Working mom...selfish or selfless?
Do you ever read something and it sticks with you? Not in a good way? Like when you get gum on your shoe and then everything you step on then joins your journey until it is a sticky, gross mess?
Yeah, well I read something today that did that to me.
I have been home sick the last two days. Today, I was feeling the work guilt of "oh no, the work world can't function if I'm not there" and also the mom guilt of "oh no, I feel like crap and was grouchy with my kid".
I was casually scrolling through my Instagram feed which is normally a calming practice. I follow many lovely ladies who are bloggers, handmade shop owners, freelance artist, and are also moms. Stay at home moms. One such sweet friend posted a picture of a quote from a book that went something as follows:
$375 for designer suit and heels
$10 in commute gas/tolls
$500 per/some time period for childcare
blah blah blah
Or chucking it all for snuggles on the couch: PRICELESS.
Now, I am sure the original author wrote it as an encouragement to ladies who have left promising careers to be full time moms. Not to guilt those of us who haven't. Or did they?
You know what it said to me today? "WORKING MOM! YOU ARE SELFISH!!" and "YOU CHOOSE DESIGNER SUITS OVER YOUR KIDS!!" "YOU PAY OTHERS TO RAISE/EDUCATE YOUR KID, YOU LAZY GIT!"
Maybe it stuck with me because I was not feeling well and already feeling anxious and guilty about many things. Or maybe there is more to it.
More and more lately, I feel the world screaming at me that I have to do IT ALL. I have to be industrious and useful in the outside world AND I have to make gorgeous Pinterest worthy desserts and sew costumes and have every nook and cranny of my house perfectly organized. (Don't get me wrong, I am obsessed with Pinterest and HAVE made gorgeous desserts, but that's not the point)There is a movement, although awesome and beautiful, to more and more moms being at home. Homeschooling seems to be on the rise. Home based businesses are making a comeback. And I am for all of these things. In fact, if I could leave my corporate job tomorrow, I would. I WOULD chuck it all and run a hippie co-op full of free trade coffee and handmade goods.
But I can't.
I have worked full time almost all of my children's lives. I have not been the mom who could bring lunches to my kid, pack them super cool dino shaped sandwiches, or be there for every field trip. I was the mom who sheepishly ducked the other classroom moms as they were making their Christmas party plans and they knew not to ask me because I was a "working mom". The one who bought the snacks instead of making them. The one who slid in the side parking lot for the Thanksgiving lunch because I had to race back to work for a meeting. The one who always has had to turn down the summer pool party invites because....well I DON'T GET A SUMMER VACATION!!!!
This is my life. And I am proud of it.
I have a good job for a large not-for-profit that I am proud to work for. I have a good salary and decent health benefits. We don't have much left over if any at the end of the month, but everything gets handled more or less. I don't wear designer suits, drive a new car, or any of those other things. I don't work so that we can afford a new pool, or a boat, or exotic vactions. (Although, I'd sure take them if someone was giving them away!)
I work because this is what I am supposed to do. My family needs taken care of and that is what I have stepped up to do. The Bearded Man does the Dad Cab driving and handles the house stuff and I go to work. Very much like a 50's sitcom in ways, but a bit reversed. It works for us.
And I don't want to feel guilt about it.
Do any of you feel like this at times? That the world has told us that we need to go to college, and have careers and also be perfect moms? But then it screams also, WORKING MOMS!!! YOU ARE SELFISH AND DUMPING YOUR KIDS ON OTHERS!!! WHY DID YOU EVEN HAVE KIDS??
I don't think I am the only one. In fact, I know I am not. Just go on to Pinterest and type in "MOM GUILT". There is no end to the articles, blog posts, etc. to be read. This guilt crosses all moms, not just ones working outside of the home.
Why is this? I am not going to even pretend to have the answers or give you a check list of things to combat this.
What I want to do, though, is open up dialogue. I want us to talk about this stuff. I want to know that I am not the only one.
I also want to stop being so envious and bitter at my SAHM friends. You all have chosen the path that you have been called to as well. Just. Like. Me.
So moms and future moms, let us make an agreement. Let us treat each other with respect. All of us moms are fighting the same enemies of doubt, discouragement, exhaustion, and inadequacy.
Working moms: say thank you to the good Lord every time you get to use the bathroom alone at work, eat whatever sandwich you want for lunch, and get to wear clothes not covered in sticky filth
SAH moms: cherish those snuggles on the couch at 10am, enjoy those afternoons spent in your kid's classroom, and please don't take doing afternoon homework for granted
Remember we are all making selfless AND selfish choices each day because we are humans. Let's give each other some grace.
peace, love, and hopefully a little less mom guilt,