I've wanted to to tackle this topic for a while now. If you're a regular here on my blog, you've probably picked up on my distain for the whole judgement, competition, pressure thing in the mommy arena.. If you read my post HERE, you undoubtably know that it is a soapbox topic for me.
However, until now, I couldn't think of a way to approach the working mom/ stay at home mom debate in a way that I felt would be unbiased. After all, I am a stay at home mom. But, my sister-in-law, who is a working mom, wrote a post about this very subject.. So I immediately contacted her and asked permission to hijack her post.. I really think that the failings and lack of support in this area (on both sides) stem from a profound inability to put ourselves in someone elses shoes and also, a vicious cycle of unloving, unhelpful comments that leave mothers, all across the board, feeling insecure and defensive.. Because the truth is, I've talked to her on the phone while she's on her way to work and while her heart is breaking because she longs to be with her child every moment and has just left her child with someone else. I'm the daughter of a mother who worked and who in my mind could never be topped. And, I'm also a stay at home mom that at the end of the day, wishes I had more time to focus completely on my children. And truth be known, a lot of working moms would give anything to be able to wear shoes like mine and yours. But life has brought them some circumstances that prevents that right now.. And, if you think about it, it wouldn't be impossible for life to bring us the same kind of circumstances that could land us in the exact same position. There are also other areas where this little judgemental monster rears his head. But, before I go into the things that put me on the defensive, I thought there could be nothing better than to hear someone elses version of the story... So, pull up a chair and open your heart and please, if I may ask, try on someone elses shoes for a moment. Perhaps it will help us to react with a heart of thankfulness instead of an aire of elitism... Meet, Jan..
So since Dana linked me in a post I feel pressured to update my blog.
Ok, this is not one of those working moms vs. stay at home mom posts. I am a working mom. I love my job. It is more than a job... it is a work. However, I work out of necessity. It is a work that I believe if done correctly could have eternal siginifigance. So if I have to work... I want to work where I do. But of course... who wouldn't want to see this face all day everyday of course I do... but I can't.
(no... it isn't always this sweet!)
I would love to be a stay at home mom, but unfortunately that is not the hand I was dealt. It isn't because of decisions Clint or I made. It isn't anyone's business as to why I have to work. Trust me, if we were able for me to stay home, that is where I would be... but we aren't. Don't judge me for information that you don't have about the situation. (Sorry to be harsh here, but it happens and isn't fair.) Not that it is anyone's business, but Wynn wasn't a "planned child." I am so grateful for her, and wouldn't change the way that God gave her to us or when he gave her to us for anything in the world. His wisdom is far greater than mine! (And yours for that matter.) I am greatful my child! She is a blessing. I am grateful for the fact that since I have to work, I am afforded the wonderful opportunity to work at Alabama Christian Academy.
The working/stay at home battle is not one I am going to get into. I am pretty sure most people do the very best they can for their own child. If you are convicted that being a stay at home mom is best for your child... great... stay at home with them. I know some working moms give SAHM's a hard time, and that is just a bunch of junk... you are just as valuable as someone who works outside the home. The whole SAHM have a lack of ambition is a bunch of junk. If you want to do that but can't... you aren't scarring them for life... you are still doing the best you can for them. (This is the group I feel I fit into... and probably empathize most with) If you are a working mom, you are no less fit of a mother. Whether you choose to work or have to work it is fine. As long as you do what is best for YOUR family it is YOUR choice. (And you have all available information about your family... there is often stuff others don't know!) I am so tired of moms feeling like they have to justify themselves and put others down to defend their own choice. As long as you love your kid and do what you really feel is best for them... I have no issues with you.
Anyway... that being said... this last week has been really tough from a working mom standpoint. Not only am I a working mom, but I am a working mom who is also a coaches wife (sorta the same deal as a preacher, youth minister, or anyother really demanding family involvement job). During football season and baseball season... if Wynn is sick, it is up me to take care of it... Clint just can't get off. Anyway, here is how this week has gone...
Sunday afternoon we took Wynn to the playground. We are trying hard to be intentional about family time. So we walked to the park and played and played. Wynn is a huge fan of slides so we spent a long time there...
