When my first baby was born, I decided to give up the career and the professional world and stay home with him. I was in my late 20s and thought that was the best thing to do, for both of us.
And I still feel that way. I know those first few years of a baby’s life are the most crucial for bonding, development, and maturation. I truly enjoyed every minute I spent with him. But I soon began to realize, that I also love to work. So, I devised an in-home job for myself; with my innate entrepreneurial personality (that I gained from my great-grandfather, my grandfather, and my dad) and started my own resume writing business.
Amazingly, it took off! I was super busy, but I always managed to realize what was most important, and that was that little baby boy. I never let my business interfere with my time with him. I would work while he napped, or after he went to bed, but through it all, I was Mommy, first and foremost.
Then after some changes in our lives, I had to go back to work full-time. But luckily by this point, he was old enough to go to “big boy school.” These changes left me as a single mom, with a little boy to care for. But I knew I could do it, and I did.
Fast forward almost 12 years, and I am happily married with two more boys, that keep me active and busy. But this time around, I have been a working mom the entire time. I am not going to say it has been easy. Because there are those days that I take off, to for some “me time” and I end up cleaning the house, or getting ahead on laundry, or actually having the time during the day to cook and plan a wonderful meal for my family.
But after the initial changes in my life, I made a promise to myself, that I would always be able to support myself, and my child (or children). With that, I am very lucky to have a job, that I can leave in time to pick them up from school every day, spend time with them in the afternoons, help them with homework, and still get them to whatever activity is on the calendar.
As I coasted through my 30s and into my 40s, I soon began to realize, that I love to work. Not only do I have my full-time job, but I always have another project on the side going.
Unfortunately, though, my job requires that I work year-round, so summers are always the hardest. And this summer was particularly hard. My two youngest are old enough now to realize that mom leaves all day, and they are home with a caregiver, if Daddy is off flying, too.
So, this summer, I faced the hardest question a Mommy will ever have to answer… “Why do you have to go to work?”
At the beginning of the summer it wasn’t too bad; but as the days progressed, I was asked that numerous times, especially by my youngest. It broke my heart. And as an adult, I wanted to scream “Because I must pay for groceries, and clothes, and pay the bills, and buy things you want, and save up for your college education!” OR “I will never be caught in the same situation I was in 12 years ago, without a job, on my own, and raising a child!”
But looking into those two sets of blue eyes, I knew that would never go over well. So, I tried the simple answer… “Mommy has to help Daddy pay for the house and all your toys, and if we want to go on a vacation, Mommy has to help Daddy with that too.”
And so of course, my middle one, who has an answer for everything, said, “You quit working mom, make dad pay for it all, and we can sell the house.”
Sounds pretty simple to me, doesn’t it to you? If only they understood, what we, as parents, do for them; and how it does actually break my heart a little every day that I’m not at home, making beds, cleaning dishes, and preparing dinner. Instead of running in at night, on activity days, eat whatever is in the crockpot, do homework and rush off to bed.
Hopefully one day, those blue eyes, will wake up as an adult, and realize exactly what their working-Mommy sacrificed for them, to be able to give them the moon.