* note: I consider being a SAHM to be “work.” But for the purposes of this post, I am referring to “work” as separate from anything related to our children and spouses.
When I left my executive corporate life 6 months ago to have more flexibility for my family I was, quite honestly, at a loss. I felt like I had been driving a race car at 100 mph and was suddenly on a bicycle; I couldn’t shake the urge to maintain the speed but had lost the vehicle.
I was unable to relax, uncomfortable without the challenge of work. I’d worked (either as an employee or as a business owner) for 20 years, often working more than one job (In college I worked at Gold’s gym at 5am, then went to class, worked on campus in between my classes, followed by waiting tables at night… and my entire life has followed that pace). I now felt like I now needed to justify my path to absolutely everyone, including the grocery cashier (long, awkward conversation).
I quickly realized that I needed to turn my focus inward, to find my “why.” One marker of our spiritual maturity is our ability to take responsibility for our emotions as well as our actions… we must realize that this flame of “mom guilt” may be sparked by the opinions of others but can only be kept hot if we are tending to it. Once I looked in the mirror and set aside EGO in pursuit of IMPACT, I realized that whether I’m a “working mom” or “stay at home mom” is irrelevant as long as I am pursuing my purpose on this planet. Being a wonderful mom is not mutually exclusive of my working status.
Today, I consider myself a “Working Mom” because I am always creating; I love to find ways to manifest service to others. I loved this blog post written by Erica Fraser at www.mombreak.org because I connect to how she expresses her inner dialogue about being a mother who works. Like her, I also have a wonderful husband who is a very hands-on father to our children and the double-standard to which we are held is laughable (and by laughable I mean a passive-aggressive guffaw after which I give someone major side-eye).
Whether or not you’re a working mom, you should follow Erica on Instagram and make sure to watch her Insta-Stories… hilarious. And if you can relate to her post make sure to drop her a comment… because we are all in this together, regardless of how we are making it happen.
This post was authored by Erica Fraser and originally appeared on MomBreak.org on 08/12/17.
Published here with permission:
As a working mom, I get judged every day…and I’m so tired of it.
When I miss a play date for a work event, people say, “You’re working AGAIN?
When I check emails while my daughter plays independently, people scold me and tell me to pay attention to her.
When I’m away on a work trip, colleagues ask me who’s watching the baby?
When I don’t make an organic, kale-filled, balanced, and healthy meal from scratch because I worked until 4pm (an hour EARLIER than my male counterparts), people ask me “You’re feeding her THAT? You need to prioritize meals over work.”
When I signed up my daughter for daycare instead of staying home with her, people told me I’d regret it and that being a SAHM were the best years of their lives.
When people find out my husband is an equal caregiver, they celebrate him for being “the world’s best dad”.
So why, when I’m so proud of being a working mom, do people still judge me for it?
When I miss a play date for a work event, do other parents never miss play dates for personal activities?
When I check emails while my daughter plays, do other parents not surf their phones?
Who do they THINK watches my child while I’m away on trips? I don’t have house elves, so surprise, it MUST be her father. How WILL he ever survive without a woman to take care of the child?
Do the parents who make organic, kale-filled, balanced, and healthy meal from scratch somehow manage to get their toddlers to eat it? Don’t we all end up on a cheese and crackers diet anyways?
Why do people assume I’ll regret not staying home with her? What if I regret giving up my career?
Why does my husband get celebrated for “having a hard day at work” and then “watching her” (aka watching TV together) while I make dinner?
It just doesn’t seem fair.
I love my job and I love having something that I’m proud of outside of my family, and I’m tired of apologizing for it.
Would a man in my situation ever go through ANY of the scenarios above? NO WAY! It’s such a double standard and I’m exhausted from feeling guilty about every single decision I make about my career.
How much time do I need to spend with her for people to FEEL like I’m being an active parent? Is there a magic number that will make people eff off?
But more importantly, why is it different for mothers than fathers?
Sadly, I don’t have an answer but I know that we need to talk about it. We need to break the stereotype of working mothers so that women can excel in the workplace. We need to break the stereotype so that women stop feeling guilty about pursuing a career.
It’s OK to work and raise a child…we got this!