What you need to know:
- The nay-sayers do not understand that you run a household and hold a job.
- You come home, cook dinner, bath your children and read them stories. You tuck them in and kiss them goodnight.
- You pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, the laundry, the dishes, just like every other mother does.
Dear working mum,
I know you sometimes get judged by others for leaving your children in the care of others. Some people imply that you don’t love your children as much as we, stay at home mums, do, and that it’s best for children to be at home with their mothers.
How can they say this about you? I know you love your children just as much as any other mother. I know that going back to work was no easy decision. You weighed the pros and cons long before you conceived a baby. It has always been one of the most important decisions of your life. You thought about this even while you were in high school.
I see you everywhere. You are the doctor I take my children to when they are sick. You are my child’s allergist, the one who diagnosed his allergy for eggs. You are the physiotherapist who treated my husband’s back. You are the accountant who helps us file our tax returns. My son’s primary school teacher. The director of our childcare center. My son’s music teacher. What sort of world would it be if you had not been there for us? If you had succumbed to the pressures of those who insisted a mother’s place had to be in the home?
I know you weigh up every job to see if it will suit your family. I know you wake up an hour before everyone else does, just so you can get some exercise done or some quiet time. I know that you have attended meetings after being up all night with your toddler.
I know that when you come home in the evening, your “second shift” begins. The nay-sayers do not understand that you run a household and hold a job. You come home, cook dinner, bath your children and read them stories. You tuck them in and kiss them goodnight. You pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, the laundry, the dishes, just like every other mother does.
I know that you often feel guilty about having any more time away from your children so you sacrifice your leisure time. I know you cannot bring yourself to take a day off for yourself when your children are at daycare. I know you accept that work is your time off for now. I know that when you are at work you don’t waste a single minute. I know you eat your lunch at your desk, you don’t go out for coffee, and you show complete dedication and concentration to your job. After all, you chose to be there. You want to be there.
I know how discerning you are about who is looking after your children, and that many daycare centers offer excellent care. I know you only leave your children where you are confident that they will be loved and well looked after. I know that you spend many days caring for your children at home when they are sick, and sacrifice your pay. I know that you secretly enjoy these days, and revel in being able to be with your children.
I know that sometimes you feel guilty about not being there all the time. But I know this. You are setting a wonderful example to your children. You are showing them that a woman can have a career, contribute in some way outside the home, and still be a loving mother. You are showing your daughters that they can do anything they want to do in life. You are displaying strength, endurance, dedication, tenacity, and you do it with so much joy and love.
I just wanted you to know I understand. Because we are both mothers.