I love being a mother. I really do. It’s a vocation that always called to me and one I happily fulfilled. From taking a hypnobirthing class and documenting every week my bump grew (and grew and grew) to finding *just the right* take home outfit for my daughter and cherishing as much of those newborn moments as possible—I loved it all.
Sure there were definitely some bumps in the road, but I found a lot of joy in those first few months of motherhood. In the great moments—yes. But, also in those not-so-great moments. Because I learned a lot about myself that first year of being a mom.
And one of the things I learned was... I want something more.
I wanted to use my brain in ways that didn’t only have to do with changing diapers, nursing and worrying if I was caring for my baby in the “right” way.
So, I got a job. And I loved it. I still love it, over two years later.
It validates me in ways being a mother cannot. And I am OK with that. I have different goals—measurable goals—for this job that have nothing to do with my goals as a mother and wife (which can’t really be measured...although, honestly, my three-year-old may have some spreadsheets that she’s keeping track of to valuate my role.)
My job makes me feel needed and important in ways being a mom doesn’t.And I like that.
But sometimes, I feel guilty. I feel like all of my time should be dedicated to my kids in this season. They are so small, and growing and changing and developing so fast. Am I missing important moments?
Some days it makes my heart ache. And I only work part-time.
So, I want to do both—I want to be a stay-at-home mom and a working mom.
Is that possible?
I want to be the one who is always around to take care of my kids—to cook for them, put them down for their naps and help them get dressed.
I want to be the one who is always there to comfort my kids—to hold them when they cry, to bandaid their boo boo, to remind them to take deep breaths to calm down.
I want to be the one to take them on adventures—to bring them to the park, to go to the farm, to check books out at the library.
I want to be the one to do the mundane things with them—to pick them up at school, to remind them to brush their teeth and to help them find their shoes.(OK, maybe I will pass on the shoe part...)
I want to be the one who plays with them—to read them exciting books, to act out scenes from Moana and to show them how to use their t-ball set.
I want to be the one who teaches them important life lessons—to show them how to be kind, to remind them to help protect each other and to explain why we can’t always do what we want to do.
I want to be the one who they turn to—when they’re happy, when they’re sad, when they’re excited, when they’re frustrated.
I want to be the one they know will always be there for them—no matter what, no matter when, no matter how.
But, I also want to be on a team with other adults working toward a common goal.
I want to be the one to edit the essays.
I want to be the one to write the stories of motherhood.
I want to be the one who helps solve a problem.
I want to be the one who gives their opinion when asked.
I want to be the one to speak up when I have a great idea.
I want to be the one learning from other creative, genius minds.
I want to be the one growing as a professional.
I want to be the one challenging my brain by developing a new skill.
I guess what I’m saying is that I want the best of both worlds. So I’ll ask this again—is this possible?
Yes and no.
Yes, this is possible, because I have the choice to both work and spend time with my children.
No, this isn’t possible, because it’s never going to be perfect. The balance is always going to be off. And this is something that I work on coming to terms with every day.
Because my children are important to me, and my work is important to me.
Just because I love being a mother, doesn’t mean I don’t value my work. And just because I love my job, doesn’t mean I love my kids any less.
I want to show them that I have dreams and goals and visions for myself outside of motherhood. And that that is OK and wonderful and valid.
But I also want to show them that I love them more than anything on this planet and that I would do anything for them.
But they’ll always know that, won’t they? Whether I work or not.
Because I am a good mom and they are well taken care of (by me and other people as well) and they feel safe and loved. That’s what’s important—not how many bandaids I apply or how many work meetings I have in a week.
(Although, TBH—bandaids are expensive and my daughter loves to stick them everywhere, so I may have to take more work meetings so I can afford more bandaids...such a vicious cycle, isn’t it?)
Written by: Colleen Temple