I saw something this week that kind of put me into a tailspin. I was reading a woman’s blog and on her ‘about me’ section she described herself as a “proud stay at home mom”.
It’s a simple statement, really, so I don’t know if it was the tough day I had with Vi or Andy studying all night, but it put me into deep (maybe too deep) of thought. I realized that not only am I not a proud stay at home but an ashamed one.
Earlier this week I threw out my back while trying to calm down Vi and I went to get a massage. On the questionnaire it asked me my occupation. Before, when filling out one of these generic forms I would kind of smile to myself when writing down anchor/reporter. I was proud of it. This time, I was embarrassed.
Why? I’m not sure. I’ve never looked down on stay at home moms. But I have this feeling (whether right, wrong or somewhere in between) that some find this life decision not only outdated but lazy. Phrases that I’ve heard people say when talking about stay at home moms, like, “You have a college degree, use it” echo in my brain.
I’ve never described myself as a Type-A personality or perfectionist, but at work I was. I would always grab that extra interview (even if it was 2 hours before air time, the drive time alone would take nearly an hour and oh…I was 9 months pregnant) I lived for exclusive interviews and met with potential sources on my days off. I wanted to be the best.
Now, that part of me is maybe not gone, but definitely on hold. There is no competition when it comes to being a mom…at least not for me. It comes with challenges of course (trust me, a lot this month) but my whole life I feel like I’ve been competing to be the best. In high school it was to be the best singer, in college it was the best in my major…and now?
I know life is not about being the best, but about giving your best. I know that my family needs the best I can give them. Right now, for this year, I know that means holding down the home front.
Here’s where I feel part of the problem lies for me: I never felt a calling to be a stay at home mom. My mom told me once when I was in high school that all she ever wanted to do in life was be a wife and mother. I have a lot of friends that feel this way, but I never have. I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mother, but not a homemaker. I know this sounds cheesy, but I felt a calling to be a journalist. I knew from the time I was 11 years old that’s what I wanted to do.
But, is that still my calling? The thought of going back to the grueling news grind, makes me shudder at the moment. The thought of Vi spending more time with a nanny then she does with her parents also doesn’t sit we’ll with me.
Sweet Andy tells me that I need to give myself a new title, something like: Family Chief Operating Officer. He makes me laugh, but on a serious note he tells me that what is best for our family is having a happy mom.
I’m happy to say that with the exception of this week, I’m very happy. I actually love staying at home, but I can’t shake this feeling that it’s not enough. Maybe I just care too much about what others think or maybe I’m having this feeling because I won’t be complete without work. Or maybe it’s because we are only here for a year so taking a year off just made sense. Maybe when it comes down to a real choice…to stay home or go back to work…maybe then I can call myself a proud working mom or a proud stay at home mom because then I will be choosing a path for specific reasons.
What I do know, is that I love being with Vi and being able to take care of Andy in a way that I’ve never been able to before. Now, I just have to figure out what’s going to make me happiest long term.
For now I pray for clarity and refer myself to trusty Proverbs.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”