I can still remember the comments I got when we announced we were pregnant with twins after years of infertility. Of course, everyone assumed I would simply abandon my career and stay at home to raise them. What so many didn’t understand was that I absolutely loved my job. I loved going to work, and I wasn’t ashamed that I had dreamed of having a career and being a mom simultaneously. It wasn’t about being able to earn enough money to stay home. Working for me was something I did because I loved the people and the job.
I can remember telling myself that I wasn’t a good mom because I wasn’t with my boys all day every day. I felt bad that I didn’t go on play dates to the coffee shop or to reading time at the library. My kids didn’t have lunches packed with peanut butter and jelly cut into fun shapes or toys sorted into containers labeled with kid friendly photos. I did not wear a supermom logo – that is for certain.
But here’s what I’ve come to realize. During those years when I worked full time, I wasn’t any less of a mom. In fact, in many respects, I was more engaged. Because I wasn’t with the kids all day, when I was with them at night, I made a point of being “with” them. I wasn’t busy trying to arrange play dates or find a sitter, because I hadn’t already spent the majority of my day with them. In the 4-5 hours at night before bedtime, I was anxious to spend time with them.
Due to some medical complications with one of my children, I did decide to transition to part time work a few years ago. While I have enjoyed so much being home more, I can’t say that I am any better of a mom because I am home more. I chuckle now at the years I struggled with feeling like if I just was home full time, then I would be a better mom. You know, a June Cleaver type of mom. I beat myself up for not “wanting” to stay at home.
Having been on both sides of this fence, here’s what I’ve learned. Whether you work full time, part time or not at all outside the home, you still have to consciously choose to be a good mom. It’s easy to adopt the “grass is greener” mentality. Good moms, chose to be good moms. Period. It’s not about if you work or don’t work. Being a mom is hard. It requires continual sacrifice. It means that when we’d rather curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee, or finish up that work project that is due first thing in the morning, or, or, or… that we have to prioritize. We have to adjust and organize. We have to chose to look away from our iphones, from Facebook, and our blogs, and whatever else screams for our attention. And we have to choose to look into the eyes of our child. We have to choose meaningful conversations and intentional one on one time.
I don’t know if anyone out there is struggling with this right now, but it is heavy on my heart today. If you are working full time and beating yourself up for not being a “good” mom, STOP IT! You are a good mom! You’re a great mom! Chose today to spend less time worrying about if you are a good mom, and more time rejoicing in the things you are doing well. Jesus is watching, and smiling. He see’s you and how hard you are trying, and would never tell you that you aren’t good enough. It’s not the quantity of time alone that shapes our kids, it’s the quality of time. Working moms, you are good moms!