I am in Week 6 of being a mostly stay at home mom (OK…so really I am working 4 hours a week out of the home and 10 hours a week in the home…but still more stay at home than I ever have previously) and here is my swan song: Staying at Home isn’t any easier than working outside the home.
To be honest, I already knew that it was hard and, in fact, was pretty sure that my part time work as a parent educator was actually good for me as a parent. Working outside the home gave me a break, gave me time to connect with adults, gave me a time to feel like I was contributing to society more than changing diapers and cleaning up gold fish. I have learned in the past few weeks that perhaps working was actually taking me away from many of the day to day nuances of my children’s personalities and behaviors. I was distracted by my to-do lists and often checking my email and phone for work updates. I wasn’t always emotionally present for my children’s needs.
NEWS FLASH: Staying at home doesn’t necessarily change that.
Now I am distracted by needing to clean up the mess that is continually being made, by the stacks and stacks of laundry and by the constant desire to check in on Facebook and Twitter (more on that issue in a later post). I am still feeling like I am not doing enough and not necessarily getting the one on one, down and dirty interaction time that my children desire so desperately. The truth is being a working mom wasn’t the reason I was feeling guilty and sometimes ineffective as a C-3 Parent. . . being distracted is the problem.
So to all of my friends, colleagues, and random blogging connections, let’s quit playing comparison. Talking about why staying at home is better for our children and that working moms are the reason for issues in today’s world, the issue is distracted parents who lack connection to their children and their needs, who are so tired and consumed with themselves that they can’t meet their child with compassionate responses, and who have inconsistent lives that make parenting consistently impossible. Let’s stop pointing fingers and debating whose life is harder….being a parent is HARD…..regardless of your work schedule.
Bottom line_Let’s become encouragers of each other. Let’s offer words of support. Let’s share our stories and strive to become C-3 parents (the best we can be). Let’s offer each other some compassion and grace (isnt’ this what we want to model to our children anyway). And Finally, let’s focus on our children, rather than comparing ourselves to each other.
Have an awesome week! Your homework: Spend at least 1 hour a day unplugged from distractions and plugged into your children.