Letter from a Work-From-Home Mom: We're All in the Same Boat
Odds are, your Facebook feed has been inundated with a set of letters one blogger wrote — kind, gentle "I get you" notes from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom, and vice versa. Basically, one blogger's attempt to stop the imaginary "mommy wars" with imaginary love notes. And maybe you've also seen the blog posts shredding apart these letters as retro drivel that doesn't do any good for anyone, disrespects moms who work (or don't) because they have no other choice, and basically read like they're written by someone who doesn't know any better.
So here's the letter you didn't get—from the work-from-home mom, the hybrid mom who kinda understands both the SAHMs and the working moms. The one who shushes her kids for work calls and feels guilty when she's revising a report on her smartphone during the school concert. The one who blocks off her calendar to read stories to the first grade class and folds laundry on conference calls. The one who will be letting her kids spend their sixth snow day of the year tomorrow playing Disney Infinity ad infinitum, so she can attend to a series of meetings and must-dos.
But the truth is, there's no one perfect way to be a mom—we're all just doing what works best for our families (and hopefully, ourselves) at the moment. Whether we work or stay at home or work from home, we're all stretched too thin, we're all losing patience with our partners and our kids, and we're all doing something that would lead to lots of snickering and eye rolling from other moms. We're all soldiering on with too little sleep and too little time. And we've all internalized too many blogs and Pinterest posts and media stories that make us feel like we're not measuring up if we don't have a clean house, fancy handcrafted valentines treats, a C-level executive job and a hot date with our spouse on Saturday night.
We need to Just. Make. It. Stop. We need to throw our fellow moms a lifeline, instead of a snarky comment. We need to keep our mouths shut about others' parenting choices (unless it's something that's truly, absolutely dangerous—like a toddler in a high wire act). We need to mind our own business, keep our eyes on our own papers, and vow not to be the catty commenter or the queen bee mom who looks down our nose at our friends' baby name choices or vaccination regimen. Don't rock the boat—we're all on it.
And while we're cutting other moms a break, we need to cut ourselves one, too. Because if you're anything like me, you probably beat yourself up on a daily basis for at least half-a-dozen things you think you did wrong, the countless ways you don't measure up to an arbitrary ideal that no single supermom could ever become. You are worried that you're ruining your kids by letting them watch too much TV, or yelling when you're 10 minutes late for school (again), or picking up a birthday cake from the supermarket instead of handcrafting a Pinterest masterpiece. But that worry—that's exactly what we're all doing wrong. Because in the end, it won't really matter if you feed them sugary cereal or fresh-made organic granola, if you work a crazy-hours job or homeschool them, if you cart them around to 20 different extracurriculars, or don't sign them up for a single one. The key isn't doing this whole crazy mom thing "right." The key is making sure that your kids know they're loved. And if you've accomplished that, you're golden.
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Image: Working Mom by Pim/Shutterstock.com