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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pushing my buttons

I keep thinking of something Glennon said last night about mothering.

She said it much more eloquently than I can paraphrase, but basically that she doesn't believe that women should stop their entire lives when their children are born in order to be a servant to that child for the rest of her life... her point was, "Where does it stop?" ... or who gets to work toward something even greater? She wouldn't want her daughters to stop their entire lives in order to raise their children.

I hadn't heard it said quite this way before, and I'm surprised that it rang true to me.

OK, I don't agree 100%, because I can't imagine that my life has just stopped since I decided to stay home with our girls. It certainly felt that way at first, but the more I wrote about things and then got paid to write about things and then took over the Girl Scout troop then started singing my heart out with the Berkeley Broadway Singers, the more I felt that I was using a crucial part of my brain.

In the meantime, I don't feel like a servant to my kids since I'm home with them all the time... or do I? And what is the alternative? Having a full-time live-in nanny? I worked so hard to get these kids into my life, I am afraid that if I had the option of handing them over to the care of a full-time helper, I would do that all the time.

What I think is this: my girls' childhood will ultimately be fleeting, so I am choosing to stare at them for the maximum number of hours before they escape from me. But Glennon's comments freed me from feeling like I had to judge working moms harshly.

You know why I did that? I was afraid they knew something I didn't, that they were having some kind of life I was missing out on. For example, working moms get to go onto elevators, possibly with pantyhose on, and push the elevator buttons themselves. What is that even like?

Because I felt insecure that I had made a silly choice on some level by giving up my PR career whole hog, I felt like I had to figure out a way to not like women who got to continue their careers. I had to figure out some way to take a righteous position on this issue.

And you know what, people? That is exhausting, living up on some ridiculous pedestal. It's also no way to live. When Glennon said that, about women not somehow being obligated to sacrifice their lives to the servitude of their children, it snipped a big cord between me and my desire to be righteous about what mothers should do.

Because ultimately, I don't have any idea what the hell I'm doing. I mean really, do you?

1 comment:

Sue OCronin said...

I took Glennon's comments to mean -"do what is right for you" don't do something because you feel like you have to, and then end up becoming a martyr (sp?) "I gave up everything FOR YOU" that's a lot to put on your kids.
I think you have to figure out what works for you and your family. I always thought I would stay home full-time if I had kids. Then I had 2 kids, stayed home for 18 months and realized that is not right for me. Now I work part-time and this balance seems "right" for me. One of my best friend and I left our outside jobs at the same time.....and she is very happy being home full-time. really just have to figure out what works for you. I had A LOT of guilt on both sides.....I wished I was a mom who LOVED being home FT - or - I wished I was a career woman who was OK with a full-time nanny.......but I am not either one. I am someone who likes to work, but also wants flexibility and time with the kids. And, let me say - having experienced both sides (full-time at home and full-time working) it's just HARD being a mom ......FT working outside the house and FT at home BOTH have rewards and challenges.....just different rewards and I say, figure out which rewards/challenges work for you and then stop judging yourself and others......we are all just doing the best we can. Carry On, Warriors!