July 7, 2010
Well first off let me say that with the blogspehere on fire with this question lately I have yet to read a post that is not biased but desperately trying to make one or the other group feel bad. All of them have been and everyone has an agenda they would like to get across and that's fine but don't disguise it as "I'm a blessed stay at home mom" and sum it up with I could never work, not that there is anything wrong with that. We can all hear the judging under tones. There also have been a lot of "I work, still do the laundry and raise a happy baby" holier than thou statements and I know that's a bunch of BS too.
Now will this post be completely unbiased? Probably not but I'm not going to lie and say that it is because blogs should be about saying what ever you want and who cares if a couple people stop following you.
I have done the working mother thing and I have done the stay at home thing. Which is better? When my first son was born I had to go back to work at 6 weeks even after he was in NICU for 2 and I had a c-section I was not ready for that at all. I went to work 2nd shift and my husband at the time worked 1st. We traded off baby and I worked close enough (walking distance) that he would bring him in to my work to breastfeed because I refused to give that up so soon and I really thought that I was super mom. A mere month later all that stopped when my work suffered or I could no longer get away and I pumped when I could but the bottle was inevitable. My husbands and I's relationship dissolved and looking back I can't even pinpoint the main problem. Blame it on age, blame it one work but apparently no one wanted to work hard enough on the marriage and I moved out. So I was doing the single mom thing and that kicked my ass. There are many moments of his first years I don't even remember and it was because I was working all the time and between split custody I just plain ol missed out on them. Did I have a choice but to work? No. I had to work but I still felt so guilty. Many women say "why do you feel guilty? women have worked hard to get where we are and you should take advantage of the education and career options you have, make your children proud". I still felt guilty, and I would still change it if I could and I could not explain it away or justify it. It plain sucks to drop your kid off to daycare to have someone else feed, change and play with them so that you can work and barely pay that bill alone. It was a catch 22 and I felt bad everyday. Now when I had my daughter I was back in a relationship but the worse one imaginable and I worked and I felt ridiculously guilty this time as well. I made good money, my hours sucked and I got home in time to do everything domestic, do my part in parenting and it started all over again before I had a chance to breath. Working mothers say how that you can have it all and I have to disagree, whenever you have more than one working mother in a room with another, the conversation will turn to how hard it is to leave them and the guilt they sometimes feel. Do they say they want to stay home NO and for good reason because that's not awesome either all the time. Some people have great jobs, they worked very hard to get and they do "want it all" so they juggle as best they can but that is what they are doing juggling. You can set up an Army regimented schedule for everyone to follow and you can work, cook dinner, clean the house, do the shopping, have a relationship with your significant other, sleep and be a good parent BUT and yes there is a but because in my years of doing the working mom thing I felt like I was BARELY doing all of those, yes I did them and yes I was good at what I was doing and to the outside world I looked like I was really holding it together but honestly I felt like I was walking the thinnest line and one little breeze could throw it all spiraling out of control. The guilt that would occur after realizing that I COULD NOT spend as much time as I wanted on the kids or Fill in the blank was overwhelming. I was committed and unfortunately I was committed to my job first and if many mothers are honest you are too because you cant just call in day after day to take your child's needs first without losing said job and you can't just leave when you want if they get sick instead you sit at your desk dialing a bunch of numbers to figure out who can get there instead of you because you HAVE to stay. I felt like this and I don't think many mothers explain this feeling well enough to future working mothers. To the mothers that have the choice to work not have to work you are in a different realm because you no that you can take it or leave it you had to but being cornered in your working status is a very taxing feeling. Its hard, Its stressful and its demanding. I am saying this even if you have some great job you love, I would assume you still would feel this pull. Now not all situations are the same. I worked 40+ hours a week and at one point I had an hour commute both ways, I worked some weekends and holidays. Those things really add to the hard task of working with kids. Now after I said all of that, even in my guilt to drop them off at the sitter at God awful early hours, there where days I was happy to go to work and I dreaded coming home (no one saw that coming)I knew how much work awaited me at home and at work at least I had a set schedule of what needed done and after a very long day of working knowing that you are going home to everyone NEEDING you, physically and emotionally was mentally draining to prepare for and there where many days I was not prepared and I got by, by going through the motions and it is to this day the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
I have realized that I am now making this a 2 parter because there is too much to read here as it is. I'm looking forward to the comments and I'm sure some will be a shame on you but remember I said before this is not unbiased and I still don't think I have joined a side on this debate. Stay tuned for part 2 in a day or so.