Now, not all of my followers are mamas but I wanted to write on this topic because it was honestly a big struggle for me, and I believe it to be a struggle for many other moms out there. This specific blog post could also be relevant in other parts of your life even if you aren’t a mom 🙂 I decided to post on this topic because being a stay-at-home mom is really what prompted me to start my blog and give me the time to do it.
My entire pregnancy I was constantly asked if I would be returning to work. It’s kind of funny that this is one of the first things people ask when they find out you are pregnant (which can be pretty early, for me it was around 14 weeks). How am I supposed to know what I am going to want to do months from now? It reminded me of being a high school graduate and every person asking, ‘what are you going to major in, what do you want to do with your life?’. Well, sometimes you just don’t know and only time will tell what your decision will be.
I would casually brush off the question each and every time it was asked with a simple ‘I’m not sure yet’ because honestly, I had no idea how I would feel once our little nugget arrived. If you aren’t sure what you want to do, you will probably get quite a bit of unsolicited advice. Just remember that the people giving advice haven’t sat down with you during countless hours of making spreadsheets to see if you can survive off one salary, or looked into how much childcare would cost, or heard you discuss the ramifications of not being in corporate America for a while, or what it would be like to be at home every day without much adult interaction, or any of the other million thoughts you have when thinking about what you will do after having this baby. Crazy pregnancy hormones also don’t help much with decisions. These comments and opinions I was receiving from family, friends, and colleagues had me at war with myself on what I wanted to do. I was getting so many different opinions on this topic and what other people thought I should do that I couldn’t even see my own clear vision of what I truly wanted to do. I had to step back from all these opinions and think about what I wanted my future to look like. No matter how much thought I put into this decision, nothing was clear until my daughter arrived into this world and changed my life for the better. Being able to spend those first 3 months of maternity leave with her were the best months of my life, and that’s when it came to me that my life was going to look a lot different because I was not going to return to work. I went in to notify my place of employment that I would not be returning and as I said goodbye to her and walked out the door, that feeling of leaving her to go into the office every day helped solidify and make me even more confident in my decision. For any moms out there struggling with this very decision… trust me! You will know what is right for you once you have your baby.
The funny thing about becoming a mom is that your decision of what you want when it comes to work is a lose-lose situation. If you go back to work, you are judged by the stay-at-home moms; if you stay-at-home, you are judged by the working moms; if you are part-time, you aren’t a working mom or a stay-at-home mom so you feel like you don’t fit in anywhere. I have heard so many judgements made on each mom- Working moms aren’t moms if they aren’t spending every second with their baby, whereas stay at home moms are lazy and taking the easy way out, but if you are part-time, you are part-time at all aspects of your life. When you pause for a second and come to the realization that no matter what you do in this situation there will be someone who judges you, you may finally be able to listen to your own heart and make the right choice. I think all moms could take a lesson from what my dad always says, ‘Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.’ Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on you for one second. It doesn’t matter what your friend Sally or your colleague Sue decide to do- it has no impact on you. Moms need to be supportive of other moms, even if they do it different than you. After all, we are all moms! Decisions are not right or wrong. Your decision is right for you, but not necessarily right for everyone. Each person is doing what is right for them and there is no room for judging some else’s decision.
My biggest piece of advice that I can offer you is to do what suits you and what is best for you and your family and don’t look back. Listen to your heart. I have learned that no matter what decisions you make in life, there will always be someone who judges. Be confident in the decisions you make and know that ‘the right decisions are always the hardest to make. But they must be made in order to live the life you deserve’ -Trent Shelton.