Some of my stay-at-home-mom friends started going back to work recently. It got me thinking about moving in that direction as well. Because, well, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?
Often, I was asked what I would do with my free time now that my kids were in school. It made me feel like I should be considering something other than motherhood. Something more than motherhood. I started to think my role in the home wasn’t enough to keep me occupied, satisfied or fulfilled.
With my kids in school (although only three days a week for my littlest ones) I felt an urge to devote myself to a job outside of the home. Where was the urge coming from? Career moms in the workforce were earning money, looking pulled together and managing their family. Admittingly, it all sounded so amazing, fulfilling, glamorous even. I thought I wanted be like those other moms. They do it all, I could it too.
So, I went back to work. I found a job, got it, and hit the ground running. A few weeks in and I was on fire. But just as quickly as the flame began burning, it began to fizzle even faster.
It felt like a trap. The grass is always greener trap. As soon as I went back to work I wanted to be home with the kids. But at the same time, I liked the independence, the adult conversation, the sense of accomplishment and the money.
I lived with a feeling of never doing anything well. I felt I was failing in one area while succeeded in another. If I did well at my job, my kids were picked up late, I fed them fast food and felt out of control. If I felt I did well as a mom, I wasn’t making my goals at work. Personally, I couldn’t get the balance and I wasn’t happy.
Where did I go wrong? It was my motivation for returning to the workforce and my lack of perspective. I went wrong when I allowed myself to believe it wasn’t good enough to be a stay at home mom anymore. That that job wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t good enough. That I would be defined by my job, and not by who I really am. I can see now how I was chasing some kind of validation; more of a tangible appreciation for my hours in the day. Something to show for it.
It was as if I was following the same script for motherhood as those around me. Except, my ending wasn’t looking pretty. So, I flipped the script. I rethought my choices. Turns out, presenting myself with a choice made me see things differently and it empowered me.
It reminded me that motherhood is the job I prayed for; the job I pretended to have as a little girl, one of the most important jobs there is and I am damn good at it. I decided to own it. To be confident in my choice to be a mom whose full-time job is taking care of my family.
Maybe, for me, just knowing that I can go back to work, that I can succeed and earn money and that I am good at other things outside of my family is enough to make me really appreciate the long, leafy grass I am standing in right now.