I am glad I read this article today. I was feeling pretty defeated this week in the whole motherhood game. I am weakened even to write this, because I already know that there are those will judge, shaking their heads, “she only has one kid, let’s get real here.” Yes. Please. Let’s get real. Let’s stop judging and criticizing one another as moms, telling each other “Enjoy this stage now, just wait until (fill in the blank with the stage they are at)” on the day that very mother is being completely overwhelmed by newborn sleep schedules, teething, crawling, walking, getting-into-everything babes. Of course, I know there are many trials beyond that as well, but i will not pretend that I know anything about what is to come.
It all started in the church nursery on Sunday. Of all places, right? The other lady helpers did a neat little job of my confidence and self-worth. And while the fact that they were able to destroy me so easily is much more of a testament to my character than theirs, the fact that it still stings today surprises me. I consider myself pretty strong, pretty confident. It was the good ol’ “what do you do?” conversation that evolved into the two moms talking about how they are “better” moms because they work “outside the home” jobs and how they feel they are able to do this because they are “good at multi-tasking” and their ever-popular “bless your heart, but I could never do that” response to my occupation.
So, here are my confessions
1) I’m a little sensitive.
A year ago I was so sure I would have a “professional” job and a baby. I would excel at both. And while this is in the realm of possibility, it is not what I am doing. I gave up one of the most precious things. I love working hard and long and mostly, I like being important and impressive and valuable. I no longer receive promotions or glowing reviews but, every once in awhile, I receive a warm open mouth kiss on my cheek and I figure, that is almost the same thing.
2) I hardly ever “stay-at-home”.
For those who think I wear yoga pants and watch soap operas: you won’t find that girl using my toothbrush. (please ignore the fact that I am typing this while wearing yoga pants) We are constantly going to the library, park, grocery store, athletic club, walking, running. I want to stimulate her mind with experiences and interactions. I volunteer every week and she hangs out with Grandma. I feel like my life is full and am constantly wondering “where did the day go?” I must lose track somewhere between feeding #4 and diaper #7.
3) I admire working moms.
Finding the balance between being a dependable employee and quality mother must be challenging. I think all of you who come home tired and still have to take care of the house, baby and baby daddy must have a reserve of energy and patience I have yet to discover. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about what you are doing. I think you are amazing. I just have one problem with you: you get to eat lunch alone with your thoughts. Jealous!
4) I’m not very domestic.
If there were an application for my current job, I’m pretty sure I would not even get called for a first interview. I don’t bake, can’t sing, and don’t DIY (I spell it D-I-E). I have great admiration for my mom friends who do (ummm, basically all of them). You will almost always find my house clean and organized but it probably will smell more like books and coffee than fresh cookies and a hot glue gun. I am okay with that. Someone has to make all the others feel good and I will honorably accept that role.
At the end of the day-or the beginning, or in the middle-just remember: it is not a competition. Let’s resolve never to say to one another:
“I could never do that.” (whether “that” is staying home or working)
We have no idea what we can or cannot do or what we are capable of when called to do so. Motherhood is an absolute adventure. A wild and wonderful adventure. I don’t remember if our house was always in perfect order growing up, or if we always looked coordinated (pictures tell me I do know that, actually) but this I do know: mom read to us every afternoon, probably a million books total. She took us to zoos, museums, parks and even to Sam’s Club on sample days. Experience is what matters.
So, thank you to all the great moms out there that inspire and encourage us newbies that it is not a face-to-face contest, it is a side-by-side adventure. Onward!