The pressure to be a ‘good’ mom is huge! We feel pressure from our kids, our husbands, our parents, other moms and dads, and MOST of all, ourselves.
I find it interesting that one of the first questions people ask when meeting someone is, “What do you do for a living.” For a mom, no matter your answer, the feeling of judgment often follows. Not that judgment always DOES follow, we just FEEL that it does. It feels like your answer will reveal whether you are a ‘good’ mom or not.
If you respond with, “I am a stay at home mom” or something similar, to someone that is not a stay at home mom, some of the ‘not so great’ responses I have heard are:
“Oh, so you don’t have a job?”
“What exactly do you do all day?:
“I’d get so bored if I stayed home all day.”
“Don’t you want to do something with your life?”
“You must have so much free time!”
“What are you going to do when all your kids are in school?”
“I would love to not have to work, you are so lucky!”
“Don’t you want to contribute something to your household?”
There are some that make judgments but most of the time, these statements are made simply because they do not know what it is like to be a stay at home mom. On the other hand, moms that work outside of the home get the same kind of pressure. When a mom answers the same question with a description of her paying job, some of the ‘not so great’ responses I have heard are:
“Oh, you can’t afford for you to stay home?”
“Are you worried about how your children are being treated in child care?”
“I would hate having someone else raising my kids.”
“At least you have nighttime to be a good mom.”
“Maybe if you were home more your child wouldn’t act out.”
“I’ll pray that you get to stay home with your kids soon!”
“If you can afford to stay home, then why do you go to work?”
“Do your kids ever feel abandoned?”
It’s easy to say, “Just ignore them, they don’t understand!” but it is much more difficult to actually do that! As I started thinking of how to spread the word that we are all good moms, I realized that it doesn’t really matter what other adults think or say. Everyone has a different ‘recipe’ for how to be a good mom and the only opinions that really matter…..are our kids….
I am writing this on a charter bus…on an 11-hour trip home from a percussion competition with my son and about 30 other high school percussion kids. I thought, maybe we need to hear their perspective of their own stay at home or working outside of the home moms…..here is what they said (with no alterations….they say “stuff” a lot)
Stay at home moms:
“I respect that she made the sacrifice to stay home with us kids and not work outside the home.”
“I enjoy her being around a lot.”
“She always tends to her kids before she tends to herself. It makes me feel important”
“I respect that she stays at home even though she would like to work, because she wants the best for us and loves us and stuff.”
“Just because she is home doesn’t mean she is not working. She is always working and doing stuff. She never stops.”
“She can always come to my band or sport stuff. It’s ok if she is busy with stuff or my brothers or sisters, but I like that staying home means she can do that.”
“I like that she is always there when I get home from school and I get to talk to her.”
“Since she is at home, I get to spend more time with her.”
“I like that she is not stressed about working and stuff.”
“I’ve never seen someone work as hard as my mom…and she doesn’t even get paid”
Working outside of the home moms:
“It’s great that she is independent and she can do what she wants.”
“I have never wished she stayed at home, it is a role model kind of thing.”
“I appreciate her attitude about the fact that she likes to work.”
“My mom has friends through work….I think it’s great! …do stay at home moms have friends?” (I laughed so hard at this one I almost wet my pants)
“She uses her work money to give me gas money…I appreciate that!!”
“I think it’s good that she can get outside of the house.”
“As a kid, you don’t think of the difference. I don’t think, I wish she stayed home”.
“She really likes her job a lot and it makes her happy which makes me happy.”
“She provides so it helps pay bills and pay for college, which I appreciate a lot.”
“She does what she loves and still makes time for me and my family. I get to see her every day.”
“I get to share her love of music with her, it is her job, and we talk about it every day after school.”
“I know we will always have insurance…she works in insurance.”
“She is willing to get another job and stuff in order for us to have what we need.”
“I respect that she is a hard worker.”
I did not get any negative comments from these kids at all! They all think their moms are the best…because they are the best mom for the kids that God gave them!
What would your kids say about you? If you don’t know the answer to this question……ASK THEM! You don’t have to limit this to whether you work inside or outside the home, ask them what they appreciate about you, what they want more of from you, and what they want less of from you! Don’t be afraid of their answers. Some may be hard to hear, but how do you know unless ask?
The bottom line is, we are all ‘working’ moms. We are working to raise our children and make sure they know we love them! Don’t ask yourself if you are being a good mom….ask your kids!