Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"The Science of a Working Mother"

I have been slowly reading my way through Welcome to My World because I don't want to miss one word of any of the incredible essays.  There are pieces from working moms, stay-at-home moms, and moms who work from home.  As a SAHM, I don't know how the moms who work do it.  There are so many schedules to juggle, so many balls to keep in the air.  I have a hard enough time keeping everything functional chez Wells, and I'm at home all day.

"The Science of a Working Mother" by Amber Doty has prompted some serious self-reflection.  In her essay, Amber writes about her decision to be a working mom and how others assume she has to work.

"The raw truth of the matter is I want to work.  I want to work because just being a mother is not enough for me."

I think it's incredibly brave to admit that being a mother is simply not enough sometimes.  There isn't anything wrong with being a mom and staying at home, but for some, it may not be enough.  If staying at home is making a mother miserable, it may not be the best choice for that family.  Being a mom who leaves the house to work isn't always easy, though.

"...I have moments when leaving my children so I can go to work feels like an egregious crime against motherhood."

Amber writes in "The Science of a Working Mother" about the time when her son told her he hated her.  He wanted to stay home with her that morning, as he had wanted to in the past, but she was trying to get him dressed and out of the house so she could get to a meeting on time.  Harsh words to hear from your little boy, but she isn't the only one who has heard those words.  My own kids have never said they hated me, but they have said they didn't like me or they wanted a new mother.  Those words were said in fits of pique because teeth needed to be brushed or a request for a treat was denied.  I think it's a rite of passage for kids to want new parents at some point or another or to think they hate their parents.  What they don't know at the time is that (most) parental decisions are made out of everlasting, indestructible love.  And what we teach our children when they're young are lessons that last a lifetime. They watch what we do, and they hear what we say, even when we think they're not paying attention.

"It is my hope that one day my children, particularly my two year old daughter, will view my decision to work, to pursue a dream conceived long before they were, as an inspiration , as proof that you really can have it all.  I hope that they will view parenthood as an experience that is life-enriching, not life-limiting."

Isn't that what it's all about, after all?  Our job as parents is to teach our children so that they can eventually grow up and be productive adults, parents or not.  We need to show them how to live fulfilling lives that they can share with others.  Learning about kindness and acceptance will take them a long way.  No matter if we're working outside the home, working from home, or staying at home, we are all doing the best we can with what we have.  We ALL love our children and give them our best, no matter how stunning or lacking our best is, every single day.

Reading Amber's essay made me realize that we all need to support each other.  People make different choices, and different doesn't necessarily mean wrong.  Being a parent is hard enough without being condemned by others.  We all make the choices we think are best for our family.  Everybody has a story; maybe we all need to be listening to what is in each other's hearts instead of judging each other's actions.

If you'd like to read all of "The Science of a Working Mother" by Amber Doty, click here or here.  You should also hop over to The Daily Doty and Kid Scoop at to see more of Amber's writing.  Trust me: it's worth the trip.

1 comment:

  1. That's funny.... If I would go back to work (my son is 3.5 mo old) it would be because motherhood is too much for me and that I would need a break!

    Yeah, I do consider working a break, even in my industry where we are talking 60hr/week (with no benefits and hardly paid overtime as such.. but well this is another story).
    I love working, big time ! I love the interaction between people and feeling productive, projects have a start, middle and end unlike motherhood where the line is not that clear.

    That said for now I have a stronger feeling my son needs me (and he's damn soo cute !)