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I remember watching a friend parent her five-year-old boy. I didn't have kids yet, but I saw how he would push the limits and anger her. I was so impressed that she kept her calm and always welcomed him into her arms for a hug and moved on with a good attitude. I knew I wanted to be a parent like that. Forgiving and moving on, like I meant it.
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You are not teaching your young child some philosophical lesson in egalitarianism. What you are actually teaching your child is that even if he or she would prefer to be with you, mommy's desire to be out in the working world (even at a financial loss) is more important.
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Many times I would put work above anything else as I became the "job." I didn't realize then that I allowed my job to define who I was as a person. For some odd reason I lost myself in the process of being dedicated and it took starting a family and getting laid off to realize it.
With the heavy lifting of baby-rearing behind you, now may be the time to head back to work. For those already working and no longer chained to daycare fees, perhaps it's a good time to go after a new career opportunity. Or, the empty house may have your biological clock ticking for just one more baby?
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Workforce participation rates of Canadian mothers varied considerably depending on the province.
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Of course, this applies to SAHD, too!
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As I sit here writing this post, coated in the slick, stench of black licorice fennel oil (for breast milk production), I can honestly say I'm more stressed now than before parenthood. And I know I'm not alone in this.
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It is hard to be a working mother. There are days you just don't think you can manage everything on your to-do list. You may be tempted to confide in a colleague or you boss at work and unburden yourself, but here's a word of advice: Don't. Instead, call a friend, your sister, or your mother.
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For some reason, society (and especially moms), get caught up in terminology. Moms are categorized as SAHM (stay-at-home mom), WAHM (work-at-home mom), or career mom, as though having a specific "mom label" denotes a certain level of superiority or accomplishment. In the end, regardless of our employment status, we are all moms
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Not too long ago, a fellow writer wrote a beautiful, touching piece called, "Today, Mommy is Sad." It made me tear up, because it took me back to when I was pregnant for the second time and struggling to deal with my conflicting emotions. Today is a different story. Today, Mommy is an asshole.
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I don't judge my friends who work full-time (I'm completely proud and impressed by their success) and I don't judge my friends who don't work at all (I'm amazed by their patience and ability to put their careers on hold). The trouble is that moms feel the need to defend their position (myself included) whenever they feel it's being questioned, and sometimes it gets downright vicious. We've already established that there's no "perfect" solution that works for everyone, so it seems wrong that anyone has to compare themselves to anyone else (and feel guilty or insecure), but we're never going to get past it, it seems.
What's wrong with being moms? What's so awful about this that we feel we need to shout at the world that we are so much more than moms, that we are so much more than everyone else? Fighting fire with fire rarely works and this is yet another case of it. If you were truly proud to be a mom, you wouldn't have to validate your choice on Facebook.
I know that you seldom have a hot cup of coffee or tea. I know that your attention is always divided, often diverted from a moment to moment basis, and you cannot ever count on completing a task in the one go. I know that you probably don't get any down time when you're on your own at home, unless you have a single child who still naps in the daytime. I know the challenges you deal with daily, usually with no peer support or backup. The toddler tantrums, the toilet training accidents, the food battles, the food on the floor, the crayons on the wall, the sibling rivalry, the baby that never seems to stop crying.
I am unemployed again. I'm scared we won't be able to pay the bills. I'm scared that we have set up a life that there is no way we can afford without a second salary, and a decent one at that. I'm scared that I am doing my son a disservice by pulling him from daycare to stay home with me, a mom who loves him dearly but prefers to not be a stay-at-home mom...