There is an unspoken pact that women are supposed to follow. I am supposed to act like I constantly feel guilty about being away from my kids. (I don’t. I love my job.) Mothers who stay at home are supposed to pretend they are bored and wish they were doing more corporate things. (They don’t. They love their job.) If we all stick to the plan there will be less blood in the streets … The biggest lie and biggest crime is that we all do this alone and look down on people who don’t.
[Amy Poehler, Yes Please]
It’s days like these when I’m stuck in meetings after work and my kid is in daycare until 5:30 that I feel like I must be doing this all wrong. Like, what kind of mother would miss ten hours of a day that could have been spent on a playdate or snuggling on the couch or making that thing that’s all over Pinterest? I am definitely being passed up for Mother of the Year.
And then Amy Poehler wrote about being a working mom, and I wanted to high-five her. This whole “working mom” thing has been loaded with momma guilt for me since day one, and here’s this woman/mom/superstar shouting NO SHAME IN YOUR GAME, GIRL because none of us can do it alone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom or a young mom or an old mom or a robot mom– it takes a village, or else we’d all be hiding out in the laundry room eating our kids’ fruit snacks at the risk of pulling our hair out.
But I’m not saying those moments don’t come along once in a while regardless.
The village I’ve chosen to surround myself with might look different than yours, because the choices I’ve made for myself and my family might look different than yours. Not better or worse or right or wrong, just different. Part of me wishes I could be the kind of mom who stays home and does all of the crafts and makes Pinterest-worthy lunches, but a bigger part of me needs not to be.
Let me be clear– I love being a mom. It is the single greatest privilege. I love playing Fisher Price guitars and being his back-up singer and kissing boo-boos and helping him figure this big wide world out the best way I can (but don’t tell him I haven’t figured it all out myself because that would be breaking some kind of Mom Code, okay?). I love all of the things.
But I also love working. I love supporting my family (and not living in a cardboard box) and having conversations with adults. I love doing something with the degree I’ll be paying student loans for until I’m 85. And in the most selfish way imaginable, I love being something that is not “mom” or “wife” for a portion of the day and I don’t want to feel guilty about it because that part of who I am is important, too.
Your thoughts on this might look different than mine. Not better or worse or right or wrong, just different.
Pre-baby me really turned her nose up to the idea of “letting other people raise my kids” by sending them to daycare so I could go to work and be in late meetings, but here it is, you guys– it doesn’t matter who you are, other people are part of raising your kids. The friends and family who watch them so you can have a date night. The people you surround yourself with at church or on playdates or wherever. Your tribe.
I couldn’t be more thankful for my tribe, and let me just tell you, thank God for daycare. Daycare is awesome. Little person heaven, really. There are stories to read and crafts to do and friends to play with. There are amazing women who teach these tiny humans about letters and numbers and sharing. There are naps.
I try not to let the momma guilt get the best of me for being the president of the daycare fan club because Landon loves to go. I mean, really loves it. On the rare occasion that I’m home on a weekday, we sleep in and make pancakes and by 10AM he asks if he can go see his friends.
(Which could also mean I need to step up my Lego game.)
I could beat myself up about the time I’m missing. I could feel guilty for being the mom who works and sometimes takes her kid to daycare on snow days because for the love, I just want to clean the house and watch Dirty Dancing.
I could be grateful that we have two incomes that support our family. I could high-five Landon’s teachers and be glad that he’s growing and learning and loved by so many awesome people. I could give myself permission to be whatever kind of mom works for our family at the moment (working/young/non-robot) and you can, too, because we’re all just doing the best we can and trying not to eat all of the fruit snacks.