Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Best I Can Be

I read a blog post this week that really ruffled my feathers. In it, the author insinuated that working mothers did not love their children as much or invest as much time in their children as stay at home moms. Needless to say, as a working mom I was pretty angry about the whole thing. So I did what any sane person would do and took the matter to Twitter where I found my righteous indignation to be well matched. I felt better knowing that others agreed with my viewpoint but I was still upset about the post and bothered that it had gotten to me so much. That really got me thinking. Did I really want to be a stay at home mom? Was that why this was eating at me? Do I really feel like there was truth to the thought that I wasn't investing in my child or that I was letting someone else raise him or that I didn't love him to my fullest?

The answer is no to all of the above. There is no doubt that I love Jackson with all my heart. Anyone who sees us together knows that. Nor is there any doubt that he loves me and is very much a Momma's boy. Yes, I have thought about trying to stay home several times since I found out I was pregnant but that isn't a possibility for us. Even if it was, I am not sure that is a decision I would make. Jackson enjoys his time at daycare and he learns things there that I am not sure I would be able to teach him. I also do better having some time away from him which allows me to better enjoy the time we spend together. I make it a point to plan family activities whenever possible so we can make memories as a family. Are there days when I wish I could be home? Yes. Are there things I have missed because I work? Yes. It frustrates me to no end to see activities I would love to take Jackson to but can't because they fall during the week.

Being a working mom is hard because I know what I am doing is helping provide a good life for my child but it doesn't take away the guilt I feel on those mornings when I leave him crying in someone else's arms (Chris's, his teachers) because he just wants me to stay. (This doesn't happen often but when it does, I feel terrible.) I also wouldn't question the decision of someone who decides to stay home. I know their job is just as hard because they do spend so much time with their children often with few breaks while trying to maintain a household and keep it functioning.  Neither job is easy which is why I think someone in the opposite situation needs to be careful before making statements that could be deemed as a judgement from someone on the other side.

I learned something out of all of this. I can only be the best mom I can be and it isn't for someone else to determine what that looks like. I can't allow someone else to question my parenting or my decisions because they are not living my life and what works for them may not work for me. I know I will never be the mom that bakes cakes for birthdays or makes homemade valentine's or volunteers weekly at my kid's school. That just isn't who I am. I wouldn't do that if I stayed home. I look at pins on Pinterest of school lunches done up in cutesy ways and fun shapes and all I think is, "I don't have time for that nor would my kids want that." Frequently I think I am screwing everything up because Jackson is a toddler and some days are hard and I feel like I have no control over him. And maybe I am but then he will give me a hug and a kiss and say, "I wuv you, Mommy" and I know that everything is OK. All that really matters is that he is happy and healthy and thriving and if I accomplish those things, then I have been successful in my job.