So there’s a little topic called motherhood and work, and we’re living in a generation that is sort of going bonkers over it, and for good reason.
It’s really, really, freaking hard.
It’s hard to figure out what you want as a mother, it’s even harder to do that, and it’s hard to generally be a parent, seemingly no matter what age your kids reach (hi mom!).
With these complex issues, we need to be sure we’re meeting it with a heavy dose of grace, understanding, and the desire to see one another succeed. There’s a million ways to do this whole thing called life, but motherhood and work seem to be a potent little cocktail that we’re all still a little sour on.
This whole issue has been dubbed by many as “mommy wars”, the idea that women fight about when, what, where, how, and why to deal with the whole baby/work lifestyle. I wish I could rise above the masses and say I’ve never judged another mom for her choices with her kids, but human that I am, that would be a false claim.
And I think the reasons are become more clear to me why I feel that way. I’m in the season of finding a rhythm with work and my 15 month old, and I’m also part of humanity that likes to be valued and affirmed. I like to know that what I’m doing is generally okay, people don’t hate me for it, and it’s not necessarily wrong. When it comes to things I think are important, I just don’t want to screw up.
In this season, who my child becomes is the most important thing to me behind providing her food and shelter and love. I want to know I’m doing a good job at parenting her, at providing the things she needs to become all that she’s capable of becoming, whatever that looks like. When I feel like that is threatened or judged, of course my knee jerk reaction is defense, telling myself that the person who doesn’t do it my way is “wrong”, even though I know in my heart that may not be true. Finding out that I stay home more than I’m at the office, one fellow mom made the “gun in her mouth” hand gesture. I immediately decided both she and her child were serial killers.
If I’m being honest, I typically have no idea what I’m doing, I’m just trying to keep most of the pieces together. Motherhood- this primal “my baby” feeling- is so sacred that it’s easy to fall into the “Here’s how I do it, therefore to validate myself I believe that everyone should do it this way. I’m going to surround myself with those who do it this way. We shall be “we”, and everyone else will be called “them”. “Them” threaten my ways, and shall be dubbed as ‘bad moms’, now a popular motion picture.”
It’s not easy to admit this to myself, or to you, but it is an important step in changing the climate of the way we think and talk about working mothers (as in, all mothers).
Once and for all:
Staying home is not bad.
Working part time is not bad.
Working full time is not bad.
Working a mixed schedule is not bad.
Daycare is not bad.
Nanny’s are not bad.
A full time stay at home parent is not bad.
Grandparents and family members helping out with child care is not bad.
Leaving your kids with strangers is bad.
There’s no clear picture for what every family must adhere to as far as the logistics go. Families thrive on love, a little food and water, and a general give and take of each persons needs and desires (trust me, I’ve been doing this for all of 15 months and I have a blog, so I’m an expert). It’s not good for one person in any family to have to sacrifice all their wants and needs for everyone else, and this goes for mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters.
Wanting to stay home is good, and wanting to work is good. Often these choices are out of necessity of budget, a spouse’s career, the inability to find help, etc. The challenge I hope we can all carry in our hearts is being brave enough to do things in the way that works best for our family and our situation while not being hard-headed towards people who do it a different way. Realizing that the reason behind “mommy wars” is more about our desire to be good moms than it is about “right and wrong” is the first step towards making a change for the better.
Now go and tell a mom somewhere that she’s doing a great job. Have tissues on hand.