what my motherhood experience should look like!
Of course, me as mom looked absolutely nothing like what I thought or planned! As a mom, I've dabbled in various roles like being a fit mom, blogging mom, and supermom. Then, there were my ideas about working. I wanted to, like most moms, dedicate my life to raising my children. But, I am an executive member of my family's financial services business. As much as I tried to cut back my role to make playdates and music classes, the responsibilities of my position continued to grow. Frustrated, I had to finally place my son in a daycare (I HATE that word), thankfully for a lot less time then others...but still. Guilt crept in, as I heard neighbors and friends talk about playgroups and coffee dates and sign language classes and zoo programs that the SAHM-set get to do that I don't...that I don't even get invited to sometimes. As I pined away, from the quiet confines of my office, for my motherhood dreams slowing dying, I felt caged in. This is a family business, and I'm really good at what I do. But, my son...I love him so much! Looking around at what seem like so many moms that get to be with their kids all day, everyday, I felt so disheartened.
Then, someone told me something that I hadn't thought about before...that I really had the best of both worlds. I didn't have to be one or the other to be a great mom. I needed to simply look around me to see that I, too, am providing my BEST for my child. My financial contribution to our family means that we can enroll him in sports programs and a good care program without stressing about it. We can pay our bills, save, have some fun, and prepare for our future. My son loves school (my word for daycare) and has learned so much...maybe more than he would have, if he'd been home with me. In my industry, we are able to travel to some of the top resorts and destinations in the world, and my son gets to experience that with us. Since this is a family business, it is not unrealistic to think that it could pass to him. Because I work for myself, I can be there for him on sick days and school functions and even mommy-and-me days without batting an eye. Being able to juggle mommying and working, I feel good at not having let down my family by quitting and forcing them to hire a replacement. In return, I have been able to continue to grow in my role and have been generously rewarded. My husband and I are in the same industry, and I think me working keeps that bond between us very strong...we are still colleagues...maybe one day, we'll be business partners. For myself, I enjoy my work and what I do.
When I'm home, it's all mommy! No phones and no work. I do my absolute best to leave it at the office, so that I'm not working, when my son is there. I dole out my fair share of hugs and kisses and tell him I love him just as often. After being away, I am excited to reconnect with him and am very dialed into those opportunities. Seeing what a shining light he is, I can't say that my working has had a negative impact on him...that I'm providing a lesser experience...that it has been detrimental to him or that he is now worse off than a SAHMs kid. But, isn't that the point? Us moms are all just trying to do our best, given our own unique situations? As we get ready to welcome baby number two, I still wrestle with wanting to be home, instead of having to go back to work. I'm already sad at the thought of having to put her in daycare, although I hope to have an extensive maternity leave, just like before. But, as before, I will just do my best. So, don't judge me for my situation...don't hate on me, because my way of mothering is a little different than yours...why don't we all just back eachother up with some mad props for just being moms!
Encouraging Gratitude in a Season of the Gimmes
3 hours ago