When I was a SAHM for the first 12 year of my four children’s lives, I actually felt pretty confident as a mother and was secure in the choices I made, such as formula feeding my babies and sending them to public schools (just a few controversial topics). I respected other women and their choices for their children, and most of the time was respected for the choices I was making.
Back in the day when I was a SAHM
Cherished moments...I miss them...I still have them...they are just different.
It is now, as a working mother, that I am feeling less confident. I am not sure if it’s because my children are now older and the issues that come up seem much more complex, or if it is because I am no longer a SAHM and don’t have the time to devote specifically to motherhood. Maybe it is a combination of both.
This was taken shortly before I went back to graduate school...
I love my job. I love being a mother. I love being a wife. I don’t love doing all three at the same time. If I had the option, I would go back to being a SAHM in a nano-second. With eight college educations looming on the horizon, it would not be financially responsible for me to do that right now. As a result of my circumstances, I feel a sense of inadequacy on a daily basis because I am spread so thin in every area of my life. I feel like an ok social worker, an ok mom, and an ok wife…I no longer feel “good” at any particular thing because I am running from one responsibility to another all day long and into the evenings. It is especially hard for me because as I have mentioned before, I am a perfectionist and I know if I had the time, I could be a MUCH better mother, wife, and social worker….but there are only 24 hours in a day.
When my children were little, the biggest issues were related to things that seem silly now…potty training, the amount of television they could watch, their eating habits. I now have an eighteen year old, a fifteen year old, and twin twelve year olds…add four more step-children in the same general age range and the issues I face as a mother now are much more complex. Educating my children about drugs and alcohol, teaching them about healthy relationships, financial responsibility, and making good choices when faced with peer pressure are just a few. These types of issues weigh much more heavily on my mind because potty training later than most children is not going to affect the rest of your child’s life as texting and driving will if your child causes a fatal car accident while doing it (thank God we have not had to face this tragedy).
Intellectually I KNOW I am a good mom. Emotionally, I look at all of the things that I am NOT doing that I want to be doing and I feel inadequate. But at the end of the day, parenting is NOT about how many baseball games you attend or how many back-to-school nights you made it to. It’s about being able to raise children who are self-confident, emotionally healthy, and who are happy. I AM achieving that.
I may not have the time to do all of the things I want to do as a mother, but my children are happy, well-adjusted kids with good morals and values so I must be doing something right. I think that my best parenting skill is that I try to live by what I want to teach my children. Be honest. Be respectful. Take responsibility for your actions. Be kind. Be loving. Set goals. Work hard. Set priorities. Love yourself. Communicate. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Have fun. I think it’s working…
My four at my #1's graduation from high school last June...I am so proud!