I’m a Working Mom

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I’m sick to death of reading posts from strangers blogs who whine about parenting and then wrap up the post with a tidy little “but I wouldn’t have it any other way” or “there is nothing else I would rather be doing.” When my child is rolling on the floor screaming at me, I would much, much rather be laying on a beach listening to waves crash against the shore while staring at my freshly pedicured toes. If you’d rather be enjoying a “learning” moment with your child, then more power to you. But why can’t we all admit that parenting isn’t all roses? It’s incredibly challenging, if you’re trying to do a good job at it.

I’ve talked these issues out ad nauseum with multiple people over the last few weeks and I’m convinced that raising children is very stressful stuff. I oftentimes feel like I am doing a very poor job, but I also know that I am extremely hard on myself. I shy away from the issue on the blog because I’ve feared that any admission that things aren’t always smooth sailing over here gives others reason to point out that I should be staying at home. But you know what? I know plenty of people who stay at home and I have yet to feel any judgment from them. So I’m not going to let that stop me any more. Prepare yourself for the unleashing of the whining!!

The honest truth is that sometimes things really suck. The two hours of chaos in the morning is enough to give Craig and I a nervous meltdown. And the evening tantrums aren’t my favorite either. And I hate when things are slow at work and I have time to sit and wonder what my kiddos are doing without me. And sitting in traffic in the evenings makes me feel like my life is wasting away with no real purpose. And pumping? Don’t get me started. And maybe all of that is true, and maybe it still doesn’t mean that I made the wrong choice.

Maybe it just means that being a working mom is hard. Hard, hard, hard. And do you know what? I think being a stay at home Mom is hard too. Hard, hard, hard. I think this because I’ve tried it. And I’ve tried working 16 hours, and I’ve tried working 40 hours, and I’ve tried 4 days weeks and guess what? It’s all hard. Hard in different ways. Having young children is hard. Which isn’t to say that it’s not rewarding because it is, but it’s work. And it’s sacrifice, and it’s tears. And sometimes, yelling. That’s me being honest.

And would I have it any other way? Many times, yes. When it really sucks I daydream of staying at home. And I know that for my friends who stay at home that when it really sucks, they dream of going back to work. Greener grass and all that jazz. But every time we sit down and think it through and talk it through and weigh all the options and the needs of our children we always come to the same conclusion- that the arrangement we have now is the best one for our family. I guess that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be perfect.

I take comfort in the fact that everyone who is around our son comments on what a neat kid he is. And Leah is the most laid-back and happy baby I’ve spent any time around (considering I’ve only really spent significant baby time around her and her brother, it’s easy for her to win the happy baby award), and without a doubt they both are absolutely smothered in our love. I love them so incredibly much, and I do everything I can to make sure they know it. And I hope as we navigate these challenging years that they will both look back and know how very much we loved them, and have happy memories of all the good things we do for them and the fun times we share…and have amnesia about the rest.

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6 responses »

  1. wow. This is so good. I think this is so honest and fabulous. I've pretty well decided that when we have kids that I will continue to work and in the mormon culture especially, it is so faux pas. And when working women have difficulties with their children everyone is so quick to assign blame to the mother for working outside the home. It makes me so angry and its so unfair. I've never really understood how you've made it work (being a mom and working full time) because it seems really difficult but I love hearing how you guys make do. It gives me hope that when we get there that we can make it work too. Moms here have this perfect facade and it drives me crazy. Just admit that sometimes being a parent sucks and stop judging me for not wanting to step into that immediately. You know? I feel like God is telling us to get on the boat but I'm afraid that I won't have patience or enough love or that I'll miss our life before kids or that my kids will suffer and turn out all screwed up because I suck as a parent. I honestly don't understand how people ever feel ready. Anyway, this post was really really helpful for me. I really appreciate learning from you. It gives me hope. (sorry this was a long ass comment).

  2. You know my thoughts…I want to work! But part time is all we can afford and find right now.I think I tell Joel at least once a day that I don't think I'm doing a good job and I've even started reading some "self-help" stay at home mom books.I think kids are so darn stressful but I know this too shall pass.Hang in there. Ha! And I hope you weren't referring to my posts. I'm just really putting a trying effort on spinning the positive side on being a sahm. It lasts until about 9:30 each morning.

  3. If I learned anything from my PhD in family life it's that we have unrealistic expectations for how marriage and parenting ought to be. Parenting is hard work but the occassional rewards make it worth it. That's why photo albums are important. Everyone is smiling and life looks greate specially as the memory of the not so good times fade over time.love you – dad

  4. You are correct. It is definitely hard. Since our trip to Austin in Texas I've stuck with this motto.. "Go with the Flow" I cannot control life or what happens everyday or every morning.. so I just try to go with the flow and not let things frustrate me. I had to take this strategy when Jeremiah got hurt too.. so I have a little practice.I hope things get easier for you.

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