I hate “mommy wars.” I refuse to buy into the idea we're all pitted against eachother. I believe with all my heart that moms are all doing the best they can. We’ve navigating new waters every day, and everyone’s situation is different.
We're all "working moms." All of us. Being a mom is hard freakin' work. When you're home you need a minute away, and when you're working outside the home you long for minutes at home. It's a nonstop, daily battle. Our struggles are different, but we all have them. The real "mommy wars" are inside of us. I believe it with all my heart.
I’m a working outside the home mom. I never thought I’d see the day I would truly consider myself a “working mom," (in quotations because again, we're all working). I’m up early, I go to bed last. I’m at work during the day and I run around like a chicken with my head cut off between the hours of 4:30 and 10pm.
It’s not easy.
I’ll add that I work in a school, and love what I do. My schedule is perfect for anyone looking for snow days and school vacations. I know I’m lucky. I know that I almost could say I work ¾ time. Not full, but ¾. I work a lot, but I’m off a lot too.
When I had my first baby, I was a stay at home mom. It’s all I ever really wanted. I didn’t have huge career aspirations or a hard earned degree. I had this deep longing to have a family. I imagined washing clothes and baking, cleaning and just being there. Those were my dreams. Small potatoes to some, but a big deal to me.
I’m blessed to have done that for many years. I stayed home, and my job was the bills, the kids, the appointments and the house. I was the family manager. I felt I did my share, I was up at night with bad dreams and I was always the puke cleaner. I only bought on sale and clipped coupons. When bills got tight I made money selling on ebay. I’ve always been frugal and it was my mission to be there for my kids. I wanted to raise them. I ran my house for as long as I could so that I could be home.
When our family needed more money because the kids started with more extracurricular activities, I went to work part time. I now work full time (well, ¾ time). My heart has always ached when I’m not there for bedtime (I waitressed) or when I missed my daughter say the announcements at school (when I worked in the hospital).
Today I missed the first day of school drop off. I’m also missing pick up. Last Spring I missed the Easter party at school.
All of this tugs at my heart and makes me wish so badly I could just be there for everything. I never had to worry about rides or school events when I stayed home. I was there. Now every lunch with a special person makes me cringe. It makes me cringe because I have four kids. And at one time I had to get to four lunches.
I now only have two in the elementary school. Which still means I need to arrange time off twice during the same week. It’s hard. But I’ll be damned if one of my kids is at lunch with no special person.
Working moms don’t always choose to be at work. Sometimes we have to be. Every moment I miss makes me think about how I only get so many moments before my kids will be grown. It’s terrifying. But at the same time I remember when I stayed home, and I was envious of the moms who had their own paychecks.
Being a mom is not easy. It’s hard for all of us. We are all fighting our own battles, and we need to stick together. I truly believe there is more “I got your back” and less “I can’t believe she didn’t make it to the Christmas party.” The moms who have to miss school parties have already cried about it the night before. It's the fight between where you have to be and where you want to be.
It's the toughest war of all.
Happy weekend mamas. Enjoy it.