Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010...8:53 pm

Admitting It

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There are many “shoulds” in parenting. Society tells you what you should do, family tells you (sometimes subtly, sometimes not) what you should do. And, most of all, we (mothers) have a whole slew of self-imposed “shoulds.”

I have told myself many times that I should want to stay at home, that I should envy my peers who have enough money and stability and insurance to go it on one income, that I should do everything to make staying at home a possibility. I think I even made myself think that because I work I should never try to be as “good” as moms who stay at home full time, which I now realize is totally ridiculous.

I am beginning to admit to myself that I might actually prefer being a working mom. This is hard. It’s hard to admit that I might prefer spending time away from Nora, that I might prefer teaching other people’s children all day, that I might be a better mom because I work. I’m not there yet, really. Writing that even seems wrong to me. How could I not want to spend all day, every day with Nora? It seems like a huge faux pas to even suggest that working isn’t so bad.

I find the actual work of teaching fulfulling in many ways – it’s creative, it’s a constant challenge and it makes a difference for real people in real ways every day. But, now that I’m a mom, I also appreciate what I do for the time it affords me. I get to spend time with Nora in the morning when she is a happy and energetic child (most days). I get to spend time with her in the evening, eating, walking, playing, reading, all the things that would, I think, start to seem tedious if it was all I did, although I certainly don’t know that for sure. Sending Nora off to daycare still ranks as the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I also am starting to realize that it may not be the worst thing for me or for Nora.

I’ve written before about feeling judged because I work. I think those instances have stung so hard because I have also always judged myself for it. I’m going to try to stop doing that, to appreciate the balance that work provides. To try to see the good in our routine that clearly is working pretty well for us.

And I always have the summer.

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6 Comments

  • Great blog, Sarah. You’re an independent woman!

    Gail

  • Sarah I enjoyed this article. I wanted nothing more than to stay at home with my children. Fortunately I was able to fulfill this dream because I took in other children to generate enough income to survive. However, I am not convinced that “always being there” was the best thing for my kids. Building independence and spending quality time is absolutely equal to or may be even better for kids. I now joke that I have to work ten extra years because I wanted to be with my kids. Some of them are still very dependent……perhaps learning to be independent at an early age would have been better. Then I too could have been retired now!

  • I quit a teaching job, I only lasted two years, just before I had my second daughter.
    Teaching is such an admirable profession and incredibly demanding of your time and energy, in and out of school. If I had truly loved it, I would have stuck with it.
    The point is, I still have regrets and a feeling of having failed for bailing out of the work force, and my students. It works both ways, I guess.
    Luckily, I stumbled into a blogging job that keeps me busy and stimulated while allowing me to be at the school gate. We all have to do what works for us and keeps us fulfilled.

  • I can appreciate this inner struggle. I quit a teaching job when I had my second daughter. I just didn’t love it enough. That said, I think teaching is an amazing profession and I often second guess my decision. We all do what we have to do and I think we might always wonder if it’s the right thing now and again.

  • Oops. Sorry about the repeat comment.

  • [...] made working not a choice, a perspective I’d probably tend to identify with a bit more (as I’ve written about before). It’s partly the “whine” factor in many essays. And it’s little things [...]

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