The time has come where I- er, Afton- now only takes 1 nap a day. While this transition has rocked her- er,my world a little bit, it’s also a nice change that means I get more time during the days that I’m off to spend with her!
My time with Afton is so precious to me now that I’m working. I miss the days where we didn’t have plans- we woke up and stayed in our jammies until we felt like a target or library run. I miss that pace. Now I struggle to not over plan on the days that I’m off while also wanting to ensure that I am intentional about my time with her and others.
It may be no secret to those who know me that my desires took a 180 turn after my 9 months post-partum. Before having Afton, I couldn’t imagine wanting to stay home. I felt guilty for not wanting to stay home. Then God called me back to work and I felt differently. You see, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence for me. This is a constant thing.
When I went back to work,I knew it was the right timing, the right position, etc. I knew it was right, but that didn’t make it any easier. I still cry when I leave her, not because she’s upset, but really because she’s not. She’s quite accustomed to being in other’s homes, with other children, with different toys and rooms to explore. Sometimes this is hard for me. The grass that is greener has mommies with children who cling to them and feel nervous around other people. You mommies probably wish it wasn’t so but I ache for that just a little. I ache to know I hold a more special place in her heart than the sitter she seems just as excited to see.
And I know I do. It’s just hard sometimes and some days are harder than others.
To the ladies that have told me I’m missing out on the best years of her life and I’ll never have them back- I know that. I do. And I think about it every day that I’m away from her. But I’m happy for those that get to spend time with this sweet girl and I’m blessed by the people in my life that love on her when I’m away allowing me to be where God has called me to be in this season of our lives.
Though I’ve never had to work full time as a mom -I work part time and stay home part time- I feel I must say to women in either situation- let’s be gentle.
To the working mom- please let’s not assume that stay at home mom’s “can afford it” or “don’t want to work” or are “probably home schooling too because they can’t let go”. They are doing what’s best for them and their own babes in their own stage of life.
To the women who stay home- please don’t assume that the working mom is “more passionate about a career than parenting” or “needs the money.” It might not be what they want or it might be! Either way, let’s find out how we can support, encourage and come along side each other as mommies rather than comparing ourselves, our lifestyles and our child-rearing. When it all comes down to it, I believe that most women crave affirmation and unfortunately we won’t find it in comparing and contrasting our lifestyles with others without knowing their whole story. It’s like looking at an instagram picture of a moment in someone’s life without knowing anything else going on around it. Reach out, find out, and learn from the differences and similarities you share. How would we have the strength to encourage and push each other toward growth if we were exactly the same?
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes,”Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Never have I needed female approval like I do now that I’m a mom. The moment I brought Afton home from the hospital I was struck with the realization that I had no idea what I was doing and I needed my moms. I humbly begged my husband to ask his mom to come and she selflessly did. My mom did the same. I was desperate in those early days for their approval and still love to hear them tell me I’m doing a good job.
When an older woman in the grocery store gives me that knowing smile and let’s me go ahead of her in line saying, “I know what it’s like,” a sweet feeling of affirmation floods my heart. So much better than the “Wow, she’s not happy” I’ve received from other irritated customers or a “She wants to get out of the shopping cart and walk around” tip. Who knew so many people spoke angry toddler? 😉
My point is, we have the opportunity to bless other momma’s so easily with something as simple as a smile or a “you’re doing a good job” and sometimes we miss these opportunities.
So I want to grab at the opportunity to encourage you.
To the stay at home mom:
Your job as a momma is not easy but the pay is the best. Next time you feel like for what you give you get nothing in return, take that little munchkin in your arms and look at his face. Do whatever it takes to make him laugh and tell me that’s not worth your biggest pay check. Then remember to take some time for you. Ask a friend, husband, relative to watch your little one while you go for a walk or grab a coffee. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. It’s important and it’s good for them to see you prioritize yourself too. You’re doing a great job!
To the working mom:
It’s one of the hardest things to let someone else hear many of the giggles, see many of the first steps and hear many of the first words. He might not always understand why “Momma has to go to work” but you are doing what needs to be done for him. Thought it’s easier sometimes, don’t pull away when you’re home. Make the conscious decision of choosing to be all in when you’re with him. Hold him, play with him, read to him and talk to him. The house work can wait. You both need this. Try as hard as you can not to bring work home and if you must, to set up clear boundaries of when it will be done and when it’s play time so that he knows what to expect and feels secure in knowing he is your priority. You’re doing a great job!