I don’t like the what if game. I think we lead ourselves down an unhappy road if we start playing the what if game with the choices we’ve made in our lives. We’re on the path we’re on for a reason, and I’m a use your energy to be thankful for what you have, not use it thinking about what you don’t have. However, those what ifs still like to sneak their way into my thoughts. Early in my years of motherhood I played the what if game way too often with the question, “Would I be a better mom if stayed home with my kids?”
As a working mom that too often felt overwhelmed, which then led to feeling inadequate, there was a point where I found myself faced with this question too often. No matter what we choose-to stay home or go back to work after we have kids-I think many moms wonder about the other choice. All of us for different reason. I wonder how many asked themselves this very same question of whether one choice or the other would make them a better mom.
Over time I’ve come to see just as I don’t think a stay at home mom is a better mom than a working mom or a working mom is better than a stay at home mom, I knew whether I stayed home or worked, one doesn’t necessarily make me better in my role as mom. We become a different woman when we become a mother. We are not the same and never will be. We have to redefine ourselves in all our roles when we add the role of mother to who we are. Some of us stumble around more than others on this journey to find best version of ourselves, and I have definitely been one that has stumbled often. Motherhood requires sacrifice whether we stay home or work, and either way the woman we were is gone.
I struggled at times trying to find this best version of myself that could be a wife, mother, teacher, homeowner, pet parent, friend, and daughter/sister. As I became overwhelmed at times I thought maybe I’d be more successful in my roles of everything else if I abandoned my career and stayed home. The reality is we have good moments, bad moments, good days, bad days, we have good years, we have bad years, and it doesn’t matter what choices we make there are going to be tough moments. Either way we are going to feel unsuccessful some days. It doesn’t necessarily mean we are unsuccessful; it just that we’re not meeting our own high expectations but sometimes those expectations are also unrealistic expectations.
As I’ve now put in eight years into this motherhood thing I now see that staying home would not make me a better mom. I just need a little better balance in all my roles and sometimes I find that. Other times the balance gets away from me, and I’ve learned to reevaluate and make the changes that I need to feel successful in all the roles I must fulfill.
For me because of who I am personally I need and enjoy working outside of the home and giving it up wouldn’t make me a better mom because it would have been giving up on a part of myself. We each need different things to become that redefined woman we are after motherhood. Sometimes along the way we ask ourselves the what if questions but hopefully through the good and bad moments we start to feel more confident in the choices we made in this redefined version of ourselves known as mother.