Why is it that we always see the missed opportunities in someone else’s day? Moms who work outside the home may think, “if I could stay home, I could keep the house cleaner and get more sleep and be with the kids.” Moms who do not work outside the home might think, “if I worked in an office, at least I could have time to myself and make connections with other people and not snap at the kids so much.” And now there’s a new breed of moms, work-from-home (WFH) moms.
Some might think that WFH moms have the best of both worlds, getting to take care of the kids and home while also having a sense of self and accomplishment through their work. But to the moms who live in this in-between reality–I feel ya’. I’m also of the last type, though I’ve also lived as the first two. When the preschooler and toddler finally take naps (which honestly never happens twice in one week), do you turn on a rerun of Project Runway and pick up that neglected reading material to fool yourself that this is your me-time or sweep up the cereal on the floor (because if you try to when they’re awake, you have to fight for control of the broom and risk knocking the whole bowl off the table) or try to squeeze in a few minutes of work during business hours (so your coworkers don’t think your’re crazy for doing it at 2 a.m.)?
And everyone’s got an opinion on how mothers should interact with their families: only one, quiverfull, all organic, something fast, home school, Montessori, no TV, need one in the car, no tantrums, no spankings, choose the kids, have it all… Leaving a mother feeling guilty or incompetent no matter what she chooses. Let’s face it: being a mother is full time and stressful and rewarding and worthy of honor.
Being a mother–loving and caring for your family, regardless of other occupations–is worthy of honor.
You don’t clock out on being a mother, even if your children are at school or daycare. But it’s hard when the only adult conversation you have all day is with yourself. When the husband’s working overtime, the kids are sick, yesterday’s dishes are still unwashed, and a deadline is looming, WFH moms can feel pretty frayed around the edges.
Instead of belittling Edith for choosing to stay home, let’s praise her for her servant heart. Before we degrade Rosanne for working, by choice or otherwise, let’s encourage her for her hard work. Instead of trying to make ourselves feel better about and justified in our choices by hurling out judgement, let’s give them a hug and a crock pot recipe. Because they are trying, just as much as we are.
And all we can do is our best.