I mostly read in sound-bites….RSS headlines, emails, friend’s status updates, etc. But I read enough to know that there are millions of mothers who make quite possibly the biggest decision of their lives, every day: to work or to stay home. The blog coverage alone on this topic could fill an encyclopedia. It’s a highly emotional topic, and often the decision is being made in the midst of a hormone surge. But the thing is, the decision doesn’t end once you make it. What I now realize is that it’s not a popular topic because it’s such a difficult decision, (and because it creates a great divide socially between mothers, another topic altogether) but rather because it’s a decision that a mother faces every single day.
I recently saw a post from a woman who was blogging from her mobile device while commuting on the train home. Her words were riddled with guilt and anger as she clicked away on her keyboard, all while watching the minutes tick closer to her child’s bedtime. She was trapped in the clutches of the daily grind, missing out on her only special moments with her children that day. She had already made her choice….to work full time, yet here she was, still talking about the decision years later.
A few weeks ago I spent time with a girlfriend of mine, a stay at home mother of three. She met me for lunch in my swank office building, looking around with starry eyes at the whole sophisticated scene. She turned to me at one point and said, "wow, you must be so proud of what you have accomplished." She went on complain about her sweatpant clad days of time-outs and potty training, adding that she was going back to teaching at some point.
I suppose the old adage applies, the grass is always greener.....The problem of course, is that there is no right answer for someone making that choice. So, as I sit here saddened by the holiday concerts I will miss and the classroom volunteer opportunities I cannot raise my hand for, regretting the energy I am giving to a boss who is never satisfied, I too am struggling with the choice I made so many years ago. The only comfort I take is in the fact that I had the choice to make at all.