Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Working Mom's Observation...

My sitter called in sick today - which, given how sick my kids were last week - is no shock. It was not a good day for me to be off with regards to work...I had alot planned for today. However, it was a wonderful day in general - to be home with the kids. Everyone' s healthy; the sun is shining, it's not too cold - all the components were there to have a great day.

It's interesting because I'm not off much during the week with the kids; rarely do I have the opportunity to be Domestic SuperGoddess during the work week. That's usually a role reserved for after 3:30 p.m. and on weekends. So it was very interesting to take them out and about, and get the approving nods and voluntarily struck up conversations from the "Stay at Home Mom" crowd as we walked around the craft store. I mean, when I take the kids anywhere on a Saturday - it's usually the "Nanas" that strike up conversations with me about the kids...very rarely does another Mom do it. I'm not really sure why. But today, every Mom within a 10 foot radius was trying to get my attention for conversation. It was like I was accepted into this clique...I was the cool "new kid" . I didn't dare say anything about how I just coincidentally happened to be home today. I just nodded and agreed with all the points they brought up...this one had 5 kids and they're all in school so she was getting a few minutes "of peace"...another one had four kids with her and said "she missed being home with only two"... another one commenting "How do you get them to be so quiet ...I can't get them to sit still!"

It was a very interesting change in dynamics. Something I don't get to see during the work week because I'm not out and about. And it is different from the weekends. Would I change being a working Mom to be a stay at home one? No, I wouldn't. It doesn't mean that I don't love my children, or that I don't want to be around them -because I do! But I have to say, that even if I was fortunate enough to be in the position where I didn't have to work, I still probably would - at a minimum on a part time basis. For me - I think I'm a better Mom because I work. I feel good about myself, and so I feel good being around my kids. I enjoy the time away from my kids being a "grown up" , and I'm overjoyed every day when I come home to them. I appreciate my days off, and unexpected days off such as today. I've been judged for not staying at home, despite the fact that it wasn't a smart financial situation for us to do so. But that's okay... I think that there's pros and cons for everything in life. And I'd like to look at the pros. Aside from what I mentioned before - I also think that I'm a great role model for my kids. I'm showing them that they CAN have it all: family, career, and satisfaction. I'm showing my son to respect women and their many strengths in society - and I'm teaching my daughter that she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.

I'm not saying that Moms who stay at home feel any differently, or aren't accomplishing the same things - because they very certainly are. There is no right or wrong. It's whatever works for you - and makes you feel good about your role within your family, and as a parent. Being comfortable with where you are in life helps make being a Mom easy - and fun.

Being a Mom is one of the greatest gifts life can offer. There's nothing better than it. Nothing.

(Well, except for maybe boot shopping in Paris with a lovely latte - and waiting for a massage from a very handsome man named "Phillipe".... Kidding!)

13 comments:

Laurie said...

That's the bottom line, Rebecca - it's a personal choice and we do what we have to do. I cannot stand when a mom judges another mom's choice. We all love our kids and do the best by them, and that's what matters.

Good post :-)

naive-no-more said...

I'd laugh if I thought you were really kidding about the boot shopping and massage. ;)

Seriously though, I can't believe in this day and age that you would be judged for choosing to be a working mom. I know it happens, but sheesh. I would bet that even though you are a working mom, (or maybe because you are one) you fill the roll of mother excellently and then some.

I chose to work out of my home which has it's own pro's and con's, but we're making it work. I only have to go into the office occasionally and when I do, it's a nice time away from the baby, but I'm alway ready to come back.

Alison Rose said...

Excellent post, Rebecca, and I think it sums up the way a lot of moms--working and non- -- feel. I was fortunate to work either part-time or freelance from home before my son started school full time, and I admit the change to full-time employment was a little hard on him--at first. But now (at age 11) he has long since understood that not only does my working mean fewer money worries, but that I'm a happier and better mom, too.

I know MY mom was a happier, better mom for working, but my mother-in-law seems to have really grooved on staying home and raising four kids. To each her own (as long as your budget can handle it!).

Laura said...

There really is a different dynamic between SAH moms and nons. You explained it well though. Kudos. I couldn't explain it that well.

Big Ben said...

I would like to be a stay at home dad, as long as my kids are not to annoying, which unfortunately if they are related to me, they will be.

clew said...

Rebecca, thanks so much for posting this! I couldn't agree more. I work because our lifestyle needs me to work, but if I could stay home I'd still work (but do something more fun ;D) because as you said, it makes me a better mother to have a me-life as well. Plus we are blessed that my MIL watches my son while we work and it gives them a wonderful op to bond and build a close relationship that benefits them both.

I can't tell you how hard it's been for me to make mom friends. When I had Incrediboy, everyone said don't worry, you'll hook up with other moms like that. Not so. I am a cold heartless person I guess for having a career as well. I haven't even been able to find a mommy and me playgroup to join becuae they are all held when I am at work!

Even though you know you are doing what's right for you and your family, it really defeats you to have the rest of the young parent population so set against you.

Mr. Fabulous said...

I'd like to be a stay at home dad, even though I don't have any kids.

I think I've had that massage. He had very skilled hands...

Kristi said...

I feel the same about myself. I am not cut out to be a full-time stay at home Mom. Working definitely makes me appreciate the time I do have at home. To each his own and that's what works for me.

Boot shopping, or any shopping for that matter sounds just dreamy.

Laura said...

I've been a part time SAH mom. That's the kids are here part time, I'm here all the time. I've been looking for a job and will hopefully have one soon. We still don't know what'll happen when I start working. I will say, field trips and play dates are a lot of fun. You can get so much more accomplished.

chesneygirl said...

I'm a working mom too. And I struggle with it everyday. All of my friends, and I mean ALL of my friends, are SAHM's and I always feel so out of place when we're all together and often feel like I'm being judged because I'm not one.

There are some days when I really wish I was a SAHM and then there are days where I am so glad I'm not. But either way our lifestyle and finances would not allow me to at this time.

bigwhitehat said...

They are only going to be like this for a short time. Savor every moment. This was a special day. Consume these days like delicacies.

Kodijack said...

I think that any break from the ordinary is great. I spent three days home with Pierce unexpectedly and we got closer because of it.

I think that everyone should work. No one should ever retire or completely rely on someone else for their upkeep once they reach 21 or so.

Lori said...

I've been on both sides of the fence. I was able to stay at home with my kids for seven years, until my younger son was in preschool. It was a very precious time that I wouldn't have traded for anything. But SAHM's get criticized, too and are often not valued for what they do. When I did go to work outside the home I was fortunate enough to find a part-time job where I could still take the children to school and got off in time to pick them up. It was flexible so I could go on field trips and even bring them to work with me if they were a little under the weather or were off for the day. Now I work at the same school that they attend, and even though the whole day can pass by w/out seeing them, they can still come to me if they need something...and it's nice to know their friends and see the dynamics.

I think that it's a shame that women can't just be "Moms"...and that they can't simply support one another. We're all doing the best we can in our situations...and loving our babies with all our hearts.