Growing up, my mom was a full-time schoolteacher, a full-time mother with eight kids and a wife. Some women have the luxury of staying home to raise their children. Some women, like my mom, don’t have that luxury and have to go to work to help support their family. Some women have a choice to stay home and raise their children but CHOOSE to go to work. All of these scenarios are OK, and all moms doing their best deserve respect, not judgement. Motherhood is hard and feeling the weight of judgment from others can make it even harder.
I remember my mom working as a schoolteacher as well as taking on other jobs to help support our family. It was hard for her to leave her children, but it was a necessity. The majority of women in our community were stay-at-home moms/homemakers and my mom often felt judged for not fitting the mold that the other mothers fit into. They had the luxury of staying home, but my mom did not. Now that I’m a mother, I often think about how hard it must have been for my mother to face such judgment and continue to truck along and do what’s best for her family. My mom was always a patient and amazing mother and still is. I reflect on this often and think that we as women should encourage and support one another with any decision that is made when it comes to raising a family. We should not judge anyone for their choice, because we don’t know the tears and prayers that went into that decision. We don’t know the heartbreak some women face every day when they leave their children to go to work. We are often unaware of the depression some moms feel when staying home, making work a more suitable option for them. Being a stay-at-home mom is a wonderful job; it’s busy and very rewarding. It is also one of the hardest jobs a woman can take on. Going to work can bring a different sense of value as well as a whole set of difficult tasks including juggling a job and mommy duties. Trying to find the right balance between working and being home is a difficult task. Both staying home and going to work are praiseworthy options.
There’s often guilt that sets in for moms no matter what they choose. Usually, this guilt occurs because we love our children so much and we second-guess our decisions. Sometimes we feel guilty for leaving our children. Sometimes we feel guilty for not working and being able to contribute an income to help support our family. This guilt is unnecessary. I am here to say that it is not our place to judge one another. We should love and support each other. I am also here to say to the moms who work outside the home to try to let go of the guilt you often feel. I feel fortunate to have been able to stay home with my kids but at the same time, I have had a desire to follow my own passions which sometimes take me away from my family. I, too, am often subject to the mom guilt. If you’re a mom doing your best, pat yourself on the back and stop being so hard on yourself.