I wanted to do a follow-up post to my “Coming Home” series about why I’m not at home, and why it doesn’t bother me.
Let me reiterate that I believe stay-at-home motherhood is a high calling for those who are called. But for those of us who haven’t been…well, let’s be honest, there can be some guilt related to thinking “I really should be home.” That is exactly why I advocate thoughtful and purposeful self-reflection.
So for those women struggling with working – or perhaps who are going through their own self-reflective process, I thought I would be transparent in my own.
I know these won’t resonate with everyone, but here are the reasons that I don’t feel guilty for working.
My household is taken care of. I don’t feel like home or husband suffer because I work. Our home is not chaotic, and while it’s not perfectly clean all the time I also know that it likely wouldn’t be any cleaner if I stayed home. Our meals all come from my kitchen rather than takeout, and all our bread comes from my oven rather than the grocery store shelf. I don’t allow myself to be stretched so thin by work that I don’t have time for such things to help bless my family. My work and income complement our home life rather than detract from it.
My son’s development is enhanced by his participation in daycare. Conlan happily and healthily separates from us. He gets to play with friends every day – and he LOVES his friends. When we say his prayers every night, he thanks God for each of his friends by name. I also think there’s something to be said for peer pressure in the areas of napping, eating, and potty-training. Win!
I’ve learned that I don’t care that I’m not his only teacher. A few months ago, I decided to get serious about teaching Conlan his alphabet. So I got out his letter magnets and easel, sat down with him, ensured he had my undivided attention…and then discovered that he already knew 13 of the 26 letters. And you know what? I didn’t care. I was thrilled! And proud! And I didn’t feel a bit cheated that I didn’t teach him half the alphabet. I’ve taught him other stuff, and will teach him plenty more throughout his life – starting with the remaining 13 letters.
I’ve realized that “firsts” are a process, not a moment. I didn’t miss Conlan’s first word, first crawl, or first steps. It’s because those moments aren’t real “events.” Baby babble becomes “dadadadadadadada” becomes “dada” which eventually morphs into an identifier for the person they come to know as Daddy. Conlan rolled over several times before he was two weeks old, mainly because he was mad about being on his belly. I was certainly there to witness that – but did I count it as his “first time rolling over?” Of course not! It was an accident. When he learned to walk he cruised, he stepped, he fell…a process of learning, correcting, practicing, and perfecting. Which steps where his “first?” I have no idea.
These are a few reasons I don’t feel I’m missing out or feel badly about working. Again, I recognize not everyone will feel the same. But I hope it can be a source of encouragement or a thoughtful guide for mommies going through their own reflection exercises.
Your own thoughts, insights, and responses are appreciated!