Am I A Selfish Mom? Career vs. Family
Does working full-time equate to me being a bad parent?
This question has eaten at me for months. As a mother of three, there is truly nothing more important to be than my children. Yet, I enjoy their time at school and my time at work.
I have two friends that recently gave birth to their first children. Both ladies have supportive men in their lives. Seriously their guys would give them the world. My friends are professionals in separate fields, and both enjoy their jobs, so it came as a shock to me they decided not to return to work.
My friends have never met. In fact, they live three hours apart from each other. They have different educational backgrounds, were raised differently, and they couldn’t be more dissimilar. Yet, their situations are nearly identical.
Both new mothers have similar reasonings for not returning to work: cost of daycare, wanting to spend the first years raising their daughters, and nightmares you hear about daycares. These are all valid reasons not to return to work.
Which brings me back to my question: Does working full-time equate to me being a bad parent?
There is a stigma to being a working mother. Some assumptions follow working mothers and those assumptions are downright hurtful. Many of these beliefs come from our community and workplace. The most common assumptions are: unreliability, disinterest, and too goal orientated.
- An unreliable employee, having coworkers or leadership that expect flakiness due to family emergencies.
- Disinterest in motherly responsibilities. This assumption is the most shocking to me. A working mother isn’t disinterested in her family.
- Too goal-orientated, the mother has chosen her career over her family.
As mothers, we give a lot of ourselves to our families. We don many hats (chef, teacher, maid, and doctor) and, for the most part, we do it smiling. The mother that chooses to have a career should not feel guilt from the outside world. She already has guilt eating at her for not making every game and volunteering at every PTA bake sale.
Mothers that chose to become homemakers are saints because Lord knows I couldn’t do it. I need something that isn’t connected to my family and that is completely and utterly mine.
As a writer, I have the privilege of creating stories that captivate audiences, allowing them to escape their realities briefly. For better or worse, having the chance to leave home and create a spot in the professional world for myself allows me to be a better person for my children.
The truth is choosing to stay at home and raise your children doesn’t make you a saint. Choosing to work after having a child doesn’t make you a sinner.
As women, we need to continue to break the glass ceiling, force our way past barriers, and stop forcing labels onto one another.
The woman that chooses to go back to school while working and raising her children isn’t being selfish. She’s creating an example for her children that you’re never too old to learn.
I ask you again, am I a bad parent because I work full time?