In the field I work in, many women get pregnant later on in life than others because they chose to get advanced degrees to further their career. After putting in several years for school and reaching a point in your life where you are somewhat financially stable, it’s hard to make the decision to walk away from that to stay at home with your child. But, sometimes what often comes with that decision is a feeling of GUILT. You feel that by being a working mom you are choosing your career over raising your child.
There are often comparisons with moms who choose to stay at home that causes you to doubt your role as a mother.
Lets be clear. Whether you are a career mom or stay at home mom, one does not make you a “better mom” over the other. We were all blessed with little bundles of joy that look up to us and call us MAMA. So lets be considerate of the sensitivity that may come from implying to a mother that she is less than because she chose to work or not work.
There are life decisions and personal circumstances that guide us in our journey to raising our children, including the decision to being a stay-at-home mom. Your finances, family life, and self dedication to being a stay-at-home mom all factor into that decision.
For me, I could be a stay at home mom, but that would probably come with us downgrading our current lifestyle. We would probably car pool more, live in a smaller home, cut back on cable and definitely not shop or eat out as much. Also there are these things that come every month called student loan payments, and they will not go away, even after you have a baby (hehe). So when I sat down and had the discussion with my husband, it was a no brainer for me that I wanted to work.
I enjoy the lifestyle that I have worked so hard to provide for myself and my family. I personally felt that I would not be the best mother to my child by being at home. Also I was blessed to have a mother who retired just so that she could watch her grandson everyday, so fortunately for us daycare costs were not a factor. There are definitely times that I miss my son while I am at work, but I love the independence that I have for myself and the financial flexibility I am providing for my family.
But it makes the time that I do have with him after work and on the weekends that much more precious.
For you, it may be the opposite. You may feel that you would not be the best mother to your kids by going to work. Or you may be in a situation where you have 2 or more kids and paying for daycare or after-school care wouldn’t make since because your entire paycheck would be going to daycare. Or going to work would put some other type of financial strain on your family. You may be the type of woman who feels that your calling is to stay at home right now and maybe go back to work after your kids get to a certain age in their life.
I have had several coworkers who either quit their job or never came back after maternity leave, and it was because they felt that their place at this point in time was at home, full-time with their children. And guess what? That’s okay. But it’s also okay to be that mama who cannot afford to stay at home with your kids or the mama who chooses to work full-time.
My point is, don’t beat yourself up or be too hard on yourself when you see women who get to be with their children all day. You don’t know their circumstances and they don’t know yours. It’s a decision that you and your spouse have to talk about and be on the same page about. In the meantime, lets lift each other up and be the best moms we can be to our little ones. Because at the end of the day we are ALL mamas and we are NEVER part-time when it comes to that.