I was searching for the words over the weekend to share something that I was not sure if I should even share at all. Then, the more I thought about it the more it became clear to me that I had to. Because sometimes the very thing thing we went through, are the very things that someone else is going through. This is the time that we may have a word, which may help and assist someone else who’s going through something similar, even if just by letting them know that they are not alone.
As mothers, we are often criticized when we take on careers outside of being a housewife or a stay at home mom. Sadly, this criticism comes from other women and mothers sometimes. Even more sad, it can come from people that we are close to or share a past with.
These careers may come with the requirement of travel, where you are away for up to a 2-weeks period. It may come with the requirement of attending weekly events or conferences and being out until 10 P.M. on some evenings reporting on them (if you are in journalism) It may require that you have an after-school program in place for your child to attend, as you are not able to pick him/her up from school every-day. It may require moving away altogether, when the situation is that you are a mom with a portion of responsibilities that require you to accept work out of town, to meet the terms of those responsibilities.
For some 1930’s reason, there are many people who still think that women who do not stay at home with their children or are not able to be with their children everyday are less than worthy of being called a “good mom” whether it was by their own choosing or force through minimal options available which would have otherwise allowed them to stay at home with their children all the time.
Perhaps we should examine the meaning of the phrase “good mom”
Does she love and care for her child? Does she show and tell her child that she loves him/her? Does she provide for her child? Does she show her child that she has a vested interest in his education and success? Does she teach her child right from wrong? Does she instill values in her child and build moral? Does she support her child in ways that show her child that she is devoted to his/her mental and emotional needs? Does she feed her child and make sure he/she is eating healthy? Does she clothe her child and make sure he/she is clean and groomed? Does she listen to her child? Does she engage in bonding activities with her child?
So, she does all the above, but she happens to also work.
Does her child have an age appropriate understanding of why his/her mother works and that mom must work, to continue to provide the most basic thing that he/she need for survival? IE: Food. What about shelter? She must provide that as well, right? What about the things that go into that shelter and the things that are needed to maintain that shelter, such as electricity, gas and water. What about the additional things that are needed for the child, such as Shoes and Clothes. What about all that fun stuff he/she wants to do on the weekend? IE: The Movies, The Trampoline Park, Chuck-E-Cheese?
So, again… she has done all of this and makes it clear to her child as she re-iterates the importance of her having to work. Wouldn’t you say that’s a pretty good mom? If theability to do all of these things exist, and are being done…. I’d say she’s nailing this mom thing.
So why is it that people only concern themselves with the “picture” or the “image” of a good mom only being one that is with her child every day? What does it mean when someone says that you are “not there for your child” when you are doing all the above?Sidebar -RE: Divorced Parents – Have you factored in the naked truth that when a child is assigned to live primarily with one parent, it can be relatively impossible for the other parent to physically be there every day? And that is far from saying that someone is not there for their child, when they aren’t being allowed to. I think this is something that parents, men and women, should consider, as well as those who are judging the situation.
What I think people in the world often do to one another that is so wrong, is that they make you feel forced to make them understand why you have made every decision you have made in your life. Your responsibility is not to make them understand. But if it doesn’t make sense to them or if they “think” they would have done something differently, they can’t accept it. It’s unfortunate, because the way that they deal with the inability to understand is then to criticize.
This is what I say to mothers and career women: You should not consume yourself with trying to appease everyone with an explanation about why you have chosen to live your life the way that you are living it. It’s your story for a reason and everyone will not understand that. You may be on a different path than they are. You have a separate set of circumstances. Your destiny is not the same as everyone around you, and so your journey will not be the same.
Whether you are a stay at home mom, a career mom, a mom who does it all, a recently divorcee, a mother who’s going through the most trying time in her life… don’t let anyone tell you that you are a bad mother for doing something differently from what they would have done.
1. Don’t allow people to steal your joy by making you feel guilty about the healthy decisions that you have made in your life.
2. Don’t be afraid to take that job, embark on a new career which may require travel. People are going to have something to say, regardless. (If you did not work, they would talk about that too)
3. You are not leaving your child. You are a great mother. You are a mother who is making yet another sacrifice for your child. You have demonstrated this to the one person who matters… your child.
4. Don’t set expectations high for anyone to see this. People will discourage you. They will try to break you down. They will tell you that you are wrong. They will judge you.
5. Don’t be afraid to love and be loved. Don’t feel guilty about loving or being loved. Sometimes people will not applaud this. It won’t sit well with people who are not rooting for you to love or be loved.
But for everyone that is telling you that you wrong, there are more that will tell you that you are right. Sometimes in putting your child first, you must make that move. You must cultivate a healthy life so that you are healthy for your child and so that you can consistently provide a healthy environment for him/her.
I absolutely loved the time I was able to stay at home with my child even though I was a single mother. I chose assignments that did not require me being away from him at all. I chose assignments where I could bring him along with me. I incorporated mommy-hood/parent-hood into my career. But those were the options I had at that time in my life. As your child gets older, things change. The need to change his diaper every 4 hours dies out. The need to warm his bottle, rock him to sleep, and feed him will begin to fade. As the need to do those things dissipate, the need to do more will materialize. His needs are different, so quite naturally we adjust with the times to ensure that those new needs are being met. My child is older now and in school, he’s more independent and able to speak for himself. If we are maximizing the time that we do have with our children in loving them, caring for them and supporting them, we are all good mothers. You are a GREAT MOTHER.