My husband and I are going to London to attend a business conference November 2nd and 3rd. We are taking the boys with us, as we don’t want to leave them for 6 days. As a bonus they will also get to meet their 95 year old great granny who lives just outside of London. In order to get to London, and be somewhat awake for the conference, we have to fly on Oct. 31st, which means that our 3 year old will be missing Halloween and trick or treating. When we made our plane reservations a few months ago we both figured that he would be too young to really notice. Although missing Halloween was a little bummer, we thought that at 3 years old he really wouldn’t know what he was missing.
Well we were wrong. For the last week all Timmy can talk about is Halloween and what he wants to be. So we decided that we would throw a Halloween party the Sunday before we left. That would surely solve all the issues.
Wrong again. After hearing about the party Timmy got very excited and said “Yeah! I can go trick or treating with my friends! I am so excited Mommy!”
Oh the guilt. We have to get to this business conference – we don’t have a choice. At least we get to bring the kids with us… right?
P.S. – At least I am in good company:
Work It Mom – Guilt Question
Mom Guilt Never Ends
Blog called “Working Moms against Guilt”
and these are just a few of the many posts on “Mommy guilt”
In today’s USA Today there is an article entitled “Mommy Wars” that features me and my kids. At the time I am writing this post there are over 100 comments on the story, with people flaming each other and making very strong accusations about what is best for children. It was hard, but I refrained from commenting and instead am posting here. I think the big picture that people sometimes don’t see is that decision for a mom or a dad to work or not work is never just back and white. What is good for their kids is never just black and white. People are all different – everyone can live with that reality right? So why is it that when it comes to deciding whether to work or stay at home with your children their is supposedly only one answer?
There is a comment on the story that I find particularly compelling:
WHOA!!!! I have been a working mom since my 2 children were born. My husband and I took extreme care to find a person that would care and love them. (and boy does she!) Fast forward 3 years: My son just started preschool for the first time this month. His teach told me last week that he is one of the smartest, most polite and well-adjusted children she has ever taught in her 20 years of teaching preschool. My point is that there are amazing stay at home moms and not so great stay at home moms. There are amazing working moms, and not so great working moms. I do not believe working or not working is the key factor in raising happy children. It is about so much more than that. I LOVE my job, and I LOVE my children. What kids need more that anything else is to see happy, loving, parents who provide a safe and loving environment to them. Can a kid have too many people that love them?. I don’t believe so. I am proud that my daughter will see that a woman can raise a happy family, be a great mother and accomplish great things for herself at the same time. If you choose to stay at home because that is what YOU choose to do, then I truly salute you. But it in no way makes you a good mom based solely on that principle alone. What make one a good mom lies so much deeper.
Why is that so hard for people to accept? I truly LOVE being a working mom. I truly believe that I am a GREAT mommy. I have friends who are stay at home moms who are great stay-at-home moms. They have made their choice and love what they do. Isn’t it OK that we have made different choices? I live in a place where I have no commute. I work 2 minutes from my home. I can run home and put my 1 year old to sleep for his nap when he is feeling sick, or go to school and attend events with my 3 year old (which I do regularly). My husband is an incredibly involved dad who stays at home in the morning with the kids until 9am, so that he can drop our son off at preschool. I can then go to work early so that I can then be home by 4:30, and my husband stays at work a little longer, but is still home from a family dinner at 6pm every night.
I have built my career around my kids, but I still LOVE my career. I am a happy person which I believe makes me a better mother, and a better wife. But my opinion by no means disrespects those who have chosen a different way of life. That is why it is a CHOICE. As long as a woman can choose what she wants to do then I think that choice should be respected. A bad parent will be a bad parent regardless of whether he/she works. Likewise with a good one.
And lets remember there are millions of single parents who really don’t have a choice. What makes them a good parent has nothing to do with how they bring in the money they need for their family. I teach my kids that very few things in life are black and white. I teach them that they need to make reasoned and informed decisions in life and I hope that other parents will teach their children the same.
Come on after all these decades of debating this topic can’t we all just make our choices without being judged? Sigh, can’t we all just get along? ;)
So I usually don’t post this many times in one day — and although I am a recent blogger, didn’t think I would link to the same blog twice in a day. But I just discovered Brazen Careerist and have had a great time reading posts related to her Sept 26th post. I just read her post “Blending my kids and my career” and was laughing out loud which really doesn’t happen often to me when i read something. I am not laugh-out-loud kind of person.
I have 2 kids and have not taken a maternity leave with either one. It just wasn’t possible, as I am involved in running a company. This sounds worse than it is. I work in an office where I brought my first son to work with me from the time he was born until he was 8 months old (ok that way way too long and really just crazy) and my second son into the office until he was 4 months old. I breast fed both my babies and as those of you who have done that know — it means that the baby is basically attached to you permanently for the first 3-4 months. Yes you can pump — but I was never the type that could pump that much milk. In order to breastfeed my children i really needed to do it myself for the first 3-4 months.
The first 3-4 months of a babies life — while hard on me to multi-task baby and office, it was actually easier then it sounds. I used a sling, and would just take the baby in there and breastfeed during calls, meeting, etc. A newborn really doesn’t do that much — and as long as my back could take carting the baby around in the sling day and night — my work really didn’t suffer.
BUT once the baby gets mobile, once the baby gets vocal — watch out! I too have been on calls when I run outside on the back deck — looking at my toddler through the glass doors — hoping that he continues to just do anything to be entertained — as long as its not dangerous. I have literally watched through he glass doors as my son “painted” one of our dining room chairs (with a white canvas seat cushion on it) with his non toxic “washable” paint (lets be honest — nothing that is red and gets smushed into white canvas — is ever coming out).
I read a related post that seemed to be chastising Penelope (from brazen careerist) for her post, wondering why we have to pretend our children are not present, when so many people in this day and age work at home. Sure in the perfect world we wouldn’t need to care if the journalist from the WSJ heard kids in the background. But this isn’t the perfect world. And to be honest I think that its also impossible to be interacting with your toddlers and concentrating on another conversation. And if you aren’t going to interact with a 2 year old for 20 minutes — and you want him to be safe, you might end up with coco puffs all over the floor, or red paint all over your white canvas seat cushions. And when my husband wondered why I let my son paint the chairs — I answered that I was just multitasking (keeping a child safe while conducting a conference call). Duh!