Thursday, September 17, 2009

thankful Thursday- balancing work and motherhood

I was just over at momversation and saw this video:

There's so much talk about whether to feel guilty or not if you're a working mom.

Well, whenever people frame a question as either/or, my mind goes off to find a third option.

Wait wait. Let me start by saying that I work at home, supposedly part time, but to get anything done my older toddler is in preschool full time now, and the younger is watched by my mom (I'm lucky, I know). So there's already guilt that I couldn't finish my part time work in part time hours.

But do I feel guilty for working? I did, until I realized it doesn't help a darn thing. I've learned to let go of everything else when I'm with my little ones, and to just be solidly *with* them and not think about anything else, because let's face it, I am not going to get any work done while I'm caring for them, so might as well make our time together quality and pay attention to them.

Here's where the third option comes in. How about feeling good for working because it makes you happy and shows your kids that you do many things? Once, my mom herself admitted that she thinks it's a good idea to get out of the house and do things for yourself (this from a committed lifelong SAHM). I'm NOT saying that SAHMs are martyrs who should get out of the house!! Definitely not. I AM saying that one role usually doesn't define a person, not even one as enormously varied and beautiful as "mother," and that having other work in your life can be enriching not only for you, but for your kids.

In other words, take guilt out of the picture altogether, and see what's left-- enrichment? Excitement? Happiness? And hey, a paycheck? Health insurance (can of worms alert! can of worms alert!)? A whole sense of self?

So that's what I'm thankful for this Thursday. Grateful to be a mama, grateful also to have work I enjoy, and happy to let go of any guilt around it.