To work or not to work? That is the question. Now, don’t turn to society on this one. They have an extremely mixed bag of opinions as to whether or not a mother should work. And they’re usually strong and intense opinions. They don’t have the answer for YOU. Why? Because only YOU have the answer for you. Looking inside yourself is the best place to start.
I know. If you’ve been googling your little heart out trying to find the right answer, then I have sorely disappointed you. I’m not sorry, though, because doing what someone else tells you is best isn’t always the solution.
Growing up, my mom stayed at home with my siblings and me. There were times when she would work part-time, but more often than not, she was at home with us. She rocked at it. She didn’t sit on the couch and watch Oprah while finishing a whole row of Oreos. She took care of us, kept the house in pristine condition, did laundry, took care of the yard, ran errands, paid the bills, cooked dinner nearly every night, chauffeured us around to all of our activities and still managed to have time to love her three kids. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was superwoman, and I have the utmost respect for what she did.
I was undoubtedly a little girl who admired my mom and wanted to be just like her. So naturally, I wanted to stay at home with my kids when I reached that place in my life. Over time, I began to realize that I am, in fact, not my mother. I didn’t completely realize that I didn’t inherit her stay-at-home mom gene until earlier this year, though. When I quit my full-time job to pursue photography and motherhood full time, it became more apparent. I realized that running my business and pursuing photography makes me come alive. It’s not something I do because I have to. I do it because I want to. I do it because I’m passionate about it. And most importantly, I do it because it makes me a better mom.
You know that feeling you get when you immerse yourself in your passion? There’s this energy that boils up inside of you. There’s an exuberance about you. There’s this light that shines from you, because you’re so fired up about what you’re doing. That’s how I feel when I work now. It’s how I feel after a client meeting or finishing a photo session or collaborating with others in the creative community. So when I return home after working, that light shines. It pours over into the interactions I have with Beckett and Justin. I’m happier. I have more energy. I’m a better version of myself when I’m pursuing what I love.
So unlike my own mom, being a full-time stay-at-home mom isn’t the answer for me. I would never suggest that either one of us are wrong for choosing the paths that we did. We are different people with different needs. There are different things that make us the best moms we can be, and that is OK! And the same can be said for every other mom out there.
I urge you to do some soul searching. If you currently work, do you like the work you do? Do you feel energized at the end of the day, or do you feel drained and depleted? Does your job give you the opportunity to spend the amount of time you want with your family? If you stay at home with your children, are you doing it because you truly love it? Or are you doing it because you feel like you should? Whatever situation you’re in, if you feel like something is off, start taking the steps to correct it. Your solution could be getting a different job in a field you’re more excited about. It could be choosing to stay at home with your kiddos full time. It could be choosing to go back to work or even starting your own business.
The first step, though, is muting all of the noise you hear about what’s right and wrong. The only right answer is what is right for you and what makes you a better mom. So take a look at yourself and figure out what is best for you and your family, because really and truly…nothing else matters.