To the working mama who struggles with regret…
Many of us hold a belief, whether we like it or not, that good moms don’t work.
You’re a better mom if you don’t send your child to preschool.
You’re a better mom if you homeschool.
You’re a better mom if you make your own laundry detergent.
You name it, we blame it.
The belief behind this is that working in itself is selfish.
The belief that working is for me, and not for my baby.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had to pick this lie apart. I still do, from time to time, even still.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom. My mother-in-law was a stay-at-home mom. So, that’s what good moms do, right?
I’ll never forget the moment when I went back to work after maternity leave. I sat in front of my first client in month- and I was practically giddy…. even though I was exhausted. Oddly fulfilled, yet excited to rush home and rock my baby to sleep.
In that moment, I realized that I’m actually a better mom because I do work.
Many workdays, I couldn’t wait to rush home and pick up my baby. Yes, the night feedings were hard, knowing that I would have to work the next day. Yes, I despised the commute and sometimes dreaded meetings that went too late.
Yes, I did and still do feel, at times, spread way too thin.
However, having adult conversations, crushing goals, and fulfilling my intellectual needs helped to me not look for those needs to be met elsewhere. And, I’ve not looked to my children to meet these needs.
I can honestly say that I’ve never resented motherhood. And that’s because my babies very much are in my life— but they’re not my whole life
And, that’s a very good thing.
I have tons of friends that are stay at home moms and balance this quite well.
But this wasn’t me. And, I can’t be someone that I’m not. So, I decided to stop trying to be someone else. But, maybe I’m the mom I’m supposed to be.
Today, years later, (now that I have a seven-year-old and an 11-year-old), I can’t wait to hug them and talk to them about their day. My time with them feels more precious, ice cream cones taste even better, and their failures don’t cancel out my successes.
Because for myself… I take none of it for granted.
In my identity is not placed in solely my children. My identity is not solely placed in my husband. My identity is not solely placed in my career.
Perhaps the best part is that my identity is based in many precious baskets with precious eggs.
None of which are taken for granted.
Mama, I know you may struggle with regret. But, if you do, ask yourself this question:
Is it possible that I might be a better mom because I do work?
The answer might surprise you.
Hugs to all the working mamas out there. We hear you. We see you.
-Rachael H. Elmore, MA, LCMHC-S, NCC
SUBSCRIBE TO THE CARRY™ ALL
The weekly newsletter for and by working moms.