Dear Brand New Mom,
Now that your baby is here, you may be needing to make a decision about returning to work. For some, there is no choice – finances dictate you must find a childcare solution and get back to it. For some, the decision is laden with pros and cons, discussions and anxiety over the choice. For others, the natural decision comes to them as they find their fit as a mother. For others still, they reach a decision, only later to change their mind.
It doesn’t matter which role you wind up with (SAHM, Working mom, Part time working mom) – it seems you will be judged for it. It’s hard to imagine that you will need an arsenal of reasons why you are doing what you’re doing. Family, friends, even spouses may not understand your choice. You may not even feel confident in your choice. There will be times you wish you could do the opposite of what you are doing.
There are plenty of stereotypes that fuel the fire in the never ending “my choice is better than yours” battle. What you need to know is that it’s YOUR life. You need to do what’s best for you and your family. As the adage goes: the grass is never greener on the other side; it’s only green where you water it.
I could fill a page with the negative comments I hear and read about these choices, here are just a few:
“How can you handle staying home all day with them? I’d go crazy.”
“How can you let someone else raise your child?”
“Those stay at home moms have it so easy in their sweat pants and pony tails.”
“Man, I wish I could get away for a quiet adult-only lunch for a half an hour.”
When you start to feel defensive, or judgmental, or unsure of your own choice, remember that every mom you meet has had their own struggles with figuring out where they fit as a mom, society member and woman. The career-driven mom is not sacrificing her baby for her own gain. The stay at home mom is not sacrificing herself for her children. The mom working to make ends meet isn’t less deserving of the opportunity to be a mother. The mom who works part-time isn’t necessarily feeling satisfied with the time they can commit to doing both.
It’s a tall order, but strive to be a mom who is confident in your position in your family, society, and within yourself. Let’s value moms for who they are, not what they do. Find people who help you feel that way, even if it means letting go of friendships that no longer meet your needs.
A Mom Who’s Been There
P.S. For this article, I’m focusing on the moms…but I know that the dads face similar struggles!
About the Author
Jen Winckler is a Newborn PEPS leader in Snohomish County. She is a stay at home mom (aka. Volunteeraholic) to two boys, ages 9 and 7, and is still trying to navigate the constant curve balls that parenting dishes out. She used to dread the minivan driving soccer mom title, but has come to love watching her boys play their hearts out (and did sell the minivan as soon as they could open their own doors without banging the car in the next stall).