I am a working mom. There are so many things wrong with this sentence, yet this is often how the outside world sees me. By society’s definition, I am a working mom because I have a child and also hold down a full-time job outside of my home. I cringe every time I accidently use this phrase, especially around my stay-at-home mom (SAHM) friends. Often, I am envious of them, yet I feel that using the working mom terminology makes it seem as if I think what they do is not working. And seriously, I have stayed at home with my son for several days in a row, ready to pull my hair out from the monotony of a day spent mostly in my house, with outings of a walk to the park or a nap-time drive to Chick-Fil-A thrown in to mix things up. Likely, I wouldn’t last more than a week or two… a fact my husband reminds me of whenever I complain about my (outside of the home) job.
So I accept that being a SAHM may not be all it is cracked up to be. Yet I find myself in that same internal battle every time I have to explain to my boss that, yes, my son has another doctor’s appointment or that I would, in fact, like to show up at my husband’s work party and that my absence would be noticed in his office of ten employees. And then realizing that I have zero days of leave, meaning the trip to that appointment will equal four hours of unpaid leave.
And while we are on the subject of non-descriptive titles, what about the use of the term ‘full-time mom’ for a mom who stays home with their children? I don’t think of myself as a ‘part-time mom’, and I am sure none of my fellow mom coworkers do, either. So I find this term to be a little bit off-putting, as well. I still get up with my son at night, take him to his doctor’s appointments and even try to plan the occasional playdate. For me, it just means another part of my life is (gladly) neglected. The part which requires me to be around other adults all day, thinking of brilliant adult things to say at meetings – some of which I think are pointless. And it means feeling like I am missing out on important moments in my son’s life, while at the same time being happy to enjoy my cup of still-hot coffee at the office, without any interruptions from small and needy human beings. It is a constant tug of war for my emotions.
They say the grass is always greener, and I know that if I were home all day with my son, a part of me would be envying the moms who get to dress like adults and carry on adult conversations all day, five days a week. But I currently envy the mom who can get away with wearing sweats all day. That’s just where I am right now.
In an effort to bring the moms of varying lifestyles together, let’s just all admit that most of us have sometimes envied others (or at the very least wondered what it would be like to be in their shoes). While on maternity leave, when at the mall on a weekday with my infant son, I often wondered if the other moms there enjoyed shopping at Gymboree minus the crowds, attempting to drink their lattes while chasing after their toddlers. Yet at the same time, I accepted the fact that if I had no (paying) job, I probably wouldn’t be drinking a $5 latte while shopping for cute, up-scale onesies and matching socks. I guess life really is about making choices. From one day to the next, it can feel as if I am not making the ‘right’ choice, but I accept that I am doing the best that I can. And I realize that the best choice for me may not be the best choice for someone else. I am a working mom, whatever that means. But so are you. Whether we spent our day at an office or worksite, or at the park or library, we all love our children. And we are tired as hell at the end of the day.
This post is linked up at Family Joy Link Party.