We are blessed with choices – and responsibility for the choices. Just like we teach our children – make a choice and own the consequences.
When my eldest started kindergarten, he asked why I didn’t pick him up after school like the other
Moms. I felt a pang of guilt – was I denying him and his sibling’s attention that they needed and deserved? Three years later, I’m confident that it was then and is now the right choice for me. In discussions, some women are fervent advocates for their choice being THE choice. Few talk about how working outside the home can benefit your family other than financially.
My choice has always been to work outside the home. I tried working from home with a baby for a month and decided I wasn't being a good mother or a good employee. My itch for accomplishment and recognition and compensation gets scratched at work. I love my children and am proud of them, but their accomplishments and recognition are all their own. It’s definitely a crazy life – captured in a new book by Kristin van Ogtrop called Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom.
In a discussion with the author, a group of SV Mom bloggers talked about their feelings about their work decision – full-time outside the home, work from home, stay at home, and other combinations thereof. Some people described ambivalence, obligation and guilt. Then a photographer who works full-time from home and on the road said –
“Guilt is self-indulgent”.
She’s right. Guilt is our way of trying to make someone else say “it’s okay that you are not here” when you don’t intend to change your choices. Guilt says “I’m so sorry we cannot afford that on one salary”. You can add others. We all have to own our choices. I work because I like to work. I work because my satisfaction at work makes me a better parent (and parenting makes me a better manager). Some of the benefits I’ve noticed because I work are that my children are comfortable with a variety of caregivers, know how to advocate for themselves, feel responsible (most of the time) for their own homework and want to know how money is earned. All of these lessons can be taught by parents who do not work outside the home as well AND just as my children know my husband and I love them and care about what is happening in their lives.
There is no right choice, just the right choice for you.
This post was originally contributed to SVMoms.