“I’d like to be the ideal mother, but I’m too busy raising my kids.” – Unknown
This post is being written in the most raw form and mostly with tears being wiped from my face. For weeks I have come here lamenting my own shortcomings as a person lately. I muttered words I was embarrassed to admit to out loud. But that isn’t what scared me. What scared me is knowing what I uttered to speak was much better than what I couldn’t say and what I was telling myself.
I have spent weeks saying, “Okay, I admit defeat. I am a wreck.” I know I am doing the very thing I said I would not do this semester. I let the pressure of getting my master’s degree get to me. I went into the very survival mode I was trying to avoid. I called this everything but what it really was…Mom Guilt. I tried to be two people instead of one. I tried to ride the fence of the working mother and a stay at home mother.
I have tried to be an at home mom and doing the things I did when I was solely home and I have tried to also being a working mom. Well doesn’t take a mathematician to add it all up. As I drove to my class last night and I beat myself up again and apologized yet again for falling short I realized the problem. The problem is I am spending enormous amounts of time trying to please everyone else and no time pleasing myself.
As an at home mom I always felt so defensive about the, “What is your job question?” I tried to be respectful to moms who worked because I was a working mom for almost a year before I started staying home. It was hard. But now I am after 9 years of being at home I went back to work and it is a whole different arena with three kids, a job, and I am a masters student in rhetoric and composition.
I want to be that mom that is able to volunteer once a week at school and get back into my girls classrooms. I want to be the mom that drives them to each and every practice, to school and home from school. I want to be the mom that makes each and every meal from scratch with homemade bread and dessert right along side it. But things are different. I am not that mom anymore and I need to find some way to be okay with it and I need to get over the fact that others judge me because I am not that mom any more. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I just have to find a way not to care.
Unfortunately, I am taking my inability to balance everything as a personal defeat or character defect. It is not. I had awesome times doing those things in the past but my priorities are different and even if sometimes what I do seems far less important they are still very important to my future and the future I can provide for my girls.
I made the decision to go to graduate school and be a graduate teaching assistant. When I made that decision I did have an idea of what I was walking into. A job and the life of a student. It isn’t like I am shocked by the workload. I can handle that. I am shocked by how hard I have taken the change of priorities from motherhood to working motherhood and student.
I believe society is to blame for some of those pressures. You can see it all around you. When I was volunteering my daughter’s school before often I got hugs, presents and huge big to do thanks. I volunteer now when I can which isn’t often but I do do it and it is more like, “Gee thanks.” Little do they know I volunteer countless hours as a PTO officer working on making my daughters school better and fighting for the teachers because I believe teachers are respected so little (if you are blog reader you know this). I found a way to volunteer still that worked in my schedule. In every group there are most certainly those moms that are “working” moms and the then their are the “stay at home” moms. This happens in PTO, dance, my college classes, anywhere there are children. Both groups judge each other mostly unintentionally but sometimes intentionally and I just walk away wanting to rid myself of it all because really where do I belong?
Here’s the problem for me though and what makes me cry and that is that I am neither a working mom nor a stay at home but yet I am both. I work part time and I am home part of the time. I am in neither group while I firmly remain stranded on the fence. So last year while I tried to sort out all of my new labels and identities this year I am struggling living with them and what it means for my family.
I want to run back to what I know. I want to be 100% mom 100% of the time. But the economy, our families financial needs, and the fact that I need to be getting myself experience as an instructor tell me something very different. I am gonna do what I know I can do. I am going to buck up. Stop apologizing for my short comings, cut those people out of my life who don’t get it/judge me for it/hurt me because of it and get back to being the best mom to my precious three girls that I can be. I have spent far too much time worrying about what everyone else thinks and far too little being there for them.
Starting today I am starting my very own individual movement. I am fighting for my right as a mother to do whatever the hell I want to. To ignore others jabs at me for being what they think I should/should not be and continue on not judging others for the decisions they make. I just don’t care and I don’t have the time (no really I don’t).