The other morning I was walking to a breakfast and passed a Mom with four kids. She was in shorts and a t-shirt pushing a stroller with a baby strapped to her chest, one kid standing on the back of the stroller, one in the stroller and a fourth walking next to her. The kids had to all be under 5. It got me thinking.
I sat down with my friend for breakfast and I just started talking about it. He has three young kids and moved out to the suburbs a few years back. His wife works four days a week. I know from living in the suburbs that there are mothers that don’t work, mothers that work part time and mothers that work full time. There is an obvious line drawn in the community from those who get called to be involved in the school and those that don’t. There are bonds formed around women who are in one category. There are a couple of men starting to take on the “at home” role but few and far between. Lots of the conversation is completely centered around the kids. Women on one side, men on the other at events.
The obvious question after seeing that mother is does she stay home for a decade or when does she return to work. Seeing that woman juggle those four kids is hard work. It is amazing that she can stay home and do that but is that a good thing forever? Data shows that kids of working mothers are actually better off.
My friend who has 3 kids and a fourth on the way is trying to figure it out. She wants to work. Her oldest daughter wanted to know why she goes to work every day. It upset her but the truth is her daughter was just stating something. She happened to be written up in the newspaper that day so she showed her daughter that Mommy was doing something that made a difference. That difference happened to be making an impact on the underserved but the reality is working makes an impact on her well-being Essentially saying to her daughter that you are my number one but I need to do something that is for myself is important.
The importance of women figuring out how to get back into the workplace after staying home for a few years is beyond important. It gives them their own identity. It says to her own kids that she is doing something that she can call her own. That by going back to work she is showing her children that work is positive. Moms are the role models to their children.
Staying home with our children for a few years at two separate times was an incredible experience and a great opportunity. Returning to work under my own terms is rewarding. I’ve been able to create my own life that is connected with their vs just being part of theirs.
Yes…that is all the thoughts that rambled through my head in one short burst. I am still thinking about that woman. She has a long road ahead. Her kids are young. Raising children is probably the most rewarding thing that I have ever done in my life. Nothing else compares. Going back to work wasn’t easy but it has allowed me to look in the mirror and not wonder what happened to that young college girl who thought she could take over the world. She is actually still here.