Last year we moved across the country. I went from a world of mostly at-home moms to a world of mostly working-outside-of-the-home moms. The moms who were at the extreme ends of both, generally, were more dissatisfied with their situations.
The at-home moms craved their former careered selves, where they dressed up in normal clothes, used their brains in a different capacity and had meaningful adult conversations. The moms who worked outside of the home on a full-time basis were constantly wracked with guilt for not spending more time with their children, watching them bond with another caregiver, and feeling like they were missing out on these precious early years.
Obviously, everyone is different and personal and financial situations vary, but mostly these are moms who have a choice about their situations. And they’ve all wondered at some juncture how can they find better balance?
The grass is always greener, and this is a challenging topic due to many things, but mostly our culture as Americans because we are so defined by what we do for a job. At-home moms seem to suffer from the “If I’m not working outside of the home, who am I?” identity crisis. From that standpoint, it’s easy to grieve our lost identities as contributors to the American machine. Moms working outside of the home don’t necessarily want to go the at-home route because they, too, fear their own levels of self worth if they do.
The old adage is ripe with truth: Being a mother and parent is the hardest and most rewarding job you’ll ever have. It’s beyond a conventional full-time job. It’s 24/7 for the rest of our lives. Anyone who is a mom knows this. It is the most important job, yet somehow us moms still wrestle with it.
Recently, I’ve been meeting moms who are coming to terms with this, and are attempting to sort out their own personal balance on this issue. Most of them are trying the part-time approach. Whether it’s increasing or decreasing their hours, moms seem to be in hot pursuit of the ultimate balance. Half the week in an office. The other half at home. It makes sense.
So, is this part-time scenario the ultimate solution to finding balance? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the moms I see attempting this part-time angle have, as a crucial first step, forced themselves to let go of any social stigmas of what they should or shouldn’t be doing as modern day moms, and are figuring out what’s best for them, their kids and their families as a whole.
Every mom has different needs, desires, and dreams. And these little angels that come into our lives certainly rock our boats and make us question what we truly value.
And if ultimate balance is what you seek, you’re not alone. It seems the pursuit of that balance is more than worthwhile.