Little did I know that my choice to continue working after we had Ava was a burden to my family. Who knew that there are so many naive, arrogant women out there who’s “hearts go out” to people like me who have to put their children in the care of someone else while we work? The working mom vs. stay at home mom war was never something I wanted to dip my toe into. I’ve always stayed on the fence, not really caring much about how anyone else chooses to live their life. But recently, I’ve been exposed to some condescending conversations where I’ve kept my comments to myself and now it’s my turn to speak out about my ‘neglectful’ parenting. Here are my answers to the top seven questions I’ve faced as a working mom:
1. Don’t you worry that you will miss out on so many memories?
Sure. Every important milestone in her development will occur during the 8.5 hours of the day that I’m not with her, right? Sigh…
2. It’s so unfortunate that you have to put Ava in daycare and have someone else raise her. Are you worried she won’t share your values?
Wow, I’m ever so grateful that this error in judgement has been brought to my attention. I wasn’t aware that having Ava spend the day in a childcare/school setting with 20 other kids would subject her to other people’s values and that those of her parents would be so insignificant. Seriously, this is one question I have a hard time answering because of the sheer magnitude of its stupidity.
3. Aren’t you afraid that something will happen to her while she is at daycare?
Sure, I worry, but I’m not a helicopter mom, either. I won’t die if I’m not there to kiss every boo-boo. But know damn sure that any inflicted boo-boos will have to be explained and otherwise justified in triplicate.
4. It’s unfortunate that you don’t have a job that allows you to work from home. Don’t you wish you did?
Isn’t it though? Oh wait, it’s not. I do have a job that allows me to work from home any time I need to do so without hesitation.
5. Don’t you think your daughter deserves to be the sole focus of your time and attention?
Well, when we are together, yes I do. But I’m proud of the fact that she’s comfortable in social situations and makes friends easily. I’m proud that her existence doesn’t revolve around me and vice-versa. She’s a well-adjusted kid and the world is lucky to have her.
6. Is your husband lazy? Is that why you have to work?
Oh yes, NASA contractors only hire the laziest of losers. I have to work just to make up for his space-running slacker ass.
7. Can’t you make the financial sacrifice to be there for your daughter?
My financial situation is nobody’s business, but since you asked … in a way I already do. I’ve been offered a handful of jobs that pay significantly more, with lengthy commutes I might add, and have turned them all down in order to be in a position that is more convenient and closer to home.
The fact is, I found a job that has a 15 minute commute that allows me to work from pretty much anywhere if I need to do so. My husband’s schedule is whacky, but he’s home a lot during the day and handles Dr.’s appointments and things like that.
You see, Chuck and I are a team. We both parent. Equally. And we both work 40+ hours a week. Rarely do I see working dads spend as much time with their children as he does and I feel it is directly related to the fact that we both work and share our parenting. Ava is intelligent, well-adjusted and loving and we are very happy with the level of care she receives during the day. When we’ve found we weren’t happy, we just moved her to another facility that fit us better.
Working allows us so many things. First and foremost it offers security. What if something happened to Chuck? His life insurance policy would cover the mortgage and other bills, but then what? And beyond that, Ava sees how hard I work. She says she looks up to me and she wants to be a mom like me. Those words make my heart swell.
Basically, our lifestyle works for us. And that’s what matters most. Find what works for you and focus your energy on your own happiness. I would think that all that valuable time people spend criticizing and condescending others for their choices is time better spent with their children. Don’t you?