I forwarded an email exchange a friend and I have been having to ~J and she requested that I ask the author to make a post out of it. My friend is quite lovely and bold, but hesitated to post something that she felt was "just off the top of her head." So I am posting it for her and keeping it anonymous. So there.
The topic that we were discussing is the internal struggle that mommies often feel when we express frustration at staying home to a listener who may not be sympathetic to women leaving the workforce. We feel guilty because we know that we have made the right choice for ourselves and our families, but we still don't like it all of the time. The response we often get from listeners is "Just go back to work." "Leave your kid in day care." "They really like being in preschool better than staying at home" "You need to get away from kids and back with adults" And then we feel stupid. Because we don't know what to say to that. So here is what she told me--I hope that you enjoy it!
Staying home to raise your kid IS hard. I know it sounds cliche. But it's such an all encompassing, divine nature building trial. It's hard in that it is an on-going experience which molds and shapes our very nature!!!! We have to LEARN how to enjoy mommyhood with all of it's scrapes and bruises. Some people seem to fall more naturally into that role than others. They make me feel guilty. But it also makes me sad when I see a mom run away to work as an escape. As if she's not cut out for motherhood because it is hard for her. Have they never done anything hard in their life??? What do you do when you want to accomplish something hard? If it were a work project or school assignment, you'd inform yourself, you'd practice. You might fail a bit. You'd seek support from people who have experience or knowledge in the area. The more energy you put towards a trial, the more you will grow and learn and accomplish. It would be hard to complete an assignment and REALLY gain from it if you just did what you knew and then handed the rest over to a "professional" when you'd had enough. There are so many reasons for a mom to work. But working as an "escape" from other trials is so sad. Instead of addressing the real issues for unhappiness... and finding potential happiness and fulfillment...women look for a quick fix that can impede growth.
I'm realizing that this might not be coming across the way I'd intended. If you feel any guilt from reading any part of this I have not expressed myself very well. Forgive me.
REASON to work is the issue here. Don't thinks me a working-mom hater. Prayer and personal revelation can help us find the path that will be best for our family.
The path of refinement and development of our divine traits does not lie on either the working mom road, or the stay at home mom road. It lies in doing your best to fulfill your calling as a wife and mother. That's it!!! We just keep plugging away. As a daughter of God you are not asked to be perfect. What a relief to not have to try and figure out what choices are the "perfect" ones!!!!!! That's my advice to you. Stop trying to be perfect. Trying to be a "perfect" mom will overwhelm you. At least that's what it does to me. I don't even see myself as trying to be "perfect" when I am struggling as a mom. But when I think about it....that is what brings me down. In my head I'm not living up to some whack perfect ideal. It snowballs from there.
This is one of the reasons that I started Good Mommy/Bad Mommy-to start some discussions between women who are smarter than me.