Are you walking around heartbroken all day?

20 March 2014

I saw an exchange on Twitter recently that got me thinking. Of course, many conversations on Twitter get me thinking but not many compel me to write blog posts. So here goes. A new mom was a week into her being back at work and commenting on how awful it is that she has to work and has to leave her child at daycare (I empathise completely).

Somebody in support of her then intimated that a lot of women work not because they have to but because they want to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, so to speak, and buy their children bikes and Playstations and the like. She said she has to work to survive and it doesn’t make her feel better that other women feel the same way – it somehow seems fundamentally sad that many women are walking around heartbroken all day.

So I got to thinking about why I work and if I go to work heartbroken every day. I don't work for bikes and Playstations. I do work for food and electricity but I love working. I love what I do. I love that I get to create beautiful products with creative people in an increasingly changing and dynamic industry and help a few people along the way. I am inordinately lucky to work for a baby-friendly environment so that if my kids are ill or need to go to the doctor or a party or need to stay home for the day, I can be with them. I can go to spring hat days and bake sales and raffle draws. Was it hard to go back to work and leave my tiny babies at home? Of course. I cried in the car and in the office and I beat myself up about it but after a few weeks we all adjusted. We found our new normal and saw the benefits for all of us in that. Did I find it awful starting school with clinging, crying children who didn’t want to go and didn’t like the change? Of course. I cried in the car and in the office but I knew they were going to benefit enormously from being at school (as I am not a stay at home mom) and after a while we all adjusted. Again we found our new normal. Earlier this year I saw somebody say she may not have a lot of money but she sure isn’t going to give her child to somebody else to raise. Am I doing that? No. I don’t believe I am. My children know who their mother is and I am raising them (for better or worse!). 

I understand how hard it is to work when you don’t want to but when you have to. But that got me thinking again. What is it that I am modelling for my children? And what is it that you want to model for yours? Do you want them to see a long-suffering mom bitter at her economic status, dragging herself off to work and hating every minute of it? Or do you want her to see a hard-working, ambitious and happy person who has chosen to make the most out of every experience whether it’s at work or at home?

Because I saw another quote on twitter last night from Arianna Huffington (she of Huffington Post) and that is ‘There is no work-life balance – there is just life’. And how true. This is life.

Yours may be that you have unwillingly become a single parent and have to work twice as hard as anybody else. That’s your life. Yours may be that you love staying at home and being there for your kids whenever they need you and you are able to comfortably do that and invest the time in doing that. That’s your life. You may be like me and actually want to work because you like the person you are at work and that makes you a better person at home and ultimately a better mom. That’s your life. And it’s all okay.

We are awesome mothers whether we work, want to work or don’t work or don’t want to work. Why? Because we all love our children unconditionally and are doing our best for them and in this day and age that’s pretty awesome.

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