Yes, I know that some of you are probably freaking out a bit about the title of today’s post. I am not a fan of the Mommy Wars that, for whatever reason, are still going on today. I am a firm believer that each family makes the decisions in life that are best for them. I respect every opinion out there and I am confident all of my readers will do the same. I have been accused one too many times of being a bad parent because of my choice to continue on my career path after my children were born. What I have found on my motherhood journey is actually the exact opposite. Working has actually made me a better parent.
When my daughter was born, we were really not in a position where it was even an option for me not to return to work. As a result, I took three months of maternity leave and then went back to Corporate America. Honestly, those were some difficult three months. I loved the extra time that I got to spend with my precious bundle of joy, but I felt so disconnected from reality. While I was definitely kept busy with an infant at home, I did not feel fulfilled. As I am typing this, I realize how horrible that may sound. I love being a mommy and I would not change it for the world. However, I know for a fact that I am not stay at home mom material.
I have a lot of respect for stay at home parents. I know that each decision presents its own challenges. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I can relate with what you are going through. Working full-time does not make me a better mom than you. It makes me a better mom than the mom I would be if I chose to stay home.
Working makes me happy
I have always been one who needs an intellectual challenge and that is why I love working so much. When I am at work, I get to focus my energy on solving complex problems and thinking strategically. I love this aspect of what I do. It makes me feel fulfilled and have a sense of purpose outside of just being a mom. I know many of you probably feel just as fulfilled by not working. Not me. Working makes me happy.
I also love the social aspect of working with others. When I was home with my daughter I was so lonely. I needed to talk to someone about employment law or compliance issues. Heck, I would even settle for the latest office gossip! We are transplants, so I did not have the largest circle of friends when my children were younger. I would have been miserable being so isolated from others.
My kids are benefiting from me working
My kids both have personalities in which they really benefit from being around others their age on a regular bases. My daughter has a very strong personality and still sometimes struggles in social settings. My son is very shy and I am so glad he was able to come out of his shell prior to going to kindergarten. They are very well-rounded and I am not so certain they would be if they were not forced to come out of their comfort zone and be around other children at such a young age.
They both learned to read early and are very intelligent. I would like to chalk that up to good genes and excellent parenting, but I know their teachers had a lot to do with their academic success. They were exposed to so much prior to entering elementary school. They both learned sign language, Spanish, yoga and meditation. I would love to think that I would have exposed them to all of these experiences if I were home. However, I know that would not be the case. I am not a crafty person and my type A personality does not handle messes well!
I am more present and patient with my children
Considering I was a teacher prior to entering the business world, you would think that I would be a patient person. The truth is, I am not at all! I find myself losing my cool very quickly sometimes. I appreciate the time away from the kids to decompress. When I am home, I make a conscience effort to be present. If you are struggling with this, I encourage you to read Hands Free Mama. This was truly a life changing book for me. During the week, we do have to stick to a pretty tight schedule. However, we make plenty of time for fun. Remember, it is more about the quality of time that is spent with your children versus that quantity.
Now that both of my kids are in school, I will always be working in some capacity. Yes, I have days in which I wonder if I am making the right decision. However, I am confident that I am a much better mom because I work. I am sure that my husband would agree that I am a much better wife as well!