by Jaime Jo Wright
“Don’t you miss your kids when you have to leave for work?”
“How do you maintain balance in your life and give your family the time it needs – you know – since you work?”
“Do your kids feel like they suffer since you work?”
These are questions I’ve received in one form or another since I had my daughter in 2009 and went back to work full time, six weeks later. First of all, let’s get one thing straight: ALL moms work. Leaving my house by 7:30 AM every morning doesn’t put me in a different class of higher achievement, nor does it categorize me as a woman who’s independence soars above the nurturing heart of a woman who stays home—to work.
My answer to the first question was simple. Sure I do. Of course I miss my kids when I leave for work . . . Sometimes. Sometimes I don’t. *Gasp* SOMETIMES! I get in my car, wheel my way to Starbucks, breathe deep of the morning breeze, and enjoy the blessed silence of my morning commute. Moments before I’m slammed with the issues of a medium-sized company and the internal drama of a frat house dropped into a sorority house transplanted into a middle-school. Yep. Those days I definitely miss my kids. They’re simple.
I did struggle with it for several years. I struggled with guilt for loving my career, as if it knocked me down a peg (or 100 pegs) on the “good mom” scale. When others volunteered to pray for me so I could be freed from the need to go to my day job, I sort of stared at them. Please don’t. I love my job. Wait. I’m not supposed to say that out loud, am I?
One thing I’ve learned to really not like in American society is how Americans create moral issues out of those that aren’t. Maybe we’re so “first-world” that our problems become whether or not a mother’s feet are planted in the house or in a conference room.
My daughter put things into perspective not long ago during a bed time prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you for my wonderful momma. Thank you that she makes money so I can have my kitties and stuffed animals, and that Daddy can play with us. She’s pretty smart. Thank you that she loves me so so so so so so so much.”
It was the repetitive “so” that nailed shut the lid on any of my guilt. My daughter knows. She KNOWS I would die for her. I would lay my life down in an instant and take every pain, every grief, every hurt from that child. I would sacrifice my dreams, for hers. I would sacrifice myself for her.
To me, the greatest question I can be asked as a MOTHER, is: “Do you ever fear you aren’t able to show your children how much you love them when you kiss them in the morning? When you hold them at night? When you sneak notes into their lunch boxes? When you have slumber parties on the floor in their room? When you snuggle on the couch and watch Moana for the 5,000th time? When you make individually sliced grape and peanut butter “sandwiches”? When you feed their pet frogs meal worms cause, well, they’ll be heartbroken if those amphibians die?”
The greatest SHAME in being a working mom? Is when I allow my tasks and goals to take a position higher than my child. Than my family. Remember? A working mom has nothing to do with a woman’s GPS location during the day. All moms work.
Today, I go to work with no shame. My daughter knows I do it for her. To provide for my family, to further my own intellectual journey, and to teach her to be strong. To be the woman God created her to be, whether that’s home making amazing snacks for a class field trip, or leading a boardroom of male cohorts in decision making.
Because when the work day is over, the reason we do what we do will run into our arms and whisper, “You’re home!”
And then our day will begin . . . With joy.
Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com.
If you like what you read on Shame on Shanty, you might enjoy the book where she came to life. FOLLOW Shanty’s blog or COMMENT on this post, and be entered to win Varina Denman’s Looking Glass Lies. You’ll also be entered to win a copy of Jaime Jo Wright’s Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection. Winners will be drawn from blog subscribers and commenters. Good Luck!