I’m generally a pretty upbeat, carefree person (with a bit of liveliness and animation thrown in there) in most situations. Even so, it’s always a bit distressing when the topic of working moms arises. I still get a bit baffled, both by how polarizing the conversation can be and the contention left behind after the discussion has concluded. We all want the same thing. We want our children to be happy, to feel loved and to never have a (reasonable) want or care in the world. Why are we so miffed if the vehicle by which we arrive at that proverbial location varies?
If you know me, or even if you’ve checked out a few of my blogs thus far, you already know my career has taken me in a million directions over the course of my life. I’m a designer, a DASH radio host, a restaurateur and more. In addition to all of these, I am a mom. I’d say that makes me officially busy! Being career-active has never made me less available for my children. I’d argue that its effect has been quite the opposite…but we’ll tackle that in a bit 🙂
Since what seems like the beginning of time, many moms who work, particularly those who do so outside of the home, have been consumed by “working moms’ guilt”. It is exactly what it sounds like; the feeling of guilt that stems from spending time on a career instead of staying at home to be a mom 24 hours a day. Society has placed this ideal onto anyone with two X chromosomes, convincing us all that children can only grow to be functional, flourishing beings if there is a mom in the home, all day, every day. I call rubbish on all of that!
When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I read everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy and what to expect. I’ve always been a lifelong learner, so it comes as no surprise that my approach to working while mommying would be no different. I didn’t make the choice to be a working mom flippantly. A great deal of thought and even research went into the decision, and it’s one I’ve never regretted.
I remember reading an article on raising successful children and being astonished by the statistics that stated a majority of successful entrepreneurs grew up in homes with working mothers. These kids-turned-thriving-adults had examples of cardinal work ethic laid out before them in their daily lives. Their definition of what was possible had expanded to include both parenthood, profession and pursuit of passion – simultaneously! To be able to give that gift – not just of potential, but of strong probability and prosperity – to my sons is one I cherish. I made the choice to use my professional resume and skill-set not only to advance my career path, but to secure a beautiful future for my children. Most of all, I chose to show them through my actions and words that their talents, expertise, artistry or whatever happens to be in their future is worthy of exploration and pursuit.
If you’re a working mom carrying around unnecessary guilt because you employ a nanny, or because you take your child to a daycare each day, let it go! Stop beating yourself up because you have help! Our children are no less loved or cared for; our villages just look different. One could even argue they, our children, have an abundance because of all the people chipping in to nurture them. The relationships developed during those formative years, usually with friends made at places like daycares or activity/development centers, often lead to stronger social skills and healthy attachments.
The world isn’t ever going to agree on one final answer regarding how we choose to parent. Social commentators probably won’t begin to look at dads and heap the same amount of judgment when the kid is with a sitter while they scurry off to work, briefcase in hand. The bias will continue to exist. As moms, we have to become secure in our choices, trusting that they’re made in love and with knowledge, and no one can argue with that wisdom. You’re doing a great job, mom, and your children will perhaps even be better for it.
Have you dealt with working moms’ guilt? Comment below about what the experience was like for you.