Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am a WOHM! And Proud of it!

I don't often participate in the drama that tends to sometimes take place in blog land. I leave a comment here or there on hot button issues posts. But, here in Mayhem Land I tend to only post on about my kid's obsession with Max & Ruby, her adventures with Ollie, and we almost never miss a Wordless Wednesday. This blog is about my daughter - not conversation on health care, product reviews, or snarky-ness. That doesn't mean that I don't think about it, or that I lack passion on current events & hot button topics, it just that I reserve this space for Madaline's Mayhem.

However, this whole debate on the stay at home mom (SAHM) vs. the working outside the home mom (WOHM), presses a whole different set of buttons with me. It really gets the little hairs on the back of my neck to stand up and the adrenaline coursing through my veins. And, when Loukia over at Loulou's Views wrote "Why is it so hard for us to be kind to each other, to support the choices we make as woman? As mothers? Whether you stay home with your children, or whether you leave the house to go to work, you are providing for your family in the way that is best for you. Everyone has a unique situation. No one should be judged. Saying things like "I feel sorry for you" to a mother who goes to work is just ignorant. Or feeling sorry for a mom who is 'stuck' at home with her children all day when it is her choice - stupid. Who are you to judge this mom?" - it ignited a fight in me that I have not sensed in myself since my college adviser's Sex & Power In American Politics class. And, so, as I was typing out my comment to Loukia post regarding this subject, I realized that my comment, was more like a post. So, instead of hiding my thoughts and opinions on the subject matter in her comment section, I brought it home to my blog.

My daughter has spent approx. 10 hours a day, with a sitter since she was 6 weeks old, at least 4 days a week, sometimes 5, so that I could keep my job as a Marketing Specialist. And, trust me, there is no amount of guilt another mom could shoot my way, that would even come close to the guilt that I have and do pour on myself. And, trust me - people did it and still do. I always felt that even if someone was not overtly saying I was a bad mom, I felt that were saying it to me with the way they were looking at me. And, while I came to terms with my choice a long time ago, and made peace within myself, I still heap the guilt on myself. Some days, on our drive to the sitters, I flashback to that first day I droped Madaline off at the sitter. She was so tiny, didn't even weigh 8lbs yet, and needed to have mediciation administed four times a day for her GERD. And, then I remember the anquish I felt all the way to work that September day. I spent the first 1/2 of my commute crying because I left her in someone else's care. And, then for the second 1/2 of my commute I cried because I felt guilty that I was happy to finally be able to go back to work. I figure I do a good enough job at making myself feel guilty, I don't really need anyone else's help or eye rolls in that department.

I need to work just as much as a need coffee in the morning. I want to work. I love my job. I work for a great company and my boss is a good man. I would not be me if I didn't work. I feel that I have found a balance between my desire to be a mom and my desire to have a career. What I do not have a desire to be is a SAHM . I know in my heart that it was never the path for me. I know that I could not handle it. As awful as it sounds, there are times where I can not even handle the 3.5 hours we are home togther in the evening. Does that make me a bad mom? No. I think it makes me an honest mom and a good mom. I am the kind of mom that can admit openly that while I love my daughter to the ends of the earth and beyond, there are times that I don't like her. I admit, I miss the evenings where I would get home from work, soak up the peace & quiet, prop my feet up, and leaisurly drink a glass of wine. Now, my nights are filled from the moment I get home with "Mommy I want to go outside", "Mommy, me hun-gee", "Mommy, kitty scratch me", and much, much more. And, since my promotion from being a working woman to a working mom, my priorities in the evening are different. Now the dinner dishes go unwashed so we can play outside. Laundry goes undone and unfolded to allow more time for Mega Blocks and stories. Do I like it - No. But, I wouldn't have our evenings any other way.

And, perhaps most important reason I work, and why I am so proud of my choice, is that I feel that it is important for my daughter to see me work outside the home. Actually, I think it is goof for her to see that both my husband and I work outside the home. It is important for her to see me as someone other than just a mom. It is important for her to understand that the lifesytle she has is provided by living in a duel income household. I think it is importnat for her to see a unity, and often times a non-tradition division of labor when it comes to household chores. In our home, Madaline has seen that Daddy is capable of making dinner, doing laundry, loading the dishwasher and vacumming the floor. Just as she has seen that Mommy is capable of squishing spiders, taking out the garabage, changing a lightbulb and able to use the power tools.

But, in spite of being proud of my decision, it did take me a while to make peace with it. But, since I have, it was easy for me to stand firm in my beliefs. I know that I made my choice out of love for my daughter. Often times I am asked if I feel like my child is missing out or that I am missing out. I tell them no. I do not feel that my child is lacking in anything because I work full time outside of my home. I actually feel that my child has blossomed because of my choice. I feel that I am more focused on her when we are together. I feel that my daughter is more social, more out going, and less needy. I feel that I am raising a daughter that is more aware and better able to adapt. I think one of the greatest life lessons I have been able to teach her, and am currently teaching her is that it is possible to find balance and happiness in both a career and being a mom.

And, so, at the end of the day, I wear my title of Working Outside of the Home Mom, with pride. I am proud of who I am, the choice I made, and the postions that I hold. I am Heather. I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a Marketing Specialist. I am a Work Outside the Home Mom. But, the most important title that I have is, and the one that defines me the most - I am Madaline's mommy - will always be at the top of my business card, regardless of how many other promotions I receive.


Chronicles of Momnia said...

well said...i work outside the home part-time (three days) and am "mommy" the other two weekdays. it's a nice split for me. but, the point here is...IT IS A PERSONAL CHOICE. moms are not all cut from the same cloth and come on...can we all just agree that no matter if you're sahm, wohm, wahm or whatever...the sh&% is not easy.

@Jule_E said...

Thank you for this. I parent and work and believe it is as personal a choice as religion or shoes. Those who judge do so from a place of not being fully comfortable with themselves. We can't give them space in our heads.

McVal said...

I went to a party one time and a mother there said some things that really made me feel guilty about working. For us, it was definitely needed for both of us to work full time. At the time I just had one child. Since then whenever I see this woman, I have some bitterness toward her. She works out of the home now, but her kids are in high school now.
My job that I had for 16+ years was out of the home and I was just fine with that until they laid me off. I just feel lucky that I can work from home with my job now. It's a 40 hour work week, but I get to go inside for lunches and get to close the door of my office at 5.
It's definitely a personal choice type thing. Mom's come in all shapes and sizes and workloads.
I remember when my son was really young. I felt like you. I couldn't WAIT until 7:30 when I could put him to bed! My days were so stressed and stretched thin then! I know what you're going thru.
Great post!

jenjen said...

I think it is great that you work and love it. And it is a great example to your kids. I often wonder if I made the right decision to stay home, but I know that I will be working again. I just loved it.


amylou1977 said...

great post Heather

Dolli-Mama said...

I am sad that there is a debate in the first place. We are all mothers, doing the best for our families. And whether we work outside the home or inside the home, we all have to choose everyday to be the best mothers we can, no matter where we spend our time. It makes me sad that there is a fight to begin with.
I read your blog and I think you are an excelent mother, and I respect your decision to work outside the home. What kind of a mother would I be if I didn't? A bad one.

Connie Weiss said...

Thank you for sharing your opinion Heather!

I always wanted to stay home. I would be very upset and not at all comfortable working and I've made it clear to my husband that I intend to stay home until the kids graduate from high school.

I admire you for working...I just know I couldn't do it and all the crap I have to do at home.