Before I get this off my chest, I want to say that this is by no means a post that points fingers at SAHMs or defines what is right or wrong. This is just my point of view and experience juggling motherhood, marriage and work.
I was raised by a family with strong female leadership and was taught to be independent, go to college and pursue a professional career. That was the best legacy they could leave me for life. But once I got married and had a baby, things drastically changed. I started to get questioned about my decision to keep working vs. being a “full-time” mom. It seems we are giving the wrong message to girls, who are being raised to be independent and career-driven, but just until they become moms. That’s when they will start getting judged for choosing their career over their family.
I’m not going to lie; the “you can have it all” argument is simply not true. There is no perfect recipe for balance between family-motherhood-work. It’s just a messy road where you learn how to juggle all the balls in the air. Sometimes they fall, but you get yourself together and carry on.
The concept of a traditional family, where the husband is the provider and the spouse stays home with the kids, has changed. Men and women act more as “partners” now, both responsible for the economy and well-being of the family. Men change diapers and mothers pay bills, too. The roles are interchangeable. You can be a mother and still want to keep up with your career, or you might not have a choice because you need the money to support your family. In both cases, it is completely respectable. We shouldn’t be judged for it.
I’ve been judged for sending my daughter to daycare since she was 3 months old (a close friend even quoted a study where the cause of violent kids seemed to be connected to going to school early); accused of being shallow for not wanting to conform and live a more modest life with just one salary; and even told, “I’m so sorry you can’t have more kids, because there’s no way you can handle it.”
So, you get up early to prepare the kids and get them to school. Then you get to work, put on your ass kicking face and get things done in the corporate world. Then you go to playdates, birthday parties, help with school projects, ballet, cooking, housekeeping, wifely duties and the list goes on. At the end of the day, you might be lucky to have five minutes left for yourself. But if you are happy doing it, then don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
How do I know I’m doing a good job? When I see my 3-year-old daughter growing as a very spirited, intelligent girl, one who role-plays being both a caring mother and a kick-ass professional (it’s very funny to see her sit with my old laptop and her playphone and pretend she is having a meeting); when my husband celebrates my work accomplishments or lifts my spirit when things don’t go well and when he never misses the opportunity to tell me how proud he is of me. Those are the things that keep me going strong.
Staying home or going back to work is a very personal decision. Don’t let the critics bring you down and take your eyes off from the amazing job you do. If it’s working for you and your family, then go ahead, if it’s not, it’s OK, too. At the end of the day, it is your decision to make — don’t let anyone tell you the opposite.