I’m going to vent for a moment. In our world, women are expected to happily grow up, get married, have babies. Then these women are expected to stay home with the babies. That life is not for me.
I tried being a stay-at-home mom. I did it for 3 years, well… Just under three years. I hated it. I wanted to love it, but I am not accustomed to having a toddler boss me around twenty-four/seven. Being a mom is hard work. It’s even harder when you feel like you can’t escape, not even for a trip to the grocery store. The kids are always on you, talking your ear off, for pulling you places.
My job literally saved my life. Last year, I started working at Babies R Us part time. I worked 20 hours a week or less and came home recharged. I am now a full-time working mom. In addition to my doula business, I’m working full-time at Babies R Us now. It’s difficult to balance both jobs.
It’s hard to be a great mom and a great employee. It’s even harder to be a great mom when I don’t have the opportunity to show that I’m a great employee. That may not be the case for everyone. If that’s not the case for you, that’s awesome! Maybe you’re one of those moms that loves to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s so wonderful to see your babies grow day to day, and it’s great to know that you are nourishing their minds.
Let’s all please be gentle with one another. I used to judge working moms. How dare they leave their babies at a daycare so that they could have human interaction? It’s so selfish, I thought. They chose to be parents but they are letting some stranger raise their children.
And then I became a working mom. Boy, has my tune changed. Although my children are not in daycare currently, I have priced it. Daycare is expensive! I can’t honestly afford it even with me working. I’ve been fortunate to have bosses that will work around my schedule. My kids are usually either with me or their dad. On occasion they get to spend the day at Grandma’s house.
I love my job. I love that I’m able to help people as they transition into parenting. I’m able to be a guide, a mentor, and a friend. I definitely want to build my business to the point where I can leave my other job and just support birth and breastfeeding at some point, but for now I’m content.
An extra bonus with working, is that my kids get to spend a lot of time with their dad. They are such Daddy’s Girls now. A lot of times, will turn to him instead of me if they’re hurt or sad. I didn’t think I could fall more in love with him until I saw what a great dad he was. We’ve been together 5 years, well, we’ve been married 5 years, and we have both grown so much in that time.
I have grown enough to admit that I prefer working outside the home to being a stay-at-home mom. Growing up in Utah, especially in the LDS faith, stay-at-home motherhood was preached as the ideal situation. I’ve learned that in birth, breastfeeding, and life, there are multiple right ways to do things. My story looks like working outside the home and being a mom.
I need to be gentle with myself. I know I’m a better mother when I’m away occasionally. I know I’m a wonderful employee, a good friend, and a great mom. My kids are smart, helpful, and funny. They are not lacking love or care. They were lacking, before I went to work. I struggled for a long time with postpartum depression, and I was unable to give them what they needed when I was in that place in my life. Working has helped me recover.
If you’re struggling with new motherhood, if you were looking to be something besides just a mom for a while, that’s okay. It’s okay to be you and not just a mommy. Your kids will learn so much more from you being yourself than they could ever learn from you trying to fill a role that you are not comfortable with. I am being an example to my girls I’m a strong woman. A working mom has so much to balance, and yet somehow, for some of us, it’s easier than staying at home.
Whatever your decision is, you are among friends. There are so many women making these decisions every day. It’s overwhelming but totally worth it. Keep on momming.