Judgement. Resentment. Gossip.
The working mother is no stranger to these. She puts in long hours at the office and comes home to continue her work. Though she may get to interact with some adults at work, there is much she misses out on. There are no playdates, mom’s groups, or morning get-togethers at the park or local indoor playground. Mothers who gave up their career to stay home may resent her. Mothers may judge her. Many feel as though her choice is theirs to comment on, question, or attack.
As a working mom, mornings were hectic, as I rushed to get myself and my young daughter ready. I’d head to work, and spend my day pouring myself out for other people’s children. After work, I’d pick Hannah up, head home, and try to sneak in some playtime before making dinner. Once she was in bed, it was back to lesson planning, paperwork, and grading.
There was never enough time.
I was tired, stretched thin, and constantly felt like I had nothing left to give. And yet, I gave. I gave what I could each and every day. I was doing my best – and making the choice that was best for our family. And every few days, someone would ask when I was going to leave the classroom. Didn’t I miss watching my baby grow up? Wasn’t I worried about her? How did I feel about having someone else “raise” her?
It was clear what the “right” answers were. “Real” moms just don’t work.
There are some who would like to make working mothers feel as though they are “less than.” You’re told that your “place” is in the home. If you work out of necessity you’re shamed for not having enough money to be a single income family. If you work by choice, you’re labeled as selfish or non-maternal.
Society would have you believe that there is only one true “Mom.” (And she doesn’t spend her day at the office.) I am here to tell you that “Mom” doesn’t fit in a box. A stay-at-home mom is no better or worse than a working mom. A working mom is no better or worse than a stay-at-home mom. There is not a right or wrong choice to be made.
You are doing what is best for YOUR family. To work or not to work is YOUR choice, and you will make the right one.
You have the right to choose to work. You have the right to chase your dreams and establish a career. You have the right to give up the corner office and stay at home. You have the right to divide your time at home, and work from home. Working is a VALID choice.
Whether you work during the day away from home, work from home, or stay-at-home full time, you are as much of a mother as the next girl. Your work status does not define who you are as a mother or change your worth.
At the end of the sometimes VERY long day you put in, you LOVE those babies as much as the mom who stayed home. (And they love you too!) You are doing what you need to do to support yourself financially or emotionally. Your choice is okay. (And so are YOU!)