01 Feb A Mom’s Office is Everywhere
When I began my journey into motherhood 7 years ago, I didn’t grasp this new forum I was entering. There were now things expected of me that I was never before responsible. And not just within my own family dynamic, but from society itself. When I was born, social media outlets did not exist for my mom to share her stories. She confided in friends and family members, who she knew on a personal level. I would not say that it was easier, but it was definitely not as complex. Now that parents have these online forums to speak our minds, there is more anonymity to the responses we receive from readers. Our world has opened up with the internet, allowing people to express their opinions so others can see their viewpoints, however, this has opened the door to online harassment without thought of repercussion. So here I was, about to have a baby, completely unaware of the critical, cyber-bullying world that exists today. It seems as though parenting brings about an evolution in the soul and we start to deviate from the people we once thought we were.
I grew up in a home of two full-time working parents. I believed that my role as a mother would be to continue to work as well.. When I deviated and left my job at the hospital, I struggled with that decision and kept putting myself down for being home. I felt I was not doing enough. Before becoming a parent, I never understood how much of ourselves we put into that role. We as women give up our bodies to grow a human being. That investment doesn’t stop after you deliver. It continues in many different ways and we change as people. I feel I can appreciate both stay-at-home parents and working parents even more because I’ve had experience as both. Everyone handles stress differently and, in my case, staying with the kids was what I needed at that time. Reflecting on my actions now, I understand that a lot of my inner struggle came from allowing stereotypes and society to influence how I felt about myself as a mother and as a human being.
When I informed those around me I was leaving my job, I became immediately aware of this judgement. Have you ever purchased a car and all of a sudden you see that same vehicle on the road, every turn you take. I would say that analogy coincides with becoming a stay-at-home mom. Once I left my job, I noticed how the bullying behind these decisions and how it becomes a dispute between working moms and stay-at-home moms. I would see articles and blogs on parenting sites that focused on the differences between these two forms of motherhood. In reality, the subject should be only be about parenting, plain and simple. I never imagined there was a world of moms that would bash each other due to lifestyle choices they felt were best for their own family dynamic.
It’s incredible to see how much people have focused on debating the difference between working mothers versus staying home. Every opinion piece that pops up on my news feed never fails to draw my attention. It’s hard for me to read because people forget that when you become a parent, you are already making a sacrifice. Staying home means you have sacrificed your career to be by that child everyday. On the contrary, when you leave to work outside of the home, you sacrifice that time with your children. Why do we have to sit here and point fingers of who is doing it best? Isn’t the sanity and well being of the parents and children the most important? Providing a safe and loving home should be the biggest message we send out to the parenting world.
Now that I have started this company and have to spend a particular amount of time dedicated to work, I constantly question my parenting life. How will this decision affect my family? Will I be a better parent if I do this task? I think that’s what parents struggle with the most: how will my choices affect my family? When making a decision, I consider how the stress of this new pursuit will shape me as a mother. I contemplate whether I would be helping or hurting those around me with less of my time available for them. When I worked at night soon after the birth of my first child, most of my paycheck was handed over to my babysitter. I was cranky and hardly awake during my son’s first year and a half of life. I was not the best version of myself and was barely holding it together. People think I left my nursing job without shedding a tear. That was not the case. I cried on the phone with my manager, saying how hard of a decision this was for me. I had worked for years, and loved what I did in the hospital setting. But at that time in my life, I felt my time needed to be at home. That was how I wanted to contribute to my family.
I think what irritates me most since I left the hospital workplace is how invasive people are in my life, whether strangers or longtime friends. I have had two separate instances where I greet someone and they immediately ask, “When are you going back to work?”. I want to ask, “Why is that any of your business? Have I asked you for a loan and I’m not aware?” How is my working status anyone else’s business? Why does it consume someone else’s life so much that they find it necessary to ask me something so personal? Would people respect me more if I worked? If so, such individuals should ask themselves why that’s the case. If I were asking for handouts without having a job or seeking one, then I may have opened that door for the interrogations. Until that day comes, however, please mind your own business. I have working friends that look down on stay-at-home moms because they feel they are on a different level. I try not to let it get to me but it does. No matter how much I would like to shrug it off, it gets under my skin. We all have our obstacles and we all overcome them in our own way.
I know people who don’t have respect for stay-at-home moms and it’s a shame. We all work hard to provide for our families. I do not believe one parent deserves recognition over another because of their job title. A parent deserves recognition for the difference they make in the lives of those around them. Most of my friends are parents and I don’t rank them by the difficulty of their job. I commend them simply for waking up each day and putting one foot in front of the other. There are times as a parent we simply want a day off. We want to relax our brains and sit in a quiet room. But we made a decision to become mothers and fathers and we need to stand tall for our children, knowing we are their support. My children’s respect for me does not depend on whether I work or stay home. They don’t know the difference. I think that’s what working and non-working parents need to realize: we are all parents at the end of the day and our children love use unconditionally. Not because we provide a paycheck, but because we love them.
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