Those words hit me like a gunnysack full of bricks right in the gut. We had gotten on the topic of babies after looking at some adorable baby photos on Facebook. The conversation turned to a working mom vs. stay at home mom discussion and one replied with “Oh no, I raised my kids,” essentially stating that she stayed home with her kids and she was able to raise her children instead of having to put her kids in daycare.
After my initial “punched in the gut” reaction my second thought was “What a horrible thing to say to 3 other woman who were all working mothers.” Some people just have very minimal filter and some people say things and don’t mean any offense. I understand that, but the reaction I felt to that comment was real.
I was just full of guilt, sadness, and feeling like I’m failing as a mother. It’s funny how 6 words can evoke so much emotion, isn’t it? It really got my wheels turning, though, and it really got me thinking.
I stayed at home with Alea for the first 2.5 years of her life. Was I 100% a stay-at-home-mom? No. I worked for an online company to make a little extra money for my family at one point, I went to nursing school full-time, and I also started this blog & eventually started to monetize my blog during that time as well. It was no walk in the park, that’s for sure. I felt guilty for not contributing enough (per my own standards) financially to our family and felt like a burden as nursing school took up a lot of my time. I also felt like I didn’t have a lot of time to give to Alea because of all of the above.
But we went to library story times, we made tons and tons of crafts and worked on lots of projects. We visited the park every chance we got and I like to think that I had a good stint as a stay-at-home-mom– even if by definition I juggled a few more things in addition.
If I had to choose between the two now, being a working mom or a stay-at-home-mom, I would choose to be a working mom without a question. That may seem confusing given the guilt I felt above, but this is the life for me. I want to use my degree that I literally worked my ass off to get and I want to use it to help provide for my family financially. This is the life I saw for my family when I was going through nursing school and I’m really proud of where we’re at.
That doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from feelings of inadequacy as a working mom, too. I struggle with those feelings on an almost daily basis. I wish I had more time with my girls and feel guilty that I didn’t have that same time at home with Mckenna that I had with Alea.
If you’re a working mom with similar feelings, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. We’re in this together, okay?
Working mom, you are no less of a mother because you work. You’re no less of a caregiver because someone else spends 8 hours of the day caring for your child while you’re at work providing for your family. Your children will look up to you one day for the sacrifices you made for them and they’ll aspire to sacrifice for their family as well.
You’re no less and they’re no more. You’re no more and they’re no less.
I raise my kids, too, okay?
Now pass the tissues.