I’ve mentioned before that I had no prior experience with babies before having SJ. It’s true. Consider also that I was in trial at eight months pregnant and spent my entire pregnancy prior to that gearing up for trial, and you might start to see why I’ve been forced to adopt a “learn as I go” approach to parenting. Don’t get me wrong, I read as much as I possibly could while balancing an overwhelmingly-demanding career and my everyday life as a human incubator, all while simultaneously buying a condo and preparing for the arrival of my little girl. But compared to stay-at-home moms who have the luxury of spending as much or as little time as they need mentally and physically preparing for and nurturing their babies — it’s no contest; they win. And I swear they know it.
Look, as a working mother, being around stay-at-home moms can be frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nodded my way through conversations on various subjects, like security blankets and sleep training authors, only to later run to my car, pull out my Iphone, and freak out over yet ANOTHER thing I had not the slightest clue about. Even reading blogs or comments on baby websites requires a secret decoder: I’m a CPA and a lawyer, and I’ve never seen so many acronyms in my life! It’s a little ridiculous. The worst, though, are the boastful jabs about how rewarding it is to be at home full-time, “It’s just the most important job I could be doing right now” or “I feel so sorry for other women who have to miss these important milestones . . . .” Thanks.
I would by lying, however, if I said I didn’t sometimes envy these women. Occasionally, while driving to work, I’ll see a cute mommy, pushing her little one in her jogging stroller and think, “I wonder what her husband does, that she can afford to stay home,” or “I wonder how many things she gets to do with her baby that I don’t.” It’s silly. But still, it happens. Inevitably, though, I’ll ask myself, “Would I really be happy staying at home full time?” or “Am I really cut out to stay home?” I don’t know that I would/am. Nor do I think that’s anything to be ashamed of.
Although we aren’t necessarily the first women to champion equality in opportunity among men and women, we might be among the first women situated to really try and practically accomplish it, without being wedded to traditional gender roles. We are forging new paths. And while it doesn’t come without sacrifice, it’s okay to embrace a less-conventional life — if that’s what you choose to do. I love my daughter. I absolutely cherish being a mom, and all that I do every day in this world is to provide for her and to set a good example. But I’m not sure that means I should have quit my job and stayed home full time to raise her.
So, I learn as I go. I have my reference books, which I read in order to keep myself educated on what to expect in the coming months. I ask questions of SJ’s pediatrician about what I should be doing. I listen to and try to learn from other women, working or otherwise, who have been there before and who have great advice to share. And I share the burden with SJ’s Dad, who stays home with her and who, frankly, knows her best.
The hardest part, in my opinion, is forgiving yourself for trying to do it all. So, if you’re a working mom like me, don’t hate yourself for it. Instead, try and accept it. Because as long as your little one is getting the care and love he or she needs, that is what counts. And by all means, if you have words of wisdom to share with those of us still trying to figure it out, please feel free to share!
Doing-It-All Mommy XO