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?
"Had to take this call. Can't leave. Will meet you there. Sorry." Practice starts at 6 p.m. and Frank so very badly wants to cheer for his little girl on the sidelines. He knows it's not always possible or fair for me to drop my work to make sure she gets there on time -- but, like half of working dads, he's struggling to balance the competing demands of work and family life.
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
To all new and expecting mothers Tara encourages you to: "Get connected. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to carry a mother so don't be afraid to reach out to someone walking the same journey. We can walk together because our children need us to be the best mothers that we can possibly be."
Before I had kids, I dreamed about being a stay-at-home mom. I loved the idea of having the whole household under control and making life easy for my husband by rocking the homemaker role. But as it turns out, I am happy in that role about one day per week and otherwise feel totally and utterly stifled.
On Mother's Day, I look at my kids and think how blessed I am. Not just because I've had a chance to raise them, with all of the love, pride and fun that brings to my life. But because doing so has been a joyful experience. I've been able to nourish them, keep them warm, and send them off to school in the morning.
I don't want to read any more arguments about who has it harder, whose work is "real work," who is contributing more to society, or who is doing a better job ensuring her kids become stable, non-homicidal adults. I'm proposing a new form of Internet literature, where one group of moms singles out another group of moms for a job well done.
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.
As a culture, we have a weird obsession with women being "selfish." Mothers especially are prone to accusations of selfishness any time they make a choice that doesn't directly and obviously benefit their children. Even when mothers are encouraged to practice self-care, it's often approached with the idea that feeling happy and rested will make them better partners and parents.
Six years ago, my husband Matthew was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiform, the most common and deadliest of brain cancers. As Matthew's primary caregiver, I've come to recognize that coping in the face of a terminal illness is a learned skill, and sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works.
The point is that working moms need a village to be successful. They need short-cuts and tips that make life easier. With precious little time at home, it's things like swifters and crockpots make a difference. If you don't have a support system that can help you find the things that can help you feel like a better mom, build one. It's worth it.
Children are an incredible paradox. They bring so much joy, so many tender moments, so many blissful times when you're just enjoying them, and they're enjoying you, and you're laughing at something funny your toddler said, or something adorable your baby did. And then there's the other 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day you have to get through.