To the working mom: I am sorry for the times I would silently wonder how you could leave your children each day to go off to work. Why wouldn’t you want to be at home with them all the time? Someone else is getting all of the sweetest times of their life while you are missing out! ‘I can’t believe the extra money is worth all of that,’ I would think to myself. I should have known better. I should have never let myself forget what it was like before. But I did. And I am so very sorry.
For the past seven years, I have been a stay-at-home mommy. I have loved it. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I thought I was the craziest lady in the world for doing it. Moments when it seemed it would be so much easier to go to work in an office every day. But through the chaos, I honestly loved every minute of it (well, most of the minutes) anyway. It was something I felt called to do, and I have never regretted it for one second.
But you see, I haven’t always been a stay-at-home mom. I worked outside the home for the first five months after I had Daniel. I still remember those days. I would cry in the morning on my way to work- sad and guilty that I was leaving him with someone else. Of course I knew he was in good hands and with people who cared about him. But not like I did. Each day during lunch, I would drive to the daycare, shoving down a sandwich in the car as I went so that I could have that little bit of time with him. If he was napping, I would simply sit and watch, holding that sweet little hand until the last possible second. Daniel had some other challenges as a baby that added to the guilt and on top of that he also had a weaker immune system (which we still battle) and seemed to catch every sniffle and virus that came in the daycare door.
Finally, after a virus that landed us in the hospital for three days with dehydration, we decided that there had to be a way to make it work. After lots of talking and planning, and a whole lot more prayer, we made the leap. The Lord blessed me with the opportunity to do a little work from home that helped supplement the income I lost but as the years went by, that dwindled down. There were months that it was a struggle financially, but I wouldn’t take one moment back to have had a little more cash flow at the end of the month.
The past year and half has been a whirlwind for me and my family. We moved across the country to be closer to my family and in doing so, were forced to take a pay cut and to sell our house for much less than we had invested. After the first year in our new home, we made the decision to send me back to work full time to help get us financially back on our feet. It wasn’t an easy decision. We had grown very accustomed to having me at home, and it was hard to decide to give that up. But our youngest was starting pre-k and with neither of them being at home anymore it seemed a good time to make the transition. I never realized how much I would still be missing! When my son asks me to come eat lunch with him at school or my daughter asks me to come with her on her field trip to the pumpkin patch. The pit of my stomach gets pulled into a tighter knot when I have to say, “Sorry, honey. Mommy has to work.”
I remind myself that there are others out there in the same situation. Mine are not the only ones who have had to have these conversations. But it doesn’t help. I remember the way it felt those years ago dropping off Daniel at daycare and the way it must have felt to you as well. I am in that ship again, and time has not made it any easier. And then I think of you. The mommies who have been doing this all these years. The ones who have dealt with that knot for so long, knowing it was the only way and I empathize. There have yet to be enough hours in my day and I am assurred by other working moms that there probably won’t ever be. ‘You will find your way. Learn to focus on the most important and let the other things slide when you can’ is the most common answer. It is in reflecting on those words that the pangs of guilt for the way I have judged those mommies come the strongest. I let myself forget how hard it is, and now, I am living it out again. Most of us don’t work because we don’t want to be with our children. Most of us do it for our children. Because part of taking care of them, is providing a roof over their heads, food in their bellies and clothes on their backs. So to those other mommies, again I say, ‘I’m sorry.’
I’m sorry for thinking that since you went off to work each day you somehow must have loved being a mommy less than me when in reality you were taking care of your family in the way you needed to when more than likely you would have loved to have been home snuggling on your sweet baby. I’m sorry allowing myself to feel somehow more of a mom because I stayed at home. And I am sorry for not realizing your true worth and all that you sacrifice each day for your family. It took me truly stepping into your shoes to get there, but here I am now.
I also want to say thank you. Thank you to those who have been there for me through this transition period. Thank you for allowing me to share my struggle with you while you listen with a knowing look and a kind smile. Thank you for encouraging me to keep trying and assuring me that it will get better. Thank you for your friendship and camaraderie in this crazy new world. Without it, I would be sunk. I used to think there was a difference in a mom who stayed at home and one that worked outside the home. Now I know, there is only one kind of mom- the kind that loves her children unconditionally.
I wish you all a Life Full of the blessings you deserve,