There’s been a trending meme and tweet going around recently that states “we expect women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work.” Holy crap does that resonate inside of my soul.
As a work at home mom I often get questioned about how I raise my kids and work. I schedule calls around nap time and babysitters because I am afraid that someone who doesn’t yet know me will be turned off if they hear my kids in the background. I avoid all day in-person meetings and jury duty because I am the sole caretaker of my kids during normal business hours and it’s hard to get a full day of coverage. I also don’t want to leave my kids for a full day while they are this little. Unlike a stay at home mom, I don’t do a single thing from 9am-5pm that involves house maintenance. Not one dish, no laundry, no cleaning. On Sundays I prep meals for lunch even though I am right next to my kitchen the whole week. And like a mom who goes to the office for the day, I scramble to get dinner on the table and get the kids to dance class on time. My attention is focused on raising my children and running my business. So how is my day that much different than a stay at home mom who is raising their children and working to keep a house clean?
Working moms should be considered the normal. It’s a very natural way to raise a kid. Think about it – women have never had time all day to simply sit on the floor and play with their kids. They used to be out in the fields harvesting food with kids strapped on their back.
Whether you are working to keep your household running smoothly, working at home with your kids, or sitting in an office behind a desk while your children are being taken care of elsewhere, you are doing what you need to do as a mom to support AND raise your kid. We should never have to choose to work OR raise children. For the moms who do wish to be with their kids more during the day but don’t have the flexibility with their job, I sincerely wish there was a better way.
I positioned myself to work from home to be around my babies at all times. I wish more companies would start to blur the lines and allow moms greater support and more choices for how they work and raise children. Maybe a mom who brings her child to the office the first year will have less “mom guilt”… less anxiety, less distraction because they won’t be worried about whether or not their choice to work instead of quit and stay at home is the right one. Or perhaps the ability to shift a job title for a year to a more flexible position, or having an on-site nanny or mom-funded day care center at your place of employment giving you the freedom to drop-in once an hour or every two to breastfeed, give a hug, or rock your baby to sleep for their nap.
Could you imagine what that would do for mom’s post-partum recovery and for baby’s development?
So hey, society, can we get a “way to go!” for all those working moms? And maybe a little creative thinking on the part of whatever company mom works for to allow her to make it work for a few years? It’s never been easy, but with the right support from the right people it’s certainly possible to be a successful (and happy!) working mom, setting a good hard-working example and raising children who will be successful contributing adults.