The other morning as I scrolled through my news-feed I saw a post about a working mother reaching out to a stay at home mother. This caught my attention; I’m all about the reaching out posts, and less about the mommy wars. None of us are getting out of this alive and we’re all doing the best we can with what we have, so being supportive of one another and encouraging of differing choices is commendable in my opinion.
So I took the time to click through and read more. My bubble was burst a little. More like a slow puncture than a burst bubble really. The air slowly started to leak out as I read on. Yes, overall the post was in support of the choices that other mother had made, but it was still written in a way that somehow down-played her own decisions.
Ultimately the working mother was inspired by the SAHM to reduce her working hours to be at home with her own kids more. That’s good, if that’s what she wanted all along and this was just the motivating kick up the ass to do it. What’s not so good is if the sight of another mother walking her kids to school each day inspired guilt and made her feel like a lesser parent.
I work 4 days a week. I love my week-day off where I get to walk my 5 year old to school and collect her afterwards. I could wax lyrical about all the amazing Pinterest worthy crafts I whip up for my 16 month old to destroy but I’m more into honesty amongst parents. Telling you we bake kale chips and do yoga together while chanting inspirational mantras isn’t going to help anyone. First of all, that is not my idea of fun but secondly it’s far from the truth. I love my kids, so much so it threatens to overwhelm me at times. I love spending time with them. But I have a limit. At some point I can’t take another “Mama, what can I do next?”, “Mama, where is..”, “Mama”, “Mama”, “Mama” all while the toddler does his damn best to crawl under my skin to take up permanent residence in my body. I’ve become very accomplished at doing everything single handedly with a hair-pulling toddler on my hip.
This is all well and good. And the reason I can enjoy my Fridays (which involve grocery shopping, laundry and cleaning too) is because I know it’s precious. If my days at home with the kids were infinite, I would lose my marbles. I can appreciate it because it isn’t everyday. On Monday I know I will be able to sit at my desk, feel more mentally productive, enjoy a hot beverage while it is still hot, eat a muffin without having to share the best bit and talk to other adults. And I can appreciate all of this because I know my children are safe and happy in a child care setting we carefully selected.
Seeing other mothers take their kids to school every day doesn’t make me feel jealous. Yes, I think I might prefer to work 3 days if I could but I also know I’m lucky to have the flexibility to work 4 and finish at 16:30 on the days I am in the office. So hats off to the mothers that do stay at home with their children day in day out. I only hope they are doing it because it is their choice, and not because the choice was taken from them.
We are lucky enough to live in a time where women do have choices. Nobody is a better or worse parent for deciding to do what is best for them and their family. We’re all different. Embrace it.