In Forbes 2013 letter to working moms it is stated:
“[I]n between stop-starting graduate studies toward a new career. Needless to say, it was during that time I became much more acquainted with mothers’ guilt. It became a constant companion until one day I realized that I didn’t have children in order to spend my life feeling forever inadequate. I wanted children to enrich my life, not enslave my conscience.” – Margie Warrel
I spent 11 of my mothering years home with my children as a stay at home mom. Every single day I am home with them now in the last three years, I spend with a little sad twinge that I didn’t enjoy that time enough and that I didn’t do and be all that I could be when I was home. During all of those 11 years I spent so many days, hours and time working on my education through my BA and through my MA. I tried hard to make it not effect them as much as I could.
We decided early on that this was the life we wanted for them with the understanding when I could I would enter the work force. I have no regrets with any of those decisions. But now when I am getting precious little time with them I find myself sad and mournful that I cannot do more and be with them more. I have been on the other side of this coin.
That coin had a costly price and realistically is just not even an option for our family at this time. I would never place financial gains ahead of my own children despite this post seeming to say that. The reality of our situation is so very hard to describe and honestly I provide all of the healthcare benefits for my family, as well as, double my husbands healthcare benefits for my husband. A decision that has saved my family from a life of financial ruin given the health issues we have faced as a family.
So this post is less about arguing for all working moms or making stay at home feel better about the decisions they have made. I am on no side but my children’s. It is amazing what a momma can accomplish with time, effort and enough sleep. I perpetually beat myself up because I can’t do more. My school hours aren’t traditional school hours. It gives me the ability to see them off to school, but the inability to be here for the busyness that is after school.
I often saunter in and rush to make a healthy hearty meal and to do the fun activities of the evening. Then I run bath time and bedtime. That is with waking at 5-5:30 daily to start the house moving and making sure we all have time for our morning routines. I share this all not to say I am so busy. Every single mom in this world is busy doesn’t matter the label that comes before that. I say it because I wish I could squeeze just a little bit more time out of my day or make my body go just a bit longer.
I keep trying to remind myself by reading articles like these that argue that it is about quality versus quantity. I also try and remind myself that I am doing the absolute best I can which is a standard I have set for myself and I can’t do more. Some of My REVOLUTION is about finding the healthier version of me in hopes I am less tired and have more energy to focus on that quality. It won’t give me more time, but it will give me more effort and umph I hope.
The night before I went back to work full time I posted on Facebook about being desperate for someone to tell me I was making the right decision. There were many reassuring comments and then there were some that said, “Why do you feel guilty? It is your right as a woman to work.” I have for three years just struggled with that comment. I don’t know why. It is my right and is my dream and something I worked for for a really long time and continue to work on. But I cannot so easily dismiss my own feelings about my children and the fact that I am not here doing the primary care and child rearing.
This isn’t about the lack of trust I have in my guy. He is an amazing dad and even more amazing in my eyes given what he deals with daily and he still manages to give them all 100% of him. I love seeing what it has done for their relationship and seeing he is just as capable as momma. But still my heart aches sometimes that I can’t be there. It is separate from his fatherhood and probably has more to do with my identity as a mother and what that means emotionally to me.
But like Margie said above I wanted to enrich my life with my children, no enslave my conscience. I need to look at the positives I am showing my girls which have just as much value as making sure my kiddos have snacks after school and me there to help with their homework. I am a leader in my work environment, I am working hard to find a voice for the dual credit student and teacher, I am carving out a huge place in this world for people with minds like me and finally I believe that what I am doing every single day is changing the world, changing my community and giving my daughters a role model of a strong independent woman.
I have heard to seek out balance and I get that. But truthfully where my family is concerned there is no balance. My family is and has been my main priority. My career will always be a gigantic distant second to that. I know some would argue they are not since I work full time. And I accept that argument. But I refuse to carry that guilt. I believe and know that I am doing what I need to do for my family and I love my job. I won’t feel shame or guilt for that ever. Even if this post is just a reminder to myself that I am doing the best I can than I am okay with that. I am proud of my mothering previously, currently and in the future. I am raising good kids and there is no better testament to that than seeing the good people they are and are becoming every day.