From the Momastery blog today....
I’ve been both a “working” and a “stay-at-home” mom so I’ve experienced both sides of the internal and eternal debate moms endure all day, every day. When I worked outside my house, Mommy Guilt rode shotgun with me each morning, chiding me for dropping off my sick boy at day care instead of keeping him home and for rocking him the night before instead of preparing for work. When I got to work each day Mommy Guilt whispered that a good mom would still be at home with her son and when I returned home she’d insist that a better teacher would have stayed at work longer. When I’d visit girlfriends who stayed home, Mommy Guilt would say “See… this lady’s doing it right. Her kids are better off than yours are.” And Mommy Guilt certainly had a lot to say when Chase’s day care provider admitted that he had taken his first steps while I was working. Every night when I finally got Chase to sleep, finished grading papers, and collapsed into the couch, Mommy Guilt would snuggle up next to me and sweetly say “shouldn’t you spend some quality time with your husband instead of checking out?” And finally, before I fell asleep each night, Mommy Guilt would whisper in my ear, “YOU KNOW, THE ONLY WAY YOU’RE GOING TO BE A GOOD MOTHER AND WIFE IS IF YOU QUIT YOUR JOB AND STAY HOME.”
And so now I’m a stay-at-home mom. And the thing is that Mommy Guilt stays home with me. These days I experience her less as a drive-by-shooter and more as a constant commentator. Now she sounds like this:
“Did you go to all three of those college classes just so you could clean the kitchen and play Candy Land all day? And how is it that you don’t even do those things very well? Can you concentrate on nothing? Look at this mess! A good mom would clean more and play less. Also, a good mom would clean less and play more. Also a good mom would clean more and play more and quit emailing altogether. Additionally, I’ve been meaning to ask if you’re sure you feel comfortable spending so much money when you don’t even make any. Moreover, when was the last time you volunteered at Chase’s school? What kind of stay at home mom doesn’t go to PTA meetings or know how to make lasagna? Furthermore, nobody in this house appreciates you.” -- Momastery blog
Why are we so hard on ourselves?
Why do we have days were we feel so yucky in our own body?
Why do we feel guilty for yearning for an hour at Target without little helpers?
Why do we feel like a failure when we serve up pancakes for not only breakfast, but also dinner (in one day)?
Why do we feel like we can't have a friend come sit for coffee if the counters are covered in last night's dinner dishes and the couch is mounded with laundry?
Why do we feel so low when we lose our temper and maybe, raise our voice at our little ones?
Why do we not share that we feel lonely during the day?
Why do we feel obligated to add more and more to our plates when we feel drained or overwhelmed already?
Why do we feel silly getting out of our yoga pants (when we didn't even go to yoga) and make up seems like trying too hard if we are just going to be home playing blocks with our little ones?
Why do we feel judged for the way we spend our time? for the food we feed our family? for the size of our jeans? or the birthday party we throw?
Why do we lose sleep over Barbie dolls, Halloween candy, Nerf Guns, and extra curricular activities?
Today a favorite blog posted an oldie but a goodie that she has posted previously on her blog. It is a GREAT one. It speaks to the guilt that we have as mamas. No matter our choice or our reality of working outside of the home or staying at home during this time in our lives.
Recently, a friend who teaches, had to stay home with her sick little girl. She stayed home one day and her husband would stay home the next. They balanced this because both are also needed at their job. I remember working when Charley was tiny. I felt guilt bringing him to daycare with a runny nose or having Ed stay home to care for him when he was sick and I felt guilt staying home knowing I had a classroom of students that weren't getting me that day. There really was no answer. Guilt. it's there.
I worry sometimes that my children don't value what I do daily staying home. I want Sydney to grow up knowing my choice to stay home was something I wanted to do and I am grateful that I had the opportunity and choice. I am thankful for all the women in her life that choose differently and show her too, that as a little girl she can aspire to be anything she dreams.
As I come to terms with Henry heading off to kindergarten I am realizing that I am more than half way done with this time in my life with my children home for more of the day than they are away. And it is hard to feel confident in what will come next. I get teary with Ed saying, "I don't know if I can go back to teaching, will I remember how, will I remember I was good? Will I be good again?" I gave that part of me up for a spell and it is scary to realize you let a part of who you are rest for so long. I have friends who have gone back to work when their kids were all in school and I have others that continued staying home. How do you know what is right for your family? and you?
Not everyone has the choice to work or stay home or try to do the illusive balance of part-time. (I say illusive because I do think part-time can be harder than going one way or the other, and in some instances, you end up doing full time of both things.) Not everyone can handle working or staying home with children. The wonderful thing about this time in America is that we have choices, we have solutions, help, and support. And just like Glennon says in her post, we now just need to stop tearing each other down for the choices we make. Or more correctly, we need to stop thinking others are tearing us down for our own choices. We all do what is best for our family. And what is best for your family is for you to decide.
For me, having a supportive husband, who listens and hears my worries and concerns is vital. He hears what I am saying and then reminds me to relax-- really, really helps me get out of my paranoid, worried, down funks. Because, we are a team, raising our tribe of littles, and the importance of what we value and what works for us is the key to our family's success.
How do you deal with all the different guilts that weigh so heavily on us women?