Saturday, 26 July 2014
The Case for the Working Mother
Earlier in the month, I found myself at home with Zac for a mammoth 11-day stint (ordinarily this would not be the case, but Bonny Babies was closed the week after we were away, and I happened to be at home before starting a new job). I was just.about.coping.
To give you some perspective, let me explain something: I'm a working mom - the full time kind. I'm pretty much the polar opposite of the domestic goddess type mom. I returned to work the day we celebrated Zac's 13 week existence. I could blame it on the unpaid leave, or the start of the new academic term, but the truth is - even if there were none of that - I would have gone back to work eventually - probably sooner rather than later (you can read more about it here).
Phew, that felt good to say out loud! You see, as if general motherhood pressure wasn't enough, there's a special, additional kind reserved for the working varietal. For some reason, it's assumed that, were all things considered equal, every mother would want to be home with her children. And for some of us that's just not the case.
Please don't get me wrong (and I'm sure I speak for all the working mothers here): it's not that we don't like being with our children. On the contrary: we love them as much as the stay-at-home mothers do. Some of us (and here I speak for myself) are just better mothers when we are sane. And sometimes sanity comes at the expense of being employed. So here are my three favourite not-so-serious arguments for me as a working mother:
1. The Contribution to Industry
Not only are working mothers a vital part of the industries in which they work, let's be honest, without them, there would also be no childcare industry, which, based on the school fees I'm paying, is a booming one! I'm very fortunate to have my mom run a day care so I have the added peace of mind that while Zac is learning about himself and his surroundings, he's in the best possible care available. The best.
2. The Contribution to Society
They won't say so to your face (because no one wants to cheese off a new mother) but the world is grateful for opportunities to engage in some adult only environments where you don't have to worry about uncovered plugs, stinky nappy changes, and suitable places to breastfeed. Really, I think mothers are too. As much as I love the label of being 'Zac's mom', it is nice for someone to notice me in the room too. And let's be honest: more often than not, this is where we educate the rest of the world on child related things (like plug covers, nappy changes, and suitable places to breastfeed).
3. The Contribution to Procreation
I'm beginning to really believe that were all mothers at home with their kids every day, especially those of us who are not naturally wired to work that way, the future of the human race would be at risk. Some of us really need that break so that we can be fully present and energetic when we have that sweet reunion with our little ones. Ask any working mom when they dream of having more children - it's while they're at work, oblivious to the havoc their children are causing at daycare!
Seriously though: the key is balance. I never said being a working mom is easy, and unfortunately right now with increasing costs and all, many of us don't have the option not to work, but whatever your situation - you don't have to feel bad about it! Somehow the moment you see those two lines on the pee-stick, there is this miraculous, amazing increased capacity to love and care and provide for your children, and if you can do that, I reckon you're doing a fantastic job!