I just realized that among my three planned posts for a week, the hardest one to come up with is the Monday Momday post. And, it’s not because I’ve run out of motherhood/parenthood topics. As a matter of fact, I often find my brain cluttered with mommy matters. The reason is, coming out from a weekend with my three demanding but adorable children, I am still so drained and could not put words nicely together. I don’t even have time to write down a draft during the weekends as I am pretty much useless in anything else aside from being a mother whenever I’m home with the kids. This is exactly the reason why I dropped the idea of becoming a work-at-home mom.
As a working mom, here is a mommy question I often receive, from friends, colleagues, and strangers too – how not to be guilty of leaving the kids at home while I work? This question has rendered me speechless countless time. For the six years I’ve juggled motherhood and working, I will say this with utmost honesty – there is no way a mom could leave her kids behind for work or otherwise without feeling any guilt. Well, at least in my case, that is the truth. I just learned to live and manage the guilt through the years. But, every time I get the chance to look at them closer and longer and realized how they’ve grown and grown fast, the guilt trip creeps back in. I think it’s normal and okay. What’s wrong is to be ashamed and blame yourself for it. Give yourself a break, mamas. This working mama life is what we’ve been blessed with, so do your best to embrace it in gratitude.
Being a working mom is not all guilt, hardships, and struggles. There are also benefits from this situation which you, your kids and our society can reap. These benefits I always want to remind myself of.
Two heads are better than one when it comes to the financial side of raising a family, especially those with many children. I’m grateful that we have a responsible head of the family and I honestly think he alone could provide for us. However, we need my income to upgrade. When I say upgrade, I don’t mean to say a lifestyle of luxury. With higher family income, we get to choose better schools for the kids. We get to go to their pediatrician in comfort and regularity. We get to give them opportunities we didn’t have when we were young (travel, summer lessons, tutorials, educational field trips, etc.).
It’s easier to have a life outside of motherhood. Take note, it’s easier but it does not mean that it’s impossible for stay at home mamas. But because most working mamas go out of their homes to work where they get to meet a lot of different people, some they become friends with, they gain another support group to help them weather the storms of life. Most organizations offer activities too which promote work-life balance and camaraderie among its employees. Because of my life outside motherhood, I don’t easily get burn-out by mommy duties. My work allows me to keep my hobbies and pursue other passions because I believe that it’s not a sin to become a mother and still have personal dreams and goals.
It’s easier to keep your identity. It’s a common problem among us mothers – we lose our own identity once we start having kids. Surely, it sounds romantic when we see our kids or our husbands complete our lives. But, I’m the type who believes that I am already complete even before I got married and had kids. They are blissful additions to my life. And, because I know myself already (at least that’s how I think of it), I can distinguish if I’m being overwhelmed and departing from my core. So, before it turns into a more complex mental and emotional breakdown, I am able to address it and easily get in touch again with my own self.
It’s easier to cut the cycle of children being their parents’ retirement plan. In relation to number one, it’s easier for parents to plan and prepare for their own retirement if they earn more than enough to support their family’s living expenses. Like in our household, most of my income goes to savings and investments. I still support my parents, together with my sisters. It’s really okay but I also see how some of my friends need not to support their parents financially, so they were able to build their financial independence earlier and easier. I want the same things to happen to my kids. Besides, my husband and I have our own retirement goals which cannot be provided by our kids.
For mommies like me who tend to become a helicopter parent, working outside home limits this tendency. In effect, you will be raising more independent and responsible children. It has been proven that children who, at an early age, learn to be responsible for themselves become less troubled as adults. And, one way for them to learn on their own is for us to give them some space to grow and opportunities to develop their own skills and capabilities and that’s by not being with them 24/7.
The presence of a working mom in families helps in promoting gender equality. Because of the consistent and persistent presence of women, especially of mothers, in the workforce, the notion that women should stay home, make babies, raise children, should not handle money and should spend their time on household chores alone are slowly being replaced by how businesses and our society, in general, need women. Women, more than ever, are free to choose now the kind of life they want to live. Their purposes in life are no longer confined inside their homes.
Of course, there are also challenges that come with being a working mom, but to some, myself included, the benefits, especially long-term, outweigh any hardships. Besides, it’s best if we focus on the good side of our situation rather than the negativity. My blessing right now is this office job and being a mother to three beautiful children and wife to a wonderful man, so I’m embracing the role and living the most of it. Who knows, the day will come when God will direct me to another path of blessing, but, until then, I’m doing my best to be happy and grateful with what I have been gifted.
P.S. To all moms who work, take pride in your journey because your contributions go beyond the fathomable!