When I decided to go back to work full-time and send my daughter to a more traditional day care, I received quite a few comments. They boiled down to, "If I wanted to be a part-time parent, maybe I shouldn’t have had children in the first place."
Just because I am choosing to spend 30, 40, or even 50 hours working and chasing my own dreams, that does not mean I am also choosing to love my daughter any less. To say that about me, or any other mother, is simply hateful.
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I chose to start my own business before having children, mainly because there were better opportunities in freelance than in a full-time career in our community. But I also craved a flexible schedule to spend time with my husband and future babies. One day I’ll return to school to start a PhD program and hopefully become a full-time professor. But in the meantime I love that I have the flexibility to work full-time from home and be available to go to story time or music class or just a playdate with other moms on a random weekday morning.
Can’t we just support our friends when the stress of "doing it all" gets to be too much?
To say that when my daughter goes to day care I don’t think about her well-being—or that I don’t wonder what games she is playing or what is making her laugh—is ridiculous. It's not fair to be judged by other moms in our circle of friends for celebrating work success with the same enthusiasm as celebrating little moments with our babies, and it isn’t right.
I had this conversation with a friend recently and, we both lamented our roles as both women and mothers. If we were men, choosing to work from home to spend time with our family would be applauded. We would be praised for choosing our family while still bringing in the mortgage payment and choosing to place the role of father a notch above our dreams for success in the work place.
As women and mothers this battle for "best" mom, "most selfless mom" or "has-it-all mom" is excessive. We are all full-time parents, trying to do the best we can with the cards we’ve been dealt—can’t we all just applaud each other for that?
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Whether we are choosing to work for personal enjoyment or to pay the bills—and it’s oftentimes both—the judgment should stop now. Can’t we just support our friends when the stress of "doing it all" gets to be too much? How about, for a new mom who's trying to figure out how to even approach the challenges of work and family, we show up with a big plate of brownies—instead of judgment?
Have you had people judge you for your child care choices?