May 29, 2018

Working Mom

Last week, after 5 months at home with my baby, I returned to work. It was a really difficult decision. One that I spent weeks agonizing over. I was unbearably hard on myself, and questioned what it said about me as a mother. I wrote six different versions of this post trying to figure out how to tell the world that I wanted to go back to work. Because, no matter how you dice it, it's a sticky subject.
There is an assumption lingering out there that working moms have to work out of financial obligations to their families. Yes, my family will benefit tremendously from two incomes, but the truth is, I want to work.

For weeks, I agonized over what it said about me as a mother. Asking myself questions like What kind of mother wants to leave their child with someone else? Am I being selfish? What will people think? 

I faced judgment from friends, and worse, some of my own family. There was a period of time when I thought I could make staying at home work, but financial implications aside, I wouldn't have been true to myself. Some women are completely fulfilled by staying at home and caring for their children, and that's awesome. Those women are selfless warriors, and we should praise them. But for others, for people like myself, making contributions outside of their home is what lights their soul on fire. 

While being a mother is undoubtedly the biggest part of my life, it's not the only part of my life. I made the most of my time off work, but it was easy for my husband to see that a piece of me was missing. I firmly believe that our children know if we are happy and that it's our duty as parents to set a good example for them. I never want my daughter to look at me and see that my cup is half empty. I want her to know that a job doesn't just have to be a job. It can be a passion. It can be this amazing thing that gets you out of bed and makes you excited for the day to come. 

My own mother worked outside the home, and it broke my heart when she told me she wished she was around more. She felt that she somehow failed us by having a career, but the thing is, I never saw it that way. Sure, my mom missed soccer games and swim meets, but she taught me something so much more valuable. She taught me to be fiercely independent and relentlessly motivated. She showed me that women have a place in the workforce, and if they work hard, a place at the top. My mom was a total boss who had a wildly successful career. I never wished that she was home more. I wished that I could be her.

It's because of her, and the example she set for me, that I graduated from the University of Missouri. It's because of her that I have my own career that I'm proud of. And, it's because of her that I want to teach these same values to my own daughter. 

Regardless of whether you have to work or if you choose to, it doesn't mean that you love your children any less. And it certainly does not make you a bad mom. We all have our own things that make us great, and we should embrace them. I could continue to agonize over my decision to return to work, or I can commit to it and teach my daughter what it means to be a total mom-boss. Job or no job, we should never stop striving to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing. I work as well and have been struggling this thought because I don't have to work. But we have goals for our household that would be beneficial to work for a little longer.