By Katie, Guest Blogger
Katie grew up and attended college in Southern California where she studied to be a middle school teacher. Ready to get out of town and excited to follow her passion, she got hired teaching in Hawaii and soon after met her soon-to-be husband (another transplant). Eight years later she is married with two toddlers, Abby and Zack. Life is busy and full with two little ones less than 16 months apart.
As a working mom and graduate student hoping to finish her Ph.D one of these days, living so far away from family, she is fortunate to have a wonderful support group of friends that help each other cope as they raise their kids. She keeps a family blogs to document the craziness of their lives and for family and friends afar to keep updated at Adventures from A-Z.
I was talking to one of my dearest friends the other day who has decided to stay at home after a successful career and is now seeking something to do to occupy her down time throughout the day because she is missing “work”. Another is beside herself because she can’t stand to leave her child at daycare and is miserable going to work even though she is great at her job. She struggles trying to be a full time corporate woman and do all the things a SAHM does.
The more moms I interact with-whether it is lifetime friends that have become moms along with me or reading about other moms online, the “mommy guilt” seems so pervasive among us all. The choice to work at home or work outside of the home is a decision that so many women struggle with in the best interest of their children. It seems there are so often unnecessary judgments that get placed upon other moms who make different decisions. If it is not the judgment being placed, moms who are self conscious for one reason or another seem to feel like they have to defend their choices. It is so counterproductive after many women have struggled so that we can have the choice to either work or stay home with our kids. Why do we do this to ourselves and other moms who are just doing the best they know how? There is no family that is alike and no right decision for every family. The beautiful thing about being the mom (or dad) is that YOU get to decide because it is your family.
My decision is to work outside of the home. I love that time that I can spend with my family and we make the most out of our mornings and evenings during the week and our weekends together. We snuggle, go for beach walks, read endless books, eat meals together as a family and tons of things that other families do and love each other more than life itself. As much as I enjoy that time and know how critical it is in the rearing of my children, I know I am not meant to be a stay at home mom. As a teacher and graduate student, I just recently started a new school year. After a busy summer with a 2 ½ year old and 15 month old in tow changing diapers, potty training, teething, packing and unpacking bags, endless rounds of snacks and meals, broken bones, intermingled refereeing and lots of deep breaths (for them and me) I was ready to go back to work. I enjoy my job and after a full and hopefully productive day, I am excited to pick up my kiddos and begin our evening together. For me, I think that time away makes me a more patient mom and better (not to be confused with perfect) at giving them the attention they need.
I grew up with a mom who worked and I don’t remember ever thinking anything of it. I never questioned whether or not I would work once I had children probably because I always felt very loved, supported and proud of my mom, who was great at what she did. I followed in her footsteps to teach and love my work and the journey it has taken me on. I also believe that my kids are learning many necessary life lessons by going to daycare and living the life that our family chooses and because of this are very happy, adaptable and well adjusted kids.
For every decision there is a story, so what if we all supported other mom’s decisions instead of judging it as if it were our own? What if we owned our decisions because we are the only ones who know what is best for our family.