Have you ever felt judged for your lifestyle choices as a parent?
If you’re like many others, you probably have been. Whether you stay at home, work at home or work at an office, chances are you’ve had discussions about your choices with others who’ve had different views. Family members, parents, in-laws, friends and acquaintances can all have their own opinions about what is best, but ultimately when it comes down to it, each person, parent and family has a different situation, unique to them. It’s not up to others to dictate how we should or shouldn’t structure our lives.
Pressure and Comparison
However, the pressures of achievement and comparison can sometimes make a person feel unworthy or not enough if they aren’t where their friends or others are at in their lives. Many moms and parents who choose to stay home with their little ones sometimes feel (or are made to feel) as if they aren’t doing enough or succeeding in life the way their friends and other working peers are.
Mommy and parent wars about what is best to do, to work or to stay home with the kids are oh so old, but unfortunately ongoing. The fact of the matter is there is no one way that works for everyone.
When I first became a mom, I decided to spend the first few years of my daughter’s life at home with her. I grew up in a family where both parents worked and were often very busy, I also had friends with similar family structures, as well as those where one parent stayed at home. I realized that there was no right or wrong lifestyle. I saw the benefits my friends with stay-at-home parents had and how it impacted their lives, as well as the benefits of having both parents who were working full-time. I was also able to see the drawbacks of each, realizing there were pros and cons to both lifestyles and that it’s up to the individuals and families to determine what works best for them.
To the stay-at-home parent
If you’re a mom and you’ve made the decision to stay home with your little ones until they are old enough to go to school or until you feel ready, you’re working and contributing just as much to society as a mother who goes to work in an office and hires help to look after her kids. Rather than hiring and paying for help, you’re taking on the responsibility of caring for and nurturing your child full-time, which is NO small task. In fact, a stay-at-home parent that is present for their young child (or children) can make a huge difference in their lives, increasing their confidence and helping through those early developing years. While you might not get any monetary recognition or bonuses or raises, the priceless experiences you’ll have can be well worth it.
To the working parent
If you’re a working mom and are trying to make ends meet or are in a career that keeps you fulfilled and happy and pays the bills on time, you’re contributing not only to society but to your family as well by choosing the decision that’s best for you. If you’re happy doing what you do, and you’ve done your best to hire trustworthy and caring help, it can be far better for your child to see you working and learn from you, building their confidence when faced with future career goals. It can also be better for you, the home environment and those around you if you’re doing what makes you happy. Your contentment can radiate and have a ripple effect on your loved ones too.
Everyone’s situation is different
What we’ve got to acknowledge is that the needs of all parents are different. As a stay at home mom you might have to focus more on carving out time for yourself and your personal life goals down the road, perhaps when your kids are older or when they start school or at a time you choose.
As a working mom, you might need to focus on carving out time for your family and kids, perhaps in the evenings during dinner time and weekends.
But whatever you do and whatever your situation, don’t get pulled into the comparison game. You have the ability to make the choices, the ones that are the best for you and your loved ones.