If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the past week, you may have seen the viral post by a Facebooker that declares that the lives of working mothers are “falling apart,” while concluding stay-at-home mothers live a better, more “blessed” life. I’d link the person’s account, but I’d rather not give her any more “air time” than she’s already had.
I want to be upfront and say that I have so so much admiration and respect for stay-at-home mothers. I admire that they have made the decision that works for them and their families. I admire their level of patience and everything they do day in and day out for their families. There were times when my children were a bit younger when I wished I could be a stay at home mom too, but it was never in the cards for us and that’s ok. I can confidently say I do not have any regrets.
You see, I feel proud to be a working mother and not because I think I deserve some award for being able to manage the grand juggling act between home and work life. Far from it. They call it a juggling act for a reason. As the chart mentions, yes, sometimes dinners are reheated leftovers or fast food. But, as a working mother, I am still capable of making a homemade meal on a weeknight. Yes, sometimes I do spend my weekends shopping, cleaning, and generally catching up on life. But, the chart is wrong again, we actually do spend many weekends at the beach, park, science museum, or zoo as a family. I’m not tied down to our home just because I’m away from it 8+ hours per day. If you saw the condition of my house and piles of laundry, you’d definitely know we aren’t home catching up on chores every weekend!
Sure, as a working mother, I have had to make some sacrifices. Sometimes I chaperone that field trip, and sometimes I can’t. Yes, I do come home from work especially exhausted some days but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a fulfilling home life. Am I sometimes too tired to be intimate with my husband? Hell yes. But guess what? We definitely still find a way. It’s not impossible.
So back to my original point: I’m proud to be a working mother. Why?
I’m proud to show my children that their mother and father made a decision that was best for our family, but that every family is different and those differences are to be embraced, not criticized.
I’m proud to be an example of a mother who works hard for them both inside and outside the home.
I’m proud that my children observe their father as my partner and that we take care of our children and household together, and not just in a financial sense.
I’m proud to accept my flaws and be an example of humanity to my children and show them that I do not subscribe to any ideal of “perfection”.
I’m proud to show my children that despite not being perfect, that I will always try my best for them.
And that being said, I’m proud to demonstrate to my kids the virtue of humility – something the original poster seems to be lacking.
And the statements listed above? Every last one applies to stay at home moms as well.
No one wins when we paint one side of the yard as having greener grass than the other.
Motherhood is not a competition. You can feel “blessed,” or “thankful,” or “lucky” or “proud” whether you are a working mother or a stay-at-home mother. As parents, our main goal is to guide our children towards growing into good human adults. The way we cultivate that growth is different for everyone. I’m proud to show my children that in life we can approach similar goals, from completely different angles, and still be successful.