My mom was your typical “bad mom”. She didn’t breastfeed me, never played with me, never really spent time with me as a kid. She never stopped working full time while me and my sisters were growing under the eyes of our nannies. She didn’t do it because she had no choice, for a lack of money or anything like it: she kept working because she loved working and she recognized herself more in her work life role than as a mom.
I took a totally different path. I left my office job when I got pregnant with my first child. Never went back. I spent the last 10 years with my children and they have been my first and more important occupation every single day since.
I do plenty of other things in my daily life, being a bit of a hyperactive creature – I paint, sculpt, write and teach yoga among other activities. Still, my role as a mom reigns sovereign over everything else I do.
I’ve never been happier about a life choice as much as I’ve been with this one.
But not only I can’t and won’t judge my mom for her specific choice of not quitting her job – I actually do admire her for taking her stance so strongly even when it meant being alone and misjudged by society around her.
No mistakes, we will all be wrong if we listen to other people’s opinion.
If we keep working… we are neglecting our children.
If we quit our job… we are passive, unsuccessful women that live an easy life.
On a moment of pure clarity, one of my best friend – a full time medical doctor – confessed me one day over a cup of tea that she would not resist more that a couple of days staying in close contact with her children, without the adult interactions and professional satisfactions that her job gives her. I don’t know how you do it, she basically told me. “I am a better mom for my kids if I just see them over the week ends. And I am first and foremost a doctor. Then a mom”. Honesty. Clarity. Chapeau! And I assure you, she is a fantastic mom.
There is no such thing as bad moms versus good moms. This debate is absurd and it only succeeds in separating women instead of promoting nets of solidarity.
We are all in this together.
If you quit your job without wanting to, just because they told you that this is what a “good mom” must do, your children might pay a high price for it: a sad mom. Maybe even a depressed mom. And it is not going to be of service to them. Go to work and show to your children (especially your daughters) how important it is for you, talk to them and they’ll be proud of what you do. You will lead them by example and they will be confident one day to give their own contribution to the world.
If on the other hand you keep your 9 to 5 job while all your instinct is against it, just because they told you that if you quit you’ll never be able to go back, that you will be a loser – don’t listen. Society is different today than it was in the last generations (I often find the most preoccupied of all about a young mother quitting her job are women in their 50s or 60s, roughly the age of our mothers). Today’s jobs are flexible and in constant change, and we have rights that our grandmothers could just dream of. Your children will benefit from your presence, and you will be able to watch them grow closely and be their first and strongest ally in all situations. I constantly try to remember myself that renouncing a salary is a privilege that few women in the world can afford, so always be grateful for such opportunity.
If you are lucky enough to have the choice between staying at home with your children, working part time or keeping working full time, listen to your guts and no one else.
And please, go easy before judging each other’s choices – a mom can be good or bad either way. Most of the time, we are all a mixture of successes and failures and this has nothing to do with having or not a paid job outside of the house, and everything to do with respecting and honoring our true nature.
I believe that children benefit hugely from having parents that are fully responsible for their choices.
I hope this serves you.