Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hey Fellow Moms: Good Job!!!

It’s Saturday morning and I’m up early with our daughter trying to let my husband sleep in. I made the mistake (because now I’m all worked up) of checking Facebook and reading a blog that’s been circulating all week written by a husband defending his wife who “just stays home.” (youre-a-stay-at-home-mom-what-do-you-do-all-day?)  After reading it I am fighting the urge to run upstairs, wake my husband up and demand he write a blog about me, a “working mom.”  (gasp!)

I hate that my reaction to this man’s blog is to want to defend myself – he was just trying to defend his wife which is cool of him - except that he is perpetuating what he is writing agains - judging others - and polarizing women.  Commentary on this topic (stay at home vs. work outside the home) always seems to do this – polarize us.  Put one side on the defensive.  In this particular blog the author was very clear: one side (staying home) is better, one side (staying home) is preferable – the other side (having an outside job) is tolerable BUT ONLY if it is out of pure necessity for survival, otherwise it is petty, selfish, and damaging to both our children and society as a whole.  Really? All that?  Shoot, if that is the case maybe I should be locked up.

I don’t understand why it has to be this way? Why these “mom” topics have to be so black and white. Aren’t we all moms? Aren’t we all trying? Aren’t the majority of us madly in love with our kids and doing the best we can for them?  Aren’t we burdened with massive amounts of guilt already just as a function of being a mom?  Why aggravate further these insecurities that already cause us to constantly compare and then feel the need to defend?

Why have sides? Let’s be on each other’s side!  It takes a village right?

How about instead of my side vs. your side, we do this:
You stay home with the kids? Wow, that’s admirable and I’m sure really challenging! 
You work outside the home?  Wow, that’s admirable and I’m sure really challenging!

I have many friends who stay home with their kids. I KNOW they work hard! Friends who stay home, you work HARD! I admire them and at times am jealous of them.

And while admiring them, I'm also proud of the job I have.

In my job I think I help people in some small way. I don't define myself by my job,  I don’t think I’m irreplaceable at my job – I know I am replaceable, but that doesn’t make my work meaningless.  I have many friends who work outside the home and are really good moms. Friends who have jobs outside the home, you are GOOD moms! 

For my job, I work from partly from home and partly in an office.  My daughter stays with my mom while I work. Sometimes I hate it because I want to be with her more and sometimes I think it’s a pretty fabulous gig to get to drop her off with someone who adores her and go use my brain for work I enjoy.  This is pretty similar to my friends who stay home with their kids full time and sometimes love it and sometimes admit to fantasizing about getting an outside job.  We aren’t that different – whatever we choose there are days it works and days we want something else. That's called being human!  Why make it a fight?  Why make the two sides such opposites to be defended?  When we do this we just make it that much harder for mom's to be open and honest with each other about our struggles.  It doesn't help any of us be our best if we have to hold back about our challenges out of fear of being judged for our job or lack of job.  

I want to be able to say to my friend who stays at home with her kids that at times I really want that too and that my job is kicking my butt. I want her to be able to tell me that she sometimes wants to go back to work or that there are moments she might pull all her hair out if she doesn’t get away from her kids.  I don’t need her response to be “Well maybe you shouldn’t have a job!”  And she doesn’t need my response to be “Well maybe you should get a job!”  We both need to hear, “You are amazing, you are doing SO great, and I will bring you chocolate immediately.”  That’s what we need from each other – honestly being able to share that motherhood in all forms is hard and we need each other.

So, this is my bottom line in this debate: whether I work outside the home or stay home full time, my kid is loved. If that is the case in your family too
then we are both doing a pretty flippin’ fabulous job at this mom stuff.  The logistics of our daily schedule may look different but when we put our kids to bed at night they know that in this crazy messed up world they are fiercely loved. That's what matters.


Judgment from either side of the stay at home vs. work outside the home debate (especially from those NOT EVEN ON ONE OF THE SIDES) is not helpful in our quest to survive and thrive in  motherhood, which I think we can all agree is the toughest and most incredible job on the planet.

6 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you started a blog. Thanks for saying "out loud" what so many of us are thinking. You're amazing.

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  2. I love you Julia's Mom, I too think you are amazing :)

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  3. You are amazing and you are right, you touched and changed not only my life but the lives of my kids! Thanks for making the choices you have made. You are loved and appreciated as a strong mom and a strong working woman!!

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  4. It seems parenting is always about polarizing and making one thing wrong and one right. Formula or breast milk, co-sleep or crib, stay home or work, cry it out or comfort....argue argue argue. That's been my leastfavorite thing about being a parent. It's all judging people and arguing. I just want everyone to get along and accept that nothing works for everyone in every case. What you even choose to do may not work for your child (we wanted to co-sleep our daughter only liked that for about a month then wanted her own space butwanted to be able to see us and sometimes hold our hand. Hand holding is her version of cuddling she even holds her dolls hands so our solution is a toddler bed right beside ours. Her own space but in hand holding distance). Let people do what they want and what works for them is what I say.

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