Opting Out, Leaning In – What About Loving the Now?

Opting Out, Leaning In What About Loving the NowLately in the news there’s been a lot of talk about opting out, leaning in, and all kinds of other chatter about what moms are choosing to do with their lives while raising children.

The majority of articles take a hard stance to one side or the other. Choosing to stay at home apparently means you’ll have a tough time being your working spouse’s equal, and finding a job later on is next to impossible. Working means you have guilt about childcare, and are subjected to constant updates on why America’s childcare is so awful when you’re not around.

No one catches a break.

What I find interesting about all of these articles is that they are usually written by women, about women, for women. Working dads are rarely mentioned, never chastised. We are the only gender that continually picks apart and beats up our own choices, or just what life has handed us. I’ve yet to read something written by a man who repeatedly asks why men choose work over diapers or what stay at home dads plan to do when their children are teens.

I love at the end of the Huffington Post article how Melinda states, “ When moms said it was better for mothers to stay home with their kids, and these mothers did stay home with their kids, their children fared very well. When moms felt that it is OK to work and put kids in child care, and these moms did work and put their kids in child care, their kids did great too.”

This is something to think about, not just read and nod and move on. We hear it again and again, but when is it ever going to sink in? The choices we make that we are ok with – they benefit our children. I’ve been a nanny, a daycare supervisor, a teacher, and a mom. I work from home and employ a part-time sitter. I believe day care is an amazing setting for parents who view it with a positive attitude. I’ve seen stay at home moms who give up a high-ranking job and could care less. And I’ve seen the opposite; the effect that an unhappy, discontent parent has on their children and families.

I think the best thing we can do as women is to try to accept and love where we are now. Yes, think about the future and make some plans. But make it so that if you look back, you know that in those years you loved what you did. Working, staying at home, whatever. Nothing is for certain, no plans are concrete. Even if you chose something to guarantee a future or a family, it could all change in a split second.

Since you know your children benefit the most from a happy, content parent, then choose to love where you are now. Regardless of another article that questions your valid choices.

 

About the author

Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Babble.com, Still Standing Magazine, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on Pinterest .

5 Comments

  1. Christie says:

    A very good post and point! I often think that if I could greet each day with my toddler’s enthusiasm – that excitement of the simple joy of just getting to get out of bed etc., my life would be a whole lot better. Thanks for the article!

    Reply
  2. Mylene says:

    YES! I love that you wrote this. I left a high-paying hospital social worker job to stay at home with my firstborn almost 3 years ago. For a long time, I struggled with explaining my decision to friends and found that I always had to justify why I had chosen to quit my job to stay at home with my children. Some family members would say “You even got your Master’s degree” – my answer “well, priorities change!”. On many occasions, I even doubted my decision (not so much because I wasn’t happy but because people seemed to think it was so odd).

    I think you hit the nail on the head with “The choices we make that we are ok with – they benefit our children”. There are pluses and minuses to every situation and we, as women, should stop being so hard on ourselves and other moms!
    Mylene recently posted..5 Things Parents Should Know About Having KidsMy Profile

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  3. Kathy says:

    Great article! I think I always wanted children or a child, and I have always been passionate about my career. I didn’t always know what or how it would work out, but I too noticed how bombarded I was with opposing judgments. I also read and discussed what I read and how I felt with my husband. Together we made a plan. I took full advantage of my paid maternity and short term disability pay for 3 wonderful months off with my family, which I recommend to everyone who can make it work, and then I nervously returned to work. Luckily, we had my mom to watch her at first and slowly as the years went on we began child care. Today, looking back it went perfectly for us! Child care isn’t cheap, but at some point it’s pretty clear that a child has much to gain from the interaction, education and activities available at one. But everyone is different, every child is different, each family needs the support and resources to make those decisions that are best for them.

    Reply

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