Deciding to stay-at-home is a hard decision. For some, it’s a matter of logic — with the cost of child care and all. For others, it’s a matter of emotion, where they’d much rather be at home nurturing and caring for their kids than working a 9-5. Then for others, it’s unthought of. Whether it’s the need to get away for sanity’s sake or the literal cost of bills, there are some moms who decide being the cost of being at home far outweigh the cost of being away during the day.
I’m not here to debate what’s best. If I had kids, I’d image I’d like to stay home at least part-time. There are moments I just wouldn’t want to miss out on my child’s life, and I think it’s super important for bonding, and simply your emotional state as a mom.
I also understand that’s not everyone’s situation, and being unmarried, I’m not even sure where I’ll fall on the spectrum if I am fortunate enough to be married and have kids one day.
But, once again, that’s not the point of this post. This post is to 1) pay homage to my mother – my magnificent mother – who was, indeed, a working mother and 2) to praise and encourage those mothers who have decided to take the road of “working mom”.
My mother was a working mom. She worked my ENTIRE life. She sacrificed my ENTIRE life. I consider her the epitome of mom.
Nope, she didn’t stay-at-home, but never once did I feel neglected because of this decision. Even though she worked my entire life, she must’ve been like supermom or something because I learned invaluable lessons from her.
- I learned that it’s essential to put your family at the top of your priority list. The only thing that should come ahead of your family is God.
- I learned that working moms can, indeed, be hyper-involved in their child’s life – school, sports and more. It’s totally up to you. My mom was at my games, picked me up from practice, gave rides to me and my friends to school in the morning and to the movies at night 🙂 She was on field trips, popped up at school, and more. Embarrassingly enough, I had a former classmate recognize my mom without recognizing me a couple of years back.
- I learned from my mom that there’s nothing like hard work, integrity, tenacity and people skills. My mother started off as a secretary at her current job. She has been a planner, a quality engineer/specialist, and is currently in a leadership role at her organizations. She may be one of the dying breed of lifers, but loyalty and hard work has shown itself fruitful. I may not be as loyal as she, but I can say, I am a hard worker and have pretty natural people skills that make it easy for people to appreciate me (many times).
- I learned that it’s okay to sacrifice for your family. My mom literally passed up a career opportunity that would include travel because her kids were still young and she wasn’t leaving them home.
- I learned that your kids don’t hate you for working. Instead, they may actually appreciate you and the lessons learned even more. My mom was my first and biggest mentor, cheerleader, and fan. I love the lessons I’ve learned from my mom. I don’t have her life. Right now, working is less of an option for me…and it’s because of her example and God that I’m where I am right now. My mom is awesome. She’s the number one person in my world. Working or not, when all else fails, mom is there.
- I learned you can take care of work and still take care of home. Yes, my mom was a cooking and cleaning mom. In fact, she ironed my clothes until I was in the 11th grade (insane, I know), and she cooked meals A LOT – and she can cook, y’all.
- Most of all, I’ve learned how to empathize with working moms and wives. That life is not easy. I don’t know what it’s like to nurse a sick kid in the middle of the night. But I do know that it’s pretty amazing that my mom would stay up all night, if necessary, with panic and anxiety attacks and go to work like nothing happened the next day. I know that it’s pretty amazing to know that my mom would drop whatever she’s doing at work to talk to me during the day in the middle of a crying spell. And I know it’s great to know that my mom would listen to my hilarious stories or laugh at a text to this day simply to show she cares – even if she has to break from her work for even five minutes.
Admittedly, there’s concern that my mother may have loved us a bit too much. “What will we do if something happened to her?” is the question many ask. But hey, she’s my superhero. The lessons I’ve learned from her are priceless. And, I’d rather she gave and gave vs. not giving at all.
So rest assured working moms, it’s not whether or not you’re there every waking minute. That’s not what’s most important. More importantly is that you make every moment you’re with them – and even those moments you’re not with them – count. It’s about whether or not they can feel your hug when you’re away. And can hear your voice of reason when you’re not present. And that they can take just a little bit of you with them where ever they are. That’s what it means to be mom.