I simply can't hold back any longer. I have been meaning to do this post for awhile - and today of all days I am busting out with frustration so "no time like the present" to complete this post on parenting.
Last week, I headed off to work for one of my afternoon shifts. During shift change, I took report from another coworker and then began a side conversation (which often times happens). Our conversation went something like this...
Coworker: I won't be working very much longer - I intend to stop when I have kids.
Me: Oh really - Why?
Coworker: I want to be the type of mom who bakes for her kids, cleans, sews clothes and curtains, does crafts with my kids. I don't want to miss out on anything. I want to be the one who hosts play dates and interacts with my children. I can't wait.
*The conversation was a bit more detailed but you get the jist of it*
My immediate reaction was one of pure disbelief (for many reasons), but I politely finished the conversation.
Me: You know, you can do both. Our profession is flexible enough to where you can maintain a career and have a successful family if that is what you desire.
Coworker: I know, but I just want to be there with my kids - that's what I've always wanted to do. Oh wait - (with a long pause) your that kind of mom.
Not sure how to lead the conversation from there, I proceeded with caution. Realizing I was speaking to someone who was much younger than me with no children and recently married, I couldn't spew out my thoughts the way I wanted. The "fantasy" family versus the "reality" family is much different. Now in no way am I saying that you can't, shouldn't, or want to be the kind of mother that she described. Not at all, if that is your calling - than more power to you. I think we should all follow the path that we are called to take. But what I would caution you on is to not point fingers at those who choose a different path than you. I have the scripture saying on my sidebar that references passing judgement. There is not one single one of us who is worthy of standing up and passing judgement onto another - especially in the are of parenting.
I am a working mom - I get great satisfaction out of watching my children grow and develop, play and learn. Watching them learn to walk and talk is something I highly enjoyed. BUT, I also get an immense satisfaction about getting up and heading off to work with the population that I have chosen to work with. Pediatrics is a great area and the kids I have cared for I have also come to care about. I have had the privilege of doing some amazing things in my career - and I've only just started.
Because of the flexibility in nursing, I have been able to juggle both areas - home and work. Some days are easier than others - but I've been able to do it. I do not feel like I have missed out on anything. And for those out there who think that working mothers are "missing out" I would challenge you to point out what it is that I've been missing out on. I've been present at most holidays, watched both of my children take their first steps, been there during sick days, always attended family vacations, and have been fortunate enough to take part in a plethora of extracurricular activities. Besides, those things are not what define me as a mom.
Because my child attends every single birthday party she gets invited to, or she gets to participate in gymnastics, swimming, soccer, etc does not define me as a mom. Neither does cooking, sewing, art projects etc. None of that makes me a good mom. And none of that is what I use as a compass through this journey into parenting. Whether my meatloaf looks like turkey jerky (which it did last night) or whether my curtains are store bought - I know in my heart I am a good mom.
When I get to the gates of heaven, God will not be rewarding me for my clean house or my endless batches of cookies. He will not say "good work my friend - you made all your curtains from scratch." I am not defined by the things I do but rather by who I am. I am doing my best to raise Christ loving kids. And I can successfully do that(with God's help of course) while maintaining my career. Working moms are not evil and they are not lazy. We all make choices and we all do the best we can to raise our children to the best of our ability. Because lets face it - none of us know what we are doing.
Rambly post - YES. Feeling better - YES. In tears - YES.
Let's all just try a little harder to lesson the judgement passed onto others. Words are dangerous and they are hurtful. Parenting is hard enough but when you believe that you can constantly being judged for the decisions you make, it is even harder. Support and encouragement go a long way and that is what I've tried to do within my network of friends. I do not always agree with the decisions of other moms but what is right with them is not always right for me.
SOOOOOOO - with all of that being said, I definitely need to kick it in gear and get ready for my little Mattea's preschool program this evening (Which for the record I'm not missing out on - even though I am a working mom).
Blessings to all