It has been almost six years following the birth of my first child and you would think this mom guilt would start to fade into the distance. Boy I wish it would! The struggle is real ya’ll (I am by no means Texan but I felt it fit real nice there so I am rolling with it). It has been extra hard lately and I am in a funk and it’s not a flattering one. I know I am very fortunate to be able to decide as to whether I want to stay home or work but that does not make the decision any easier. Sometimes I actually wish I had that hard line drawn in the sand so I didn’t have to decide.
I have learned over these six years of having my first that you are “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. People are standing on either side of the fence ready to applaud you or criticize you. It has been especially hard lately as I am in a transition phase in my career. I have some who are applauding me for staying at home with my children which quite honestly, I may have told them that is what I was doing out of guilt when it reality I am only making a change in my career. I find it so sad that I seek approval so much that I would actually fib (ok maybe a little more than fib) than tell the truth. Standing on the other side of the fence are people who don’t quite understand why I can’t just jump into the career game without looking back.
This internal battle is what makes me crazy folks! Feeling like if I go all in, guns a blazing, my kids will suffer from not having a mom that is often present. Some say “your kids will know how to go after their dreams watching you chase yours.” I believe this is only partially true, leaning more towards the side of your kid being ticked you didn’t make it to a soccer game. I feel as though children will remember the games that you missed or parties at school that you didn’t make. Prime example, my parents were my biggest fans. The one time they could not make a track meet of mine, I remember. I remember everything about that day: the track meet, the weather, the feeling of disappointment but knowing it wasn’t because they didn’t want to be there. My fear is, if I miss too many years of my kids growing up I will look back on those years with disappointment.
I also feel that each of us have a gift and if that gift is practiced doing something outside the home than you should do that. If you were given the gift to help others by being a nurse, teacher, or caregiver, you should do that.
A few months ago I went to a bible study for mothers. The time that fit best in my schedule was the morning group of stay at home moms. I attended two visits and soon realized that it wasn’t the best fit for me. All my insecurities and guilt of working outside the home were brought to light by the other mothers in the group. I do not feel this was the other mother’s intentions but my own “less-ness” shining through. I felt like an inadequate mother by my decision to work some outside the home. My hope is that we as mothers could support and lift up other mothers instead of shaming.
What I have concluded from my own journey, even though it doesn’t numb the motherly guilt, is whether you decide to stay home or go to work, I believe that as long as your family is not suffering based on your decision, then you should go for it, whatever “it” is. I know I am a happier more patient parent if I work some and enjoy the time when I am home with them. This of course is just me and if staying at home is your jam, awesome! No judgement here, we are all trying to achieve the same goal with raising our children. NO MOM SHAMING ALLOWED!