I’ve been thinking a lot about the mommy wars recently. I’d actually never heard it called that, but a friend and fellow blogger posted about it recently and ever since I seem to find myself in conversations about it. It’s referring to this seeming competition about our choices as mothers… do I work outside the home? Do I stay at home with the kids? Do I work from home?
Obviously, I have chosen to work from home but most of my friends have made one of the other choices. I fully respect all those choices. We, as mothers, need to choose what makes the most sense for our families. The problem, I think, comes from wanting it all.
The women’s movement did a lot of really positive things for the lives of women but I think there was one big flaw. Somehow we ended up believing we could have it all…career, family, relationship. The reality is having it all is impossible. We simply do not have enough energy or hours in the day to have a high-powered career, spend quality time with our children, be a perfect housewife and spend hours staring lovingly into our partner’s eyes over a homemade, romantic evening meal.
We want it all but we can’t have it. That’s why the grass always looks greener. We envy the working mom’s freedom and time with adults, we envy the extra income and the commute as a little time alone. Others envy the time a stay at home mom has with her kids, we wish we could make homemade birthday cakes and go to the park. Still others look at the work-at-home lifestyle as a perfect way to balance life and work.
All of that is true. Each decision has its advantages none are perfect and we too often choose not to see the weeds also present in that greener grass. The working mom gets home only with enough time to feed and bath her kids before bed and pays far too to have someone else spend quality time with her kids. The stay-at-home mom is exhausted from all that quality time, is cutting coupons to survive on only one income and is desperate for a little ‘me’ time and adult company. The work-at-home mom is constantly overwhelmed from trying to fit it all in and is working until 2am because of an unexpected doctor’s appointment, still having to get up with her 5am riser.
It’s natural to be a little jealous of another mother’s choice. The upside to their decision is the downside to yours. What I think is important is to remember is to make sure whatever lifestyle you are leading is the one that works for you and your family. Revel in the advantages of your choice.
I love working from home…sure some days I envy the income a full time job would bring in and on my busier days I look at friends who stay at home and wish I had their freedom, but then I remember that I get to be here while The Boy learns to read and I get the first cuddle when The Baby gets up from his nap and I am thankful. I’m also thankful when I can point to a by-line or a big project and know that I did that.
I’ve had to do a lot of adjusting of my expectations since I started working at home. Home cooked meals aren’t always so home cooked but these are challenges we learn to work around (this is why I love my crock pot so much!). There are many days where I envy another woman’s choice but all-in-all I am happy with the choice I make. As long as I choose to be grateful and remember why I made the decision I did, I’m happy and my kids are happy. That’s what’s important.