I hate mom titles! Seriously, they make my skin crawl. But in the parenting world where there are numerous “sub-categories” or labels, you can’t help it when others try to place you in a box. Above all else I loathe the stay-at-home mom versus the working mom discourse. My first experience with this trivial topic took place in my then 4 ½ month old daughter’s Gymboree playgroup. As an icebreaker each family went around the room introducing themselves and their little one, which normally included occupations as well, and out of the 9 couples there I was the only wife who was a working mom. Of course, a few moms asked me, “How do you go to work every day…Don’t you miss your little one…I could never work with my child being so young?” Internally I’m screaming “Yes I miss her all the time!!! I freaking broke down sobbing when we had to drop her off the 1st day of daycare and almost had a complete meltdown at work when I forgot to have my OB sign off that I was cleared to return to work!”
For about a month afterward I felt so guilty going to work and leaving my precious baby girl at daycare. During this time I started to doubt myself as mother/wife, but I had a sorely needed confidence boost when my daughter got sick for the first time. Here I am balancing teaching twenty-five 1st graders, tending to a cute kid with a scratchy cough and horrible chest congestion, and my relationship with my husband. In that moment it didn’t matter if I was a SAHM or working mom, I was just a MOM. Being a parent is a 24-hour job with long days and nights. In my 3 ½ years of experience in this mommy game I’ve developed one main parenting rule: as long as my kid is healthy, happy, safe, and loved I must be doing something right. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter if you choose to stay at home or work as long as you tack “mom” to the end.
So the next time you see another mom at Target or at the playground give an encouraging smile because raising tiny humans is hard and we ALL are doing an amazing job.