I always worked outside the home, which my 2 daughters have chosen NOT to do. Each has miraculously accomplished pursuing their very different careers in the hours they manage to squeeze in, between, laundry, shopping, cooking, baking, wiping noses, trips to parks, driving to pre-school, spending hands-on quality time with their kids, and least of all, sleep, of which they are seriously deprived.
Both are incredibly talented women.
One, is amazingly artistic, reupholstering and refinishing furniture pieces. Her latest successful business endeavor is crafting beautiful hand-made objects out of granite and has successfully placed her unique pieces into many boutique stores all around the Chicago area.
The other is an amazingly talented writer and does PR and social media strategy for several clients in an array of businesses. She writes content, composes and edits posts and has a remarkably creative mind furthering clients’ reach in many media platforms.
They do this, all the while continuing to be “At-Home Mothers.”
They both decided that being home and raising their children was their first number one priority. So, their careers, successful as they are, take a back seat to their children’s needs. This is a tricky juggling act requiring equal parts finesse and time management, as each of their careers demand deadlines, delivery of product, professionalism, quality and dedication.
I find their decision admirable.
Mostly, because I was a full time working-outside-the-home -mother. My choice was not really a choice at all….it was an absolute necessity due to economics. Looking back, however, I must admit, had my husband agreed to a less than indulgent lifestyle (on his part), i.e., a new model Corvette a necessity, saving money NOT a priority, and the children’s welfare even less so. To this day, I wonder what the outcome may have been had I insisted on a refusal of all of this, but, as the marriage ended when they were just 8 and 13, it would become a moot point, as now a single parent, staying home with my girls would become only a distant hope.
My point, however, is this. I witness my daughters’ dedication to be totally hands on and immersed in the entire parenting process. Daycare for them, has never been an option. They are there for their children 24/7, and it is NOT easy.
While the role of a “working Mom,” is touted to be extremely difficult, I realize now, that while it is indeed, and I struggled with its anxieties, time constraints, juggling of chores, desperately wanting to be a doting mother as well as to excel at my career, I at least was rewarded with a paycheck and the feeling of accomplishment. I watch my daughters juggle raising their children often while their husbands travel for work, and fall into bed after doing it all without even so much as a bathroom break. While I had the “luxury” of stopping at the store after work on my way home to pick up necessities, my daughters must load all the kids into the car if they need toilet paper or diapers.
So who has it easier? Neither has it easy. While a working-outside-the-home-Mom does afford certain freedoms and autonomies, it also carries lots of guilt and sadness. Stay-at-home-Moms never get a minute to themselves, nor the recognition for staying home to raise their children, and sometimes, almost a disdain for not pursuing a career.
The elephant in the room? Why do husbands rarely ever face these difficult choices or inequities…..having to choose career vs. parenthood? Theirs is easy. They get to enjoy both……no questions asked.