I like playing the mom role card when I meet someone new.
“I’m someone else’s mother. Take that,” I think.
But I hate when I’m asked, “What do you do?” Maybe if I stamp it on my forehead, people will stop asking!
Of course, I rarely use the actual word “unemployed.” I almost always sugar coat my answer. I’ll say, “I stay home with my kids,” which is kinda a lie now because they are back in school and my youngest, 2, just started a new daycare.
Is that what you’re telling people, too – that you’re just an unemployed homemaker? Or maybe you are a working mom and you feel judged about it. When you tell people you work, you immediately follow that with a statement about how you wish you could stay home with your babies – even though you secretly love your job and would never consider leaving. Continue reading for my advice on how to better embrace your mom role.
It’s Not What You Do That Counts
When asked what you do, you could be accidentally giving them the impression that you hate your mom role. God knows we enjoy being a mom, but are you showing it?
Make your “what I do” statement with conviction instead of embarrassment or humility. It’s all in the tone you use and the way you carry yourself when asked these things. If you are proud to be a happily married mom without a boss, show it! If you enjoy the work you do and are proud of the income you bring home to your family, let it be known! You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Who you are and what you do are two completely different things, even if what you are doing right now is staying home. Don’t mistake your mom role as something to be done – it just is.
How I Embrace My Mom Role
Maybe you aren’t quite feeling your worth as a stay-at-home-mom because you want to work, but cannot find a job that fits into your family’s lifestyle. Because of this, you’re annoyed when asked about what you do and feelings of anger surface. You’ve probably bit**ed a time or two to your mommy friends about how hard it is to find a decent paying job, since working means paying for childcare. Often times, it could mean needing to pay for daycare in advance of having employment and many moms cannot afford to do that.
I know the struggle all too well. My two-year-old daughter is currently in a daycare because I needed to take the spot while it was open. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have any chance of having childcare for when I did find work. Plus, I live in a new town and I don’t have friends or family to help watch my little one while I go on a job interview, anyway. Luckily, we can afford it, but it isn’t an easy decision to make, and it can feel a little awkward to drop your child off at daycare when you don’t have a job yet.
But, I’ve gotten over it – the part about being unemployed.
When my youngest was only a few months old, I was unemployed by choice, yet I felt embarrassed that I didn’t have a career to show off to my old high school friends at our upcoming ten-year class reunion. I have a track record of popping out babies and taking time away from work to be with them before going back to work. Of course, this makes it awkward to explain employment gaps since I don’t want a prospective employer to think that my mom role is going to interfere with working for them.
Braced for judgement, I’ll never forget what one of my former classmates said to me that night. When I told him that, although I had a college degree, I was just staying home with the baby for the time being, he said: “But that’s work, too. Probably harder.”
And I smiled.
He saw my worth and that shut down my embarrassment about it. Since then, I’ve learned to accept that my unemployment status means nothing. I work, too, just in a different capacity. My husband agrees with him. He once said that he never feels like I don’t work and that was a huge relief. I would feel strangled if I didn’t have my hubby’s support.
Learn to Ignore Others Accomplishments
Going back and forth between the work world and staying home has its fair share of disadvantages. I sometimes wish I could just stay put long enough to earn promotions so that I can feel like I’ve accomplished something for myself.
Many moms can agree to that, I’m sure.
I also know many working mothers who are making work sacrifices to be there for their kids. By work sacrifices I mean that they are passing up overtime hours and extra projects because they have mom responsibilities to deal with. Unfortunately, this leads to resenting your coworkers who don’t have children when you see them pushing themselves and earning praise and rewards for their efforts. Meanwhile, you wish someone would just acknowledge how hard it is for you to juggle your two worlds.
But I don’t think you should worry so much about it.
While your childless counterparts stock pile accomplishment after achievement after accomplishment, the life they live outside of work could be empty. Overworked, they don’t have time to do things that matter to them, like volunteer or spend time with their family. I hate to say it, but their grass isn’t necessarily greener.
It’s a complete waste of energy to worry about what others are doing, and we all know that moms could use more energy to get through our days, so take that energy back. Focus on your life, not theirs.
Your Mom Role is Important
The sooner you understand that your worth isn’t attached to what you do, but to who you are, the sooner you’ll stop wishing you could achieve more.
Mothers are caring, loving, sweet, kind, encouraging, supportive and the biggest role models in our lives. How much do you love your own mother? How much has she done for you? What did she give up for you? You should have the same amount of appreciation for yourself as you do your own mother.
Life feels much lighter when you appreciate your worth. And we’re all worthy. Everybody has a purpose in this life and one of yours is to be a mother. The time goes quick, as I’m quickly discovering, and you’ll always have time to jet after some accomplishments when they’ve left the nest (if you want). In the meanwhile, you owe it to your children to live in the moment and do what is best for you and your family.
And if “what’s best” means staying home, great! If it means leaving them at daycare so you can work, that’s great, too! You’re still a mom either way and as long as you value the importance of that mission, you’ll eventually let that trivial stuff go.