Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dear stay at home mother...

I recently came across this article and it really struck a chord with me. As a working mom, I have often felt the divide between the working mom and the stay at home mom. This is the article and this is my own article to the stay at home mother.
http://carolynee.net/a-letter-from-a-working-mother-to-a-stay-at-home-mother-and-vice-versa/

Dear stay at home mother,

I just wanted you to know that there is absolutely no judgment from my end. In fact, I think what you do is infinitely harder than what I do. Sure there are moments such as when I have to wake up little C earlier than she would like, force feed breakfast down her throat while trying to apply sunscreen all at the same time only to be late to work once again that I might think for a millisecond that it would be great to be a stay at home mom. However, the minute I do get to work and get to enjoy my morning coffee in silence. The thought crosses my mind for much longer than a millisecond that I don't know how you do it.

I am sure you are intimidated by me but I want you to know that I am also intimidated by you. I didn't breastfeed my little C the entire year. In fact, I had to hand off the role of primary caregiver to my parents for the first 2 years of her life. I had to be okay with not being the person who knew what her cries meant at all times and I had to be okay with not being the one she wanted at all times. Even now, I try but there are times we often settle on mac and cheese for dinner and I let her watch TV one too many times just so I can finish the work that I brought home with me.

I see you at the playground. But the minute I mention my occupation, I see that look in your eyes. It's as if we no longer have anything in common. But we are both mothers. I identify myself so much more as a mom than I do as a physician. So please don't be shy. I often find motherhood to be a sorority that requires an unending pledging process. How we do it is our own personal decision but we are all linked in our role as a mom, our role to take care of these little human beings and every day we wake up a superhero because what greater power is there than caring for the next generation?

So stay at home mother, please know I have nothing but respect for what you do. I had the most incredible stay at home mother growing up and often find myself at a loss, feeling unsure of how I can provide the love and security she gave me during my childhood to my own child. I had the best childhood because I had a stay at home mother so judging you would make absolutely no sense because I had the best childhood and the best mother.

However, I chose to work for reasons that are important to me. Just as I respect and understand your decision to stay home, I hope you can do the same for me. I love my child just as much as you loves yours. I constantly struggle with the working mom guilt and every day as I tuck my little C in bed, I question whether my decision to work will be worth it in the end.

Let's support each other. We are all united in the sorority of motherhood. Most importantly, I wanted you to know I get it. I really do.

Love, this working mom

5 comments:

  1. I agree that we should all support each other in the sorority of motherhood, but I don't think it's fair to say that what a stay-at-home mother does is "infinitely harder" than what we do. I think working mothers and stay at home mothers both have very difficult lives, just in different ways. I do appreciate your message of positivity and unity, though!

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    1. I should clarify. I meant being a stay at home mother would be infinitely harder for me! I don't discount what I do as difficult at all. I think its very difficult especially this year with my husband on the east coast and I'm still a resident with our 3 year old! But despite the difficulties, I love the challenges and intellectual stimulation from my career that being a stay at home mom would be infinitely harder on me for my own sanity. I didn't mean to offend anyone.

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  2. I disagree. I feel bad for stay-at-home mothers -- most are forced to be SAHM because of the high cost of daycare and/or internalized sexist messages. But I don't have anything in common with them. If I meet someone at the playground and it turns out that they're a SAHM, I'm usually the one thinking "well, guess I don't have anything in common with this person." The thing is I don't believe in a "sorority of mothers" -- I don't inherently have any connection to someone just because they happen to also be a female parent. I'm a person first, a doctor second, a parent third and I don't identify as a "mother" at all.

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