It’s Sunday afternoon at the end of a rainy, leisurely weekend, predominantly spent snuggled up on the couch with tv shows, books and board games in predictable rotation. I always feel the slightest hint of melancholy at the end of a weekend like this, because although I’m not a full-time working mom, I’m not exactly a stay at home mom either and there’s this oddball sense of guilt about leaving my kiddos during the coming week.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to my days at work. Entertaining two little boys all day, every day, has gotten the better of me on more than one (okay, maybe more like 25,000) occasions and I’m ready for a little “mommy brain” time.
See, I am #blessed with one of the greatest jobs in the world. I work as a speech language pathologist 2.5 days per week. (Which, by the way, is exactly the amount of time all human beings should be required to work) And this allows me to spend about a third of my week engaging with other adults in a professional setting and the other two thirds of the week with my family. It’s an ideal situation for me and my brood.
So, if this is such a desirable set-up for me, why do I still feel the need to plant my flag in either the stay-at-home-mom or working mom camp?
Working Mom vs. Being a Stay At Home Mom: Is There One Right Way?
It’s my own fault, really, because for the last six-plus years, I’ve completely bought into the idea that one type of parenting is better than another. You know the old chestnut:
Moms who work are neglecting their kids. Moms who under-schedule aren’t teaching their children proper boundaries. Moms who allow unregulated screen time are lazy. Moms who wear plaid on Tuesdays are too openminded with their weekday color palates.
It’s all… garbage.
Over the past few years, in between leisurely, fantastical days of vacation-y bliss and hyper-scheduled days of school, swimming lessons and t-ball and martial arts – I’ve discovered that while on some days I may think I’ve got it all figured out, there is no one right way to parent. There is no secret group of helicoptering, no-rescue, working, stay-at-home, vegan, carnivorous, uninvolved, authoritarian group of mothers out there doing it better than the rest of us. If there were, I think they’d have set up an Instagram account by now…
No, there’s no right way to raise your kids. We each do the best we can with what we’ve got. We hug our kids when they fall down (or if you’re like me say, “You’re okay!” in a super-falsetto, hoping to avoid a meltdown). We cuddle them back to sleep when they’ve had a bad dream. We protect them as much as we possibly can. And we all do it a little bit differently.
Me? I’m a hybrid. Working half-time, staying home the rest. Letting my kids get dirty, but insisting on baths. Not playing on iPads, but watching some TV. Cooking vegetarian, but encouraging ice cream galore. It’s the right fit for me and my family. For you, it might be something different.
So on this bookend of yet another weekend, let’s raise a glass to all the moms, who kicking butt and taking names. And while none of our methods are perfect, we can at least drink to the madness.