Being a mom is... different for each of us.
Moms that stay home -- Yes, your job is probably harder than mine. You don't get paid. The minions you deal with are messy and often ungrateful, they whine an awful lot. You don't get a break and you don't get to leave at the end of the day... I get it. It's not easy. It's been rubbed in my face on the internet often enough that I GET IT. And I truly do respect that staying home with your kids is hard. And amazing. At the same time no doubt.
But I don't stay home with my kids during the day. I never have (except for 6 months of glorious maternity leave) and may never have the chance. And I have mostly made peace with that. It is easier going to work now that the kids are older. Once I had a chance to realize that I (and their dad) are still the single greatest influences on their lives and are leading by example. Once I realized that though they are okay with going to school and daycare, they crave being home with mom and dad... we are their home after all. And home is where the heart is. Once I realized that they do indeed love us the very best, as we do them... I am finally more okay with leaving each morning. I am just doing the best that I can for them.
It's still hard to watch my kids love someone else so fiercely. It's hard to realize that I can't dictate to the caregivers exactly how I want my kids to be taught/cared for because you know what -- you can't force your own style on someone else. You just find someone who comes really close, who you respect for how they've parented their own kids, and you go with it. Do I wonder sometimes if I could do better if I was around all day? Sure. Do I wonder sometimes if I would be way worse? Definitely. Then I stop wondering because all it does is make me feel bad about myself no matter what I am thinking. So I go to work and I leave each day, I collect my paycheck, and I come home to the people who matter most.
A long time ago my favorite blog writer in the internets had a baby. And then she had to go back to work (July 2012?) and she struggled with the thought of leaving that precious baby behind. I knew that feeling. She had asked for advice from other moms out there and her comment feed was immediately filled to the brim with advice. I took the opportunity to sit down and really think about what it was like to work away from my kiddos and spent a few days writing an email to her. It was totally cathartic for me to finally organize my thoughts. I sent it off, hoping that it might help her, and hoping she might reply with a big thanks for the amazing advice! Of course I was not realizing that she had probably gotten 4700 emails along with the blog comments... I never did hear back at the time :) And I got kinda bummed about it. It's funny how we pour out our hearts to complete strangers on the internet and then expect them to want to connect with us immediately?? Oh Jenn... Anyway, I prayed about it and I did get over it, realizing that if I had written the email as a sort of therapy to myself (which it totally was) then my purpose was achieved, no matter what response I may have received :) I'm always thankful when I can calm my own heart down through prayer. And I always wished I had the balls to post the original email and thoughts on going back to work on my blog... but I was too afraid of offending people for that.
Last January the gal, Elizabeth, emailed me back a sweet response (you know the one I'd been previously stressing about). What a confirmation that was for me, that the thoughts of my heart were well received and even helpful to her. It was a real treat to get that email. She asked permission to post my original email on her blog, and so of course I said okay. Anyway, she recently posted some of her thoughts on mothering, working, and now again staying at home with her kiddo, along with some of my email (she wisely edited out my run-on paragraphs of nonsense at the beginning and end of it). I thought maybe some of you would enjoy reading her thoughts (and mine). Plus as a bonus you now have her blog address and I would recommend bookmarking it. Girl has a way with words:
So cheers to ALL my momma friends out there. There sure are a lot of you wonderful people! The ones who have a job away from home, and also those who's job is their home. Those who are home, if I am grouchy towards you sometimes when you talk about the hard parts of your world, please give me grace. The jealousy monster creeps into my head and it's not easy to get it out sometimes. But know that I truly think you are all amazing. And those that work away from home... Fist bump. You get me.
Here's to 2014. The year where I finally figure out this mothering thing. Ha ha, yeah right!