I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.
I’m a mother and I have a full-time job, not because I have to, but because I want to.
Gasp. How dare I, right? How dare I choose my own selfish needs over spending all day with my kids? How dare I choose to be a mom when all I do is send them off to daycare to be raised by someone else?
I know that’s what some of you are thinking.
That’s why, for so long, I’ve found myself silently sitting by when I’ve heard co-workers complain about work. Sometimes, I even join the complaining, pretending I don’t want to be there either when I really actually do. There are so many mothers out there who don’t want to work but have to, and I really feel sad for them. There are so many mothers out there who relish their decision to stay home, and I really feel happy for them.
But there are also a few of us who relish our decision not to stay home, who find happiness because we do work.
Who are you to judge us for that?
I’m tired of being made to feel guilty about it. I love my job. I love the self-confidence it creates in me. I love the intellectual challenges it provides. I love the feeling that I am making a difference. I love that I don’t have to completely lose who I once was to become a mom.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. When I am home, I am with them, body and spirit. Because we have less time together, I try my best to make the most of it. I still do “mom stuff.” We play board games and Legos, we color and bake, we go for bike rides and walks, we read books every night. I still take my kids on play dates, and I attend school events when I can.
In short, I am no less of a mother because I cannot do these things 24/7. In fact, being a working mom provides some of its own unique perks.
Because I work, I get to experience the joy of being missed by my children, getting embraced daily by enormous bear hugs.
Because I work, I get to experience a daily pang of heartache that refreshingly reminds me how much I love my children, and how much I cannot wait to see them.
Does working full-time while raising a family complicate life? Absolutely. This is my reality though. Working makes me happy and being a mother makes me happy, so I find ways to juggle the chaos.
I recognize some of you don’t need to work to find fulfillment. Being with your children is enough. I applaud you for that. To be perfectly honest, I’m even a little jealous because it’s not enough for me.
And that’s okay. It doesn’t make me selfish. It makes me honest.
Working full-time does not make me a better mom than you. It makes me a better mom than the mom I would be if I chose to stay home. I know myself. If I were a stay-at-home mom, I would start to resent my decisions, and ultimately, my children. They deserve better than that.
This is why working makes me a better me. I know my children accept this about their mommy.
It’s time the rest of society did too.