On: Being a Working Mom
I have two beautiful, amazing daughters, and also work full time (40+ hours per week) outside of the home. I have absolutely zero guilt about being a working mom. None. Is it because I have an amazing sense of security and confidence in my life choices? Far from it, I question basically every choice I make in life. Being a working mom just isn’t one of them. Though, oddly enough, I do feel a little guilty about not feeling guilty about being a working mom. Because, society.
I think my lack of guilt is largely because my own mother had a full time job outside of the home, so it’s always just been normal to me. I never felt abandoned or that she loved me any less because she worked, so I don’t worry that my kids feel that way. She always made time for us in the evenings and on weekends, even taking the occasional Friday afternoon off during the summer to do fun things with my brother and me, like volunteering at the food bank, and I can’t wait to do the same with my kids.
Because of that, I never really seriously considered being a stay at home mom, though I joke about it every once in a while when I have a bad day at work! I actually think I’m a better mom because I work. I am able to get out of the house, have regular adult conversation, and stretch my brain in new and different ways. Then, when I get home, I thoroughly enjoy the couple of hours each week night that I am able to spend with my children. I remember being on maternity leave, just counting down the hours until my husband came home from work, and then being jealous of how excited and genuinely happy he was to see the baby and play with her when all I could think about was when she was going to be down for a nap so I could get something done.
I also take full advantage of weekends, trying to do at least one fun thing like going to the zoo or blackberry picking. I love seeing the joy in my daughter’s face as she discovers new things, and hearing her infectious laugh as she plays with other kids. But, if I’m honest, when Sunday night rolls around, I’ve gotten my fill and I’m ready for work in the morning (okay, not always, but fairly often).
I’m lucky to be in a position where it’s a choice whether I work or not. My husband has a good job and could support our family on just his salary, though not necessarily to our current standard of living. I don’t feel trapped at work, or like I’m missing out on anything. I am also lucky that both my husband and I work at places that are supportive of parents, allowing flexibility for doctor’s appointments, sick days, or just days off to spend with them when needed. I realize that not everyone is so fortunate. By the way, I also make enough so that my husband could stay home with the kids if he wanted, but he also chooses to work full time outside the home.
Do I also want to set a good example for my girls, let them know that they can be successful and become anything they want when they grow up? Of course! But I definitely don’t think working outside the home is the only way to do that. I have many friends who are stay at home moms who do amazing things, volunteer, are leaders in the community, and set an outstanding example for all girls. I just choose to work, and will encourage my daughters to do exactly what brings them fulfillment in life, whatever that may be.