This week I had the awesome privilege of catching up with a former co-worker. During our conversation, she expressed a desire to stay home with her children and an overwhelming sense of discouragement, convinced that full-time employment prevented her from being the mom she longed to be.
I understand. Up until Baby #3 I worked full-time.
I understand having to rely on others for help, the pressures of finding an amazing (affordable + trustworthy) nanny, and a full-day, loving preschool. I understand the guilt that accompanies a sunrise drop off and a sun set pick up. And, in the same breath, I realize how fortunate we are that I can stay home with the kiddos.
It is a blessing.
I love it
…don’t get me wrong.
But, to be honest, when I was working outside of the home, I envisioned “stay-at-home life” as days filled with friends and their kids, manicures and pedicures, flowers, rainbows and such. Somehow the ideas of constant entertainment, teaching and rearing, sibling rivalry, laundry, chores, and days filled with adolescent interaction were not as exhausting as they most definitely are!
I used to feel guilty for leaving my child. Now, I feel guilty for wanting to leave.
It’s important to remember that leaving and staying are two very drastic ends of a spectrum. As mothers, we need a sense of balance! Day in and day out I have to remind myself that I am a Woman, I am a Wife, and I am a Mama. Each of these roles requires nurturing and respect.
Each day I must deliberately ask myself:
How am I appreciating myself as a woman? Am I taking care of my body (emotionally, spiritually, physically)? Am I exercising? Eating right? Cultivating relationships?
Am I a good wife? Am I meeting my husband’s needs? Physically? Emotionally? Dutifully (Yes, I said that!)? Is my man confident he is valued, respected, loved, and appreciated?
How am I doing as a Mama? Do my kids wake up every morning confident they are loved? Do my kids crawl into bed each night assured they are special, irreplaceable, treasured? Do I respect their personalities, encourage their strengths, and challenge their weaknesses?
Life is overwhelming.
On any given day I am happy to self talk about all the things I should have done better; about all the things I should not have done; about all the ways I should have reacted.
I cannot should all over myself! Don’t should all over yourself!
Take each day hour by hour. Some hours are better than others! Cover yourself with grace. YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB!!! And, if you royally suck one hour, make the next hour twice as good.
Pick yourself up and move on.
Ultimately, we need to support, love, and encourage one another towards greatness.
What a privilege it is to work both inside and outside the home. One works to provide shelter and one works to cultivate it, both work out of love for those they love.