Lately I have been having an internal struggle, and I just can’t seem to reach a conclusion yet. I have been thinking about my full-time job, looking at this life I am trying to build as a writer and entrepreneur, and have been mulling over our monthly expenses – all in an attempt to figure out if I should continue working outside of the home or staying at home with my kids. Any mom who’s ever had this struggle knows exactly what I am dealing with. It is not easy.
When I have this discussion I am very careful about my word choice, because there is something I think most people get confused about. I don’t refer to moms working outside of the home as “working moms” because I can tell you from personal experience that it is all work – no matter how you slice it. When my son was born I stayed at home with him for a year and a half. It was tough. When I went back to work, it was still tough. It was just different.
I think one of things that I have realized while I struggle to make this decision is how guilty moms tend to feel about things – about everything. Yet, there really is no need for guilt. If you know what lies in your heart, and it’s nothing but love for your kids, the guilt needs to step aside and give you room to thrive as a mom and a woman.
Do you work a demanding job and you love it?
Do you stay at home with your kids and have days where you just can’t take them anymore?
Are you a little excited (maybe even a lot) if you have to take a business trip because you get to sleep in a hotel bed alone and wake up when you want to?
Do you have days when you yell at your kids because, quite frankly, you feel like crap and you just aren’t in a good place?
Do you feel like you need the fulfillment of a career to be a great mom?
Do you have no desire to work outside of the home or even from home, because raising your kids provides enough fulfillment?
Do you home school your children and you love it?
Does the thought of homeschooling seem unappealing, and you’d rather send your kids to school?
Do you work just for the paycheck, but your hate your job?
Listen, if any of these things ring true for you, let me assure you that none of it determines if you are a good or bad mom. What determines that is whether or not your choices are truly in the best interest of your children and your family. If doing things a certain way gives you a level of fulfillment that ultimately makes you a better mom, go for it. Because, at the end of the day, if you are unhappy and unfulfilled, you really won’t be much good to your kids. They will sense your sadness, even if you never say a word about it. It really is okay to think about your own needs, too, because doing that doesn’t just benefit you – it benefits your kids.
I am hoping to figure out what’s right for my family in the next few months. As I move towards a decision that works best for us, I know one thing for sure. I won’t let anyone make me feel guilty about what I decide to do. I love writing, I love being an entrepreneur, and I love the professional fulfillment that comes with it. I just need to figure out how to balance it all. But trust me when I say that my kids know, without a doubt, that I love them deeply and that loves always drives my decision-making.