You know how you can tell someone is a true friend? They always tell you the truth, and they are not afraid to point out when you have made a mistake. Last week, in an attempt to adequately describe stay-at-home moms’ frustrations with returning to the workplace, I made a big mistake. I overlooked the feelings of fellow working moms. Thankfully, my good friend, AG, kindly pointed this out to me. AG spoke about looking forward to my success. While in the same breath, she pointed out that although at-home moms feel like they have to sacrifice themselves when they go back to work, career moms have made various sacrifices for years. Thank you AG! That is a good friend.
The ultimate goal of the post was to push for greater respect between stay-at-home moms and career moms, but it seems as though I undermined myself in the process. Thankfully, life is a learning curve, and I was able to see the holes in my argument after some help from a good friend. SO, I am rephrasing my argument a bit.
I believe the ultimate goal is collaboration between stay-at-home moms and working moms. I spoke about it in my first blogging attempt – a mentorship opportunity between career moms and at-home moms. Can that exist?
I am sure that over the years, career moms feel as though they have given up certain experiences with their children, struggle with the debate of quantity vs. quality, and feel torn most of the time. On the flip side, stay-at-home moms often feel ill prepared to get back into the working world. This is where the respect part comes in. Career moms can take advantage of their life experiences and better positions to mentor the stay-at-home moms. Concurrently, at-home moms can reserve judgment about the career mom’s choices. After all, we are all women and we should be allies instead of foes.
When I told my almost 10-year-old that I was starting a business, he exclaimed, “Mom, I am only 9, I still need you”. As working moms or moms contemplating working opportunities, we all struggle with similar dilemmas. By working together, we could at least solve part of the dilemma.
For stay-at-home moms who are looking into work options, this is my personal list of tidbits! I think that we cannot even enter the discussion of (presumed) work life balance that career moms struggle with until we do the following:
1) As a preliminary step, evaluate what you absolutely cannot give up as part of your role as an at-home mom. Do you still want to be there most mornings as your children leave for school? Can someone else wash your kids’ dirty socks sufficiently? Do you want to make dinner every night or can your partner? Or even better – delivery pizza is just fine? In this process, look at your what your typical week looks like and what you can and cannot give up.
2) If your kids are in grade school, it is best to be open with them about your decision and leave room for dialogue. Tell them what is still going to be important for you to do with them.
3) Find a friend who can be your sounding board. Do not try to go about this alone. It is a fun and exciting time filled with ups and downs, so you will need someone to discuss it all with. AND, someone who is going to be honest with you.
4) Remind yourself to take a DEEP BREATH! Pace yourself in your endeavor and enjoy each minute because it is a brand new adventure for you.