After we walked back from the playground, I went to the grocery store and Clint took Wynn inside. In the hour it took me to go buy groceries and get home Wynn developed a high fever. From Sunday around 5ish to Wednesday morning her fever stayed between 102-104... This week I think i have had about 20 hours of sleep total (Sunday night through Thursday night.) We had lots of spongebaths... motrin... doctor visits... long week. Monday I stayed home with Wynn. However, due to the fact that she has had H1N1, stomach virus, fever virus, ear infection, and other fun stuff this year... I am low on time off. (Although ACA has a very generous sick leave policy). So after a long visit to the doctor and a lot of blood work... he told me it was a virus... to treat the fever... and wait it out. So, Tuesday, I couldn't take her to her normal hangout lest she infect Juliet with whatever plague was upon her... so I called my wonderful aunt Kathy. It killed me to take my very sick child to someone else to watch. I am pretty sure I called every hour or two. I have one sick day left (I think). I had to go to work. She was very well taken care of... honestly she slept most of the day. Only to be woken for motrin or something to drink. Aunt Kathy has 2 daughters, is a retired kindergarten teacher, and grandmother to 4... she is well qualified to watch my sick child. It isn't that I didn't want to... I cried because I had to. She was still ok. Aunt Kathy has watched her everyday this week since Tuesday. We did finally figure out what was wrong with her due to the rash she broke out with last night.
She has roseola. It is a normal most kids get it at some point. It is characterized by a really high fever followed by a rash. She is fine now... just still a little fussy due to the rash. The fever is now gone. Yes Wynn has been sick a lot this year. No, she is not in daycare. (Not that I am judging those of you who put your kids in daycare... this is another instance where there is info you may not know.) She is with my great friend Hilary and her one year old Juliet during the day. I don't know why she has been sick so much... I don't know if it could have been more if she were in daycare... home with me... never went to sunday school or what. My best guess is that it is because Clint and I both teach at different schools... who knows... We eat lots of super foods (blueberry, strawberry... all that jazz)...
Anway... I don't know how to end this other than to say... I hate the judging of other regardless of situation... as long as you love your kids and make the best decisions you can for YOUR family... and don't judge things you don't know about.
I've seen these sort of judgements and diggs in my life as well.. On being a SAHM, there have often been suggestions that I'm not driven or successful because I stay at home with my children.. That one doesn't actually bother me much.. The fact is that I succeeded in doing exactly what I had intended to do and that was to stay at home with my children. It's really not my problem if someone else has different dreams. I think that's fine.. But that was my dream.. I'm also not concerned with what the world defines as successful.
But, just when I think that maybe I've outgrown this whole worrying about what other people think issue, a low blow comes along from someone that I respect and admire.. And I'm right there, finding myself being defensive and there is no productivity in that at all.. And again, people are making assumptions when they don't have all the information. You see, sometimes life gets crazy. And the truth is, I have no family near to help and no babysitter on call to help with everything that life demands. So, unless it just happens to demand it when family is visiting, I do it with my kids in tow.. And usually, I have my part pretty well handled. But often, something additional gets tossed in my lap and I can't deny that I'm human or that become stressed at times like those... And because life somtimes requires me to pick up some plates that aren't mine, I sometimes drop one of my own and I end up in some places with my children, not fully prepared (as I usually am) with what they need to keep them in a good frame of mind while we were there.. A situation I regret, yes. However, I've made no such claims to be a superhero.. And if you came here to make those sort of claims, I suggest now that you take your exit.. I can save you a lot of time and say, "we won't be friends". Moving on... At the end of a day such as this, my children and I are tired, anxious and hungry.. And while I often look to others that have been down this path that I'm going down for examples and inspiration, the fact is, quite often, I'm left with with conflicting views. Sometimes between different people and sometimes with the same person (in a do what I say, not what I do kind of situation). And when you sum it all up, I really just have to have faith that the prayers that I pray for God to help me the mother that HE wants me to be are answered. But still, I can openly entertain most ideas that people hold about parenting.. But, when those ideas are accompanied by a suggestion that I am in some way being unjust to my children or, that me disciplining my children means that I think my children are bad and my motivation isn't to do what I think is best for them, it makes me think that you haven't taken the time to get to know me well enough to have the information you need to give me good advice because I'm quite sure anyone that really knows me would never make those assumptions. And when we boil it all down, nothing but harm has been done. Because for my children, you've given them a defensive mother that has even more to stress about.. For me, you've done a nice job of given me an emotional beating.. And for yourself, well, you've proven to have made yourself much less admirable than you once were and certainly not very appealing as a person to go to for parenting advice. To put it simple, it's just down right hurtful.
So really, I think that the best point that can be made here is this: If you see something that you feel a need to criticize, then be prepared to be a part of the solution to the problem if choose to make that criticism known... Because most of us, are doing the very best we can do with what that day has dealt us and many of us that are so frequently judged, would gladly alter our situations a bit should someone who truly cared about the well being of our children and family care to give us the means to do that.