You will never hear me say it’s better to be a stay at home mother or a working mother – that there is a right and a wrong way. I’ve lived both ways now and I truly believe that it’s a very personal decision and it’s not easy either way. If you are lucky enough to have the choice at all, it comes down to what’s best for your family and what’s best for you. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to leave my job. I worried about the financial side of things, I worried about my sanity, but most of all I worried about what was the “right” thing for the kids. I still worry at times. Am I being a proper female role model for Emma? Would it be better for her to see her mom working outside the home? Are they happy with me home? Do I yell too much? Did they have more fun at daycare? Is my youngest getting too attached to me? If I sit and dwell on it I can drive myself crazy. It’s hard as a mom (working or not) to know if you are “doing a good job”. There are no annual reviews, not pats of the backs, no promotions or new big accounts landed to give you validation that you are doing it right. There’s just your life and you’re so busy living it and so “in the trenches of motherhood” that it’s hard to take a step back and get a good look. But sometimes it seems God grants you a moment of pause.
Tonight I was in the kitchen and my Jack came up to me, gave me a big hug, looked up and said, “I wish I could hug you forever.”
It might not sound like a big deal but it was huge to me. You see my Jack is an amazing boy – he’s funny and marches to the beat of his own drum in the best possible way but he’s always been somewhat emotionally detached. He would allow us to kiss and hug him but he seldom initiated it and sometimes it seemed didn’t really reciprocate it. I tried not to worry – but I’m pretty sure that in some native language the word mom translates to “one who worries”. I never made him hug me back, never tried to push the issue – just accepted it as part of his personality and kept giving him hugs even if I didn’t get one back. But recently it’s like a switch has been flipped. He’s become this little snuggle bug who loves to show affection. He’s hugging and relishing