1.28.2015

An open letter to all moms

I have been sitting on this post for awhile as I attempted to wrap my head around my feelings. But after some prayer and reflection, I decided yes, I am going to write to all moms. This was stirred from a comment I received at a birthday party darling daughter attended this past Saturday. I was talking to the some of the other moms and was told once again how easy I have it that I am a working mom.

Dear Moms,

First, as a mom myself I want to stress that becoming a mom changes things....in so many wonderful ways but sometimes it can be tough. This is the case for every single mom. I will never say any one mom has it easier than another mom. We each have our own hurdles to overcome whether we are a stay at home mom or a working mom. The grass is never greener on the other side.

Second, as moms we should strive to raise each other up, to support one another, and to express words of kindness. It really does take a village to raise a child.

With that said, I want to tell you a bit of my story as a working mom because I am often told "how easy" I have it since I can get out of the home and away from kids, etc. I think I know where these comments stem from -- the opportunity to talk adult-to-adult but in all reality, that can happen in all avenues of life. But I get it, every mom needs a break from time to time I just find it ironic that my "break" is going to work.

The first time I had to leave darling daughter behind and go to work my heart was crushing. My younger sister was in town to help the transition. My first work day was only 4 hours instead of 8 hours but it was the longest 4 hours in my life. I chose to breastfeed and darling daughter was refusing bottles with breast milk. My darling was not eating while I worked. My hope was that this would be resolved in the week my sister was in town but it didn't. Darling daughter was a stubborn one.

Dear hubby ended taking a month off of work (except he worked on weekends) as we decided we didn't want to send darling daughter to daycare until she was accepting a bottle. It took another week or two for her to do so. I cried every day on my way to work, I spent countless hours on the phone with the pediatrician who assured me darling daughter would not starve, I nursed like crazy at night when darling daughter played catch up on her diet, I pumped as much as I could at work, and I counted the minutes until I could get home to her. Thankfully she was with family.

Then it was time to start daycare and I had to get used to new people taking care of my gem. I started checking out places while I was pregnant so at least I knew the staff and had many visits with darling in and out of my tummy. Ms. Ada was a gem! But we had to work in the additional $600+ a month for day care for two days a week, which meant dear hubby worked weekends and we NEVER had a family day off together. This work schedule continued until darling daughter was 4 years old. That is a long time to go just seeing your husband at night but it was worth it to ensure darling daughter had as much time with family as possible...but our marriage paid the price and two years later, we are still striving to recover and get back to where we were.

It is tough because many times it is like we are two single parents living in the home. I am up dark and early to get to work so I can get off in time to pick darling daughter up from school. Before I leave in the morning I put away clean dishes, start coffee for dear hubby, start my hot tea, make breakfast or write a note for darling daughter depending on if she is awake, and get her school lunch ready. I used to make her breakfast too but she has that down now. Dear hubby just needs to get her dressed and in the car. After work I put away the next batch of clean dishes (thankfully dear hubby usually washes the breakfast dishes and his late night snack dishes), make lunches, make dinner, ensure darling daughter gets her homework done, squeeze in exercise to keep me sane, and ensure we have mommy-daughter cuddle time. We also have pets to feed, plants to water, and chores to be down. Saturdays are major chores and errands days as I strive to leave Sundays, our family days, as open as possible but alas, Sundays are full of food prep and many times, more yard work or laundry. We just try to do it as a family as most nights by the time I see dear hubby I am wiped out. If I manage to get darling daughter to bed early we may have an hour alone together.

As a working mom I miss out on a lot. Joining the PTA was fruitless as the meetings are at 8:30 am and I am at work. I can't help out in the classrooms and I am unable to chaperone. Fortunately in preschool the teachers gave me stuff I could do at home to feel I was giving back. This isn't the case anymore. Teachers want helpers in the class so they have an extra set of hands. I get that. I do. But I still miss a lot and when I strive to get to some things, like award ceremonies, it means taking time off of work. Furlough days actually become blessings in disguise. If I can't be paid for a day I might as well use it to see award ceremonies or to be off on school vacation days. Thank God my company has limited furlough days but does let me use them where I need them.

No school days are a juggle and dear hubby and I go back and forth using our vacation days to stay at home with darling daughter. We both want to do this and it can be a "fight" for who gets what day. But it also means, vacation days are used up for routine care versus going somewhere....but then, we really don't have much disposable income for that. We live on Maui, the cost of living is high, and we must consider that our "vacation".

As a working mom I have also had to lower my standards. My furniture may stay dusty longer than it should, the floor may need to swept and vacuumed, the laundry may be piling up, and the mirrors may be spotted and blurry. I live in orderly chaos. As a tidy person by nature, and perhaps a bit compulsive, this is hard to bear personally but priorities have to take place. I put more weight on cooking a home cook meal versus sweeping the floor. Yes, the floors will get cleaned, the tub scrubbed, and laundry put away...somewhat. I have accepted that darling daughter may not keep things folded in her drawers but if the shirts are in the right drawer, I am happy. Beds are half-made with covers folded down since that is what I can get dear hubby and darling daughter to do in the mornings but the sheets are always cleaned as they should be.

Stay at home moms, yes, you may miss being in an office full of adults and adult conversation but trust me, you won't miss the office politics and I envy you that you may have an easier time going to your kids performances in that you don't have to put in a vacation request each and every time. But I feel you work just as hard as me. Perhaps some of the things I let go to the wayside are a bit more tidier in your house...or not. Perhaps you have some extra time to do home schooling, bake for your kid's class, or join play groups....or not. Perhaps you are just like me in feeling that some days you are hanging on by a thread struggling to get everything done. In all reality, I think that last sentence describes us all. As moms, we are always striving to do the best we can to take care of our families and that is what unites us. We are all doing our best and I am certain many of us are feeling we are not doing all we could or should and perhaps, we are looking over at that other mom and thinking the grass is a bit greener over there. It isn't.

Love and hugs to all moms!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for darling daughter and dear hubby.
Daily Bible Verse: And so train the young woman to love their husbands and children. ~ Titus 2:4

7 comments:

  1. Great post! Truly, I find it sad that in 2015 we still need to have this conversation. Like you said, we should all be supporting one another--not judging one another's choices. It is hard in some way for all, but for all of us, it is an incredibly rewarding experience we'd never trade.

    You have had to make some tough choices and sacrifices, and I respect you for all you've gone through!

    ReplyDelete
  2. i think in general, like you said, everyone (not just moms but all of us ladies) is just trying to do the best they can with what they have. balance can be hard for all of us and i truly believe that most of us do what needs to be done and just figure it out. i've always loved the saying "the grass is greener when you water it." :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think moms struggle to find balance no matter what..working or staying at home. There is no perfect way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hate, hate, hate, the "who has it harder" mom argument. It's just as bad as "breast vs. bottle" or "how late to rear face your child". Motherhood is HARD, PERIOD. No one knows anyone else's family situation, and every single situation is different. Comparing one life to someone else's is simply futile. I agree, we need to lift each other up, not play the "who has it hardest" game. Thank you for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh how I a) needed to read this today and b) agree with you. I've bounced between being a SAHM and being a working mom since my middle kid (8 years old now) was a toddler. I've kinda felt lucky the past year because I've had a job that allows me to set my own schedule (within reason, of course), but I'm heading toward another phase of life where I need to take on some more tasks, and therefore work more without the flexibility. It's hectic all around and I think as moms we really just need to realize that we all do what we feel is best for our family at any given time. No one has it easy. I don't have time to overanalyze anyone elses situation and I can't judge anyone for what they do/don't do. I don't understand how/why others seem to think its ok.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't hate many things, but my heart absolutely breaks when moms feel the need to compare and one-up each other. Being a mom is tough. Period. No matter where you parent, how you parent or what your family dynamic is. If we spent as much time loving and supporting one another and less time judging and "if only"ing each others lives, we could move mountains.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Big big hugs! I have had to find friends who also work because the ones that don't really have zero understanding of how difficult it is to be a working mom. I get every third Wednesday off of work and on that day I walk the kids to school, pick them up early and have an altogether amazing day. I cannot even fathom what SAHM's think is so "hard" about those days. We had children because we LIKE to be with our children!

    ReplyDelete

Let's chat!