To work or not to work
As a working mum, I often felt guilt about not being there for my child. Was I missing out on the best years? Would the bond we shared be strong enough to get us through the teenage years? Would we be able to be friends when she was all grown up in her twenties? Would I be the one she comes to in her time of need? Will she feel she can share her joys and sorrows with me and not hide them from me?
I worked hard. It often was that I would get home just a couple of hours before bed-time. I did make a very conscientious effort to be 100% available to her while I was with her. It did mean putting aside exhaustion, work frustration, stress of meeting that deadline and so much more. It also meant, tucking her into bed, reading bed time stories, hearing her fall asleep, and then…. getting back to work. Spending a couple more hours to finish what I would have otherwise completed earlier. It did create the cycle of shorter sleep hours. It seemed like there was a never ending list of things that needed doing. The one sure thing though was she got 100% of me when I was with her.
Then I quit, thinking that being a stay-at-home mom was the answer to all of it. Yes, it is true. A working mum is judged to be less of a good mom than a stay-at-home mom, more often than not. I took up freelance work and it worked for awhile.
But then it dawned on me….
We didn’t bake cookies as much anymore. When I worked full time, I would make the time and we rarely bought cookies, they were all home baked, together. Now they were on my shopping list.
We didn’t do arts and crafts as much anymore. We never bought a puppet, play dough, dolls. They were all made at home, together. Now they were bought from a store as birthday and Christmas presents.
I went out more often with my friends, leaving her in the care of her grandparents. I too needed some time to myself, a break. I rarely did that when I worked.
All this is the tip of the iceberg. It dawned on me!!!
Being a working mom, I got away from all of it. Nasty, you may say. But think about it. We get a break. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our children, it just means, we get a break to do our own thing. Something every parent needs. When I got home from full time work I was so eager to drop everything and spend time with my little one. I couldn’t wait to play hide n’ seek, paint, bake, read and so much more. I would plan our time together and it made me look for interesting things to do together. As a stay-at-home mom, I didn’t feel the need to do this as much because I sub-conscientiously thought that she had more of my time.
When I became a single mum, I didn’t have the luxury of the choice of being a stay-at-home or working mum. I had to work. I had to pay school fees, buy clothes, pay for entertainment, run a family household. I needed to work.
Having been on both sides, a full time working mum and a stay-at-home mom, I realised that opting to be a work mom is the key. You enable yourself to be independent, you think, you meet people, you have intellectual conversations with grown-ups. You are an individual. And when you are your own person at least some of the time, you can give more of yourself.
Let people judge me for being a working mom. It doesn’t matter anymore because experience has enlightened me.
Being a mom is about quality of time and not quantity. So there!!! Judge all you like!