Just a quick note to thank you all SO much for your kind and encouraging words on Friday's post. It is one of the most important posts I've written in a long time, and your response gave me a new energy and passion for this season of my life. More than that, I LOVE that we really have a community here that is about being positive and lifting each other up regardless of the life stage or situation we are in. You all are such a blessing in my life! Really.
In true ironic form, after a weekend spent on a working-mom high, I woke up today to a VERY messy house and a sick boy crying for his "maaaaama". :( Jeff is home with Sam, and I know they are FINE; but it absolutely broke.my.heart to leave for work this morning. (And, it didn't help that when I got here I felt like my students just stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language for 90 minutes.) Rest assured, not every day is butterflies and rainbows around here, and God is quick to keep me humble! :)
Anyway, I tried to respond to some of the comments in the thread, but I also thought of a few other little points I wanted to make after hearing some of your responses etc. so I thought I'd just get them all out here... I hope you will oblige me for one more day (and forgive the bullet-ted list format).
- I had NOT read Matt Walsh's controversial blog post about stay-at-home moms when I wrote my post. I actually saw a link to it (for the first time, believe it or not) about ten minutes after I hit 'publish.' SO, this was not meant to be, in any way, a response to him. To be honest, I didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about all that he had to say, but my initial reaction was nothing more than "I love how this guy supports his wife." Beyond that, I generally agreed with everything he had to say. I think he is absolutely right that stay-at-home moms are doing a HUGELY important and meaningful job, and I think anyone who legitimately asks what they "do" all day is a total fool (and one who has obviously never tried to keep an infant fed or a toddler safe for a full day alone). End of story. More than anything, I just couldn't relate... Although I certainly know the feeling of having to defend my choices as a mom (even if only to myself); in my particular community, I feel like the stay-at-home mom is typically more glorified, and it is the working mom that gets judged or condemned (more on that below). Basically, I think it's just one of those "the grass is always greener" or "woe is me" things that we women are cursed with... So, in conclusion, as a working mom, I don't feel hated or inferior after reading Matt Walsh's post. Mostly, I thought he kind-of undermined his most important message - that we as a society need to SUPPORT mothers instead of criticizing them - by becoming too aggressive, and perhaps a little extreme; but, I think his intention was, overall, good.
- I failed to mention how incredibly grateful I am for the particular working mom situation I have. I realize that not every profession allows you to be home by 3:00, have two months off in the summer, and get extended vacations for all major holidays etc. I grew up with an incredibly passionate (and amazing) elementary school teacher as my mom; so, to be honest, that's really all I know. That's not to say that teaching is an easy job (I assure you, it is NOT), but I don't take for granted the fact that it allows me to have some of the best of "both worlds." (Also, note that we have a WONDERFUL support system of grandparents/aunts & uncles/ and baby sitter that make this whole thing A LOT easier for us.)
- As some of you remarked, I think the key to the whole Working Mom thing is doing something you LOVE. My first year after Sam was born, I took on the role of School Testing Coordinator because I thought it would be a better match for that particular life stage. While I don't regret that decision, at all, I ultimately decided that doing something I wasn't passionate about was NOT worth being away from Sam all day and switched back to the classroom. I think the situation becomes a lot more sticky and (frankly) a lot more difficult when a mother is 'giving up' time with her children to do something she doesn't care about or even like. I know there are women that have to do that, and THAT breaks my heart. I DO NOT judge those moms, I just hate it for them. (I hope that comes across the way I want it to... #nervous)
- It is absolutely worth pointing out that in my specific community, I do not have a lot of contact with/examples of working moms. I don't know if there is a reason for this - the region maybe? my faith? - but I definitely think it affects the way I feel about my position. I think any time our decisions are different from the "norm" it brings out insecurities in us and makes us feel judged even when we really aren't. I've talked to several real-life friends who stay at home full time and know almost no-one else who does, and they feel equally as misunderstood or ostracized at times.
Ok, I promise I'm wrapping this up soon.
- Any time I write something like this, I have this fear that my situation will change and y'all will think I'm inauthentic or something crazy. I hope this goes without saying, but I firmly believe that I am doing what is best for my family RIGHT NOW. God has done much crazier things than call someone away from a job they love if that is his plan. I try, in general, to live in a place of contentment where I am, but not holding on too tightly to it (i.e. being open to God's calling no matter what it is and even if it isn't what I would have chosen). All that to say, I am taking this one day/year at a time and, although I have plenty of ideas or plans for myself, have no idea what the future might hold.
- I realized also that I never really explained my decision to go back to work full time after teaching part time last year... To keep the story really short - although (in theory) it was really nice to get off at 11AM every day, anyone that has ever been a teacher (especially one with three different & advanced preps) knows that my day NEVER ended then. What I had hoped would be afternoons spent playing with Sam and taking care of our home, really turned into Sam napping and me doing school work for three or four hours a night. I didn't resent any of it (mostly), and I'm not sorry that I did it for that year; but, when my school was able to offer me another arrangement that still gets me home before Sam wakes up from his nap most days and doesn't include a lot more prep/out of school work, I jumped at the opportunity. Make sense?
- To the work-at-home mamas out there, YOU ARE AMAZING! Seriously, I don't know how you do it! I have a hard time keeping up with teaching two online classes in the summers when I am home with Sam and that's with the help of grandparents, friends, etc. to help with Sam so I had actual time to work on it. (P.S. If any of you are interested in contributing a guest post for this series, please email me!)
Ok. Enough. Geez Louise I have a lot to say on this topic... It's like I get started, and I just can't stop. Thanks for hanging with me on this! I'm so glad we've opened this dialogue and SO excited to see where it is going... Keep on keepin on mamas!
*Check back around noon for the first in my "Making It Work As a Working Mom" guest post series. #cantwait