Plain and simple my life as a working mom is pure madness. Students to teach, paperwork and assessments to prepare, the teenager’s activities, the toddler, the Husband, the house, and the baby on the way are simply enough to drive a person quickly towards insanity, but here I am loving every second of the mess and chaos in spite of it all.
Being a working mom is no joke, but I have often said that I am a better mother because I work. I was a teacher for nearly 10 years before kids and family life came along so it has always been a part of me and not something I will let go of easily. It makes me happy. Becoming a stepmother and a mother in my own right too, also makes me happy, and covers me with a joy I have never known before, and I believe it is both that ultimately give my life the purpose I need it to for the sake of others I am connected to. I am a better teacher because I am a parent, and I am a better parent because I am a teacher. Schedules get more complicated to manage, calendars are essential to survival, meals more challenging to prepare, the house a little messier than usual, but in spite of the madness and the mess, everyone is well loved, cared for, and supported. No one is worse for the wear without a parent at home every day.
I admit, however, I have often sat in pure envy of the time and opportunities stay at home moms have with their littles. They possess a creativity and craftsmanship that I simply am not capable of achieving. I know my strengths and it is something I would simply not be good at, nor would it be realistic since two incomes are necessary for our livelihood. Beyond the income, however, the idea of staying at home all day frightens and overwhelms me. My anxiety increases simply by thinking about how I would structure all of that time during the day and honestly if I would be able to tolerate my children and if they could tolerate me without someone losing their mind on a daily, or hourly basis. It scares me to think that while staying home with my children would provide them with stimulation and enrichment, that I might lose a piece of myself in the process.
I know what I am good at, and know that some people need to work to earn a living and that some people are blessed enough to get paid to do what they love. I represent the latter. Teaching is and always has been my passion. My children have never known me to not work with the exception of the three months I was home with the toddler, and the six weeks I will be home with the newborn coming up in May. I will be honest saying that returning to work and the normalcy it provided was a tremendous comfort. I missed my daughter, but at the same time, I relished in the joy that I get from my job and the fulfillment that comes with it, carrying that pride and purpose over into my life as a parent.
I liken it to that the oxygen mask speech flight attendants give before a plane takes off. You can’t help anyone else until you have helped yourself first. My career, for me, is an effort in self-care that in turn makes me a better mother to my children. It shows them that passion for something is important to making us happy as individuals and that there is no need to sacrifice one passion for another as they move through the phases of life. That there is nothing wrong with wanting to have it all and living the life that you want is not impossible…it might be messier and more chaotic to balance, but for me, that’s honestly the fun part.
The madness of motherhood for a working mom is real, but a reality that far too many of us are experiencing whether out of financial necessity or simply because of the joy that comes from working. Whatever your choice, know that it’s a good one.