Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adequate: this BalancingMama's approach to home & work

There has been a lot of talk about at-home moms vs. working moms, especially given the Romney/Rosen backlash a week ago. What I do not understand is, why do moms insist on turning on each other?

Working vs. staying at home.
Breastfeeding vs. formula.
Babywearing vs. strollers.
Cloth diapers vs. disposable.

I have seen discussions like these turn into attacks, hurt feelings, and broken friendships. It hurts to see mothers judge each other so harshly. And for what result?

Mothers (and dads) everywhere have to make thousands of decisions as they walk the path of parenthood. Every family dynamic is different. Every mother is different. Every child has his or her own quirks and needs and wants. With the exception of a few truly rotten eggs out there, most mothers have infinite love for their children, and they want to give them the best of the world - and the best of themselves.

Her best may not be the same as your best.
And that is OK.

Often, I hear "you have the best of both worlds!" in regards to my part-time working, part-time at-home parenting. In some ways, sure, maybe I do. Or perhaps I have the most difficult part of each world instead? What I do have, is my own personal understanding of the challenges of each side of this parenting debate.

I feel like I do many things adequately, but not one thing really well. I am good at my job, but I have to set things aside numerous times each day to turn my focus towards Amelia. I miss in-office days regularly. I seem to be away from the computer just when someone has an urgent client need. I feel like the rope in a game of tug-of-war. Back and forth, back and forth. Work would be easier if I had full days to focus on those tasks alone.

When I am home with Amelia, we have fun moments. I am lucky enough to be able to spoil her with ice cream or shopping or playground fun in the middle of the week. I can kiss her boo-boos in person when she has a fall. But that pull is always there. Work does not pause while waiting for me to get back to the office. So Amelia hears a lot of, "not right now", "give me a minute", and "Mommy is working - go find something else to do". Parenting would be easier if I only had to focus on her needs.

I do the best I can. I work a bit, I in-person parent a lot. Would life feel easier if I made a decision and focused on just one of these roles? It seems like it would... but I bet new challenges would simply surface elsewhere. I think no matter what role we decide for ourselves, there is always a question in the back of our minds. Good mothers want to be great mothers; and being great means always striving for the best choice, the best situation. And being confident and proud of that decision.

Working mothers deserve to be proud of their accomplishments as well as their children. Stay-at-home-moms deserve to be proud of their accomplishments, their knowledge, and their children as well. Neither role is easy, and no one role is the right way. So why fight about it?

Let's not let our own worries become venom towards others. In this game of life, we can take different paths - and we can all win.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...