As I write this post my daughter is asleep on the next couch, suffering from a terrible cold + ear infection. It seems an odd day to write the optimistic follow-up to my post about the trials of being a working mom, but here goes.
One of the most important reasons that I work is that I mentally NEED to. Without my work, I get antsy. And when I get antsy, everyone suffers. I certain level of meaningful mental exertion is necessary for the good of all.
I also NEED social interactions outside of my immediate family and my circle of friends. While I love my husband and daughter beyond words, I need productive, professional relationships to nourish my mind and soul as well. In addition to my roles as mother, wife, and friend, my work life as a teacher, scholar, and writer challenges me and helps me grow into a better version of myself, who in turn is better able to be a good wife and mother.
It is also important to my family’s finances. I am fortunate to get paid by the university where I study (in return for teaching), so although daycare is expensive, it is a financial gain for me to work. The extra money I bring in supports our extracurricular activities, from date nights to special programs for our daughter. Because we both work, the family simply gets to do more.
In addition to present day finances, future economic stability depends on my contribution to the family. My husband will start his own firm someday, and my work will provide the funds and insurance we will need. Furthermore, you simply never know what’s around the bend. If my mother hadn’t always worked, my father’s early-onset PD diagnosis would have been even more devastating. Work = security, now and in the future.
I have known women who genuinely wanted to be homemakers and felt as though they were built for that life. Put simply, I am not, and fighting against the way God made me isn’t good for my daughter, husband, or me.
Life as a working mom is challenging and rewarding. There are days when I curse the multifaceted nature of my everyday life, but as I look at each part, from marriage to motherhood to friendship to work, each is important to my overall sense of well-being.
Too often women make excuses for working out of a sense of guilt that they should be at home instead of owning the fact that they like their work, like earning money for their households, and would be unsatisfied and unhappy without their careers. Feminism is about choice, so whether you chose to be a stay-at-home mother/homemaker or a working mom, own it, rock it, be it. You aren’t guilty of anything other than living your best life.