When I got pregnant for the first time, all I wanted was to stay home with my son, and I was lucky to be able to do it. It was wonderful and exactly what I needed at that point in my life to be the best mom I could be. I had no desire to return to work, nor did I think I would have the energy to do both. SAHM moms are badass.
Then, my husband and I had three kids in three years, and to be honest I couldn't even remember most days. When my youngest started going to school full-time, I didn't rush into going back to work. I needed time to wrap my head around what I wanted to do next. I was blessed because I was able to take the time to do that, so I did.
I started volunteering, but it wasn't enough. I started running, but it also wasn't enough. Before I knew it, I had completed every Pinterest project known to man ... still not enough. I needed more. I was growing restless. I am a happier person when I have a lot on my plate and I soon came to the realization that I wanted to do what I pushed aside in the first place: work.
Of course I could sit here and say I started working to contribute to the household, that it's empowering to show my children my husband and I are equals because we both work AND we both do household chores. But the real reason is simple: The fulfillment I get from having a purpose outside my family life makes me a happier person. Working moms are badass.
I am going to go rogue here and tell you I like my life so much better now that I am a working mom and my sole purpose is not just to take care of my family.
I love where I'm at because I can work and be a damn good mom at the same time, even if I don't get a nice dinner on the table every night. My house isn't as clean as it was before I worked, but my kids certainly don't feel neglected because of it.
Because a mother's love is not measured by how many times she makes a home-cooked meal for her family, says yes to taking her kids to the park, or hosts a play date. It is not measured by the hours spent with them, but rather by the attention we put into them when we are with them.
It's not just good for the kids. I feel healthier when I am working my brain cells in a different way. Any yes, I am late more often and forget dentist appointments, but I am going to go rogue here and tell you I like my life so much better now that I am a working mom and my sole purpose is not just to take care of my family. When I work I am taking care of them in a different way because I am also taking care of myself.
Sure, it was a little bit of an adjustment period for all of us, but I couldn't be happier about working. It took some time before I was able to let some things go—things I would have felt guilty about if I didn't work, things that don't really matter.
I've learned what matters is whether we feel like good, strong mothers. It doesn't matter if we work or not. It doesn't matter how clean our house is, or how much we volunteer, because when mom benefits, so does everyone else in the family.