I Don’t Care…I Love It

So my post the other day, among many other things, got me thinking – about women in general and about my personal place in everything. I know it wasn’t quite what that post was all about, and it was maybe going off on a bit of a tangent, but the part about my own self confidence and feeling so inferior in a roomful of working mothers has really been getting to me.

The women I was with are wonderful and I feel blessed to have met them. They by no means do anything to make me feel bad. At the get-together the other night some of us were meeting for the first time and so we did a little introduction session. As each woman stated their children’s names and ages and then their profession, I began feeling smaller and smaller and less and less of a real person. When I spoke I was sure to emphasize my editorial work over my stay-at-homeness. Because, who am I really? They all have children AND jobs/careers//professions. Why do I only have the children part?

I think there is some pressure out there, both overt and implied, that in order to be a feminist, in order to be a real woman, and often in order to be a good mother, you must also have a career. I’m sure there are plenty of working moms who feel the opposite. But, especially here in New York, where people are so defined by what they do for a living and stay-at-home moms are rare, it can be easy to get caught up by feeling inadequate. And I’m not even totally a stay-at-home mom. I do plenty of paid work in addition to my child work and house work and everything else.

So, as I was working the other day, I took some time to think. If I wanted to go back to work full time, I most likely could. I know of a few things opening up and I’m sure I could make the change. But I tell myself it’s not possible because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if I admit that I could go back to work, and yet I choose to stay home with my kids, that I am some sort of failure as a woman. So I thought to myself. When I was working in publishing, at a job that I didn’t love, but liked and got satisfaction from, how did I feel? Now that I’m here, taking care of my kids and picking up freelance jobs, how do I feel?

The surprising answer is that overall, day in and day out, I am FAR happier now than I was then. I don’t want to feel guilty about that. When I was working, before I had kids, I was always longing for a change, looking at other jobs and other cities and other lives to figure out what it was that I really wanted. I still occasionally feel that way, but those moments are few and far between. I no longer have to contend with that constant pull of another life, that wistful feeling in the back of my mind, always telling me that what I was doing was not what I wanted to be doing.

I’m not happy all day everyday. I don’t get much time to myself. I don’t often get to do what I want to do. Little people, for whom I work very hard, yell at me every single day. I get exhausted and beaten down and overwhelmed. Sometimes I want to run away. Sometimes I am dying for uninterrupted, adult conversation. I am grateful for the connection I still have with my professional life and when I take a job that takes me out of the house, I really, really enjoy it. But mostly, I like where I am. I don’t want to be living another life and I think it’s time I accepted that. The fact that I am constantly telling myself that I need to be more than just what I am has been holding me back for far too long.

While I was running today, I had this song on repeat and I decided it’s going to be my new theme song. Don’t worry, I’m not planning on crashing any cars or pushing anyone’s shit down the stairs (although I am tempted from time to time). It’s the chorus that I need to remember, “I don’t care! I love it!”


7 responses

  1. From one stay-at-home-mom to another I have to say I know exactly what you mean. Saying ‘my full time job is staying at home’ seems an oxymoron to most people, but it’s so not. Dealing with kids day in and day out is damned hard work, especially when you’re trying to concentrate on writing. It’s frustrating and exhausting. Don’t let others’ opinions cause you to change. If you’re happy where you are, stay there as long as you can! I know I will 🙂

  2. Love this and so glad you posted. I’m on the other end contemplating becoming a stay-at-home mom. I could really relate when you described your lack of satisfaction when you were working outside of the home. This gives me hope and confidence in my decision. 🙂

    • It is definitely not an easy decision and it’s so hard to tell what is “right” until you’ve done it. All I can say is, commit to it and love all the lovely parts.

  3. This is an ongoing issue that I hoped was long gone! When your mom and I were in the midst of the baby/children years staying home was never looked at as important! At gatherings all would introduce themselves with their careers.It is hard to proudly state you are happy raising your children. I can tell you when they are out on their own we moms look back proudly that these wonderful young adults are loving caring thougthful adults. And yes i did go back to work….after everyone was ‘raised ‘….and I am so happy. There is time for everything….just take the time to enjoy each part of this journey.

    • It may be something that sadly never goes away. But we can always work on it , right? It’s hard to remember that things don’t have to follow a certain pattern, but my mom, and you, and so many others are proof.

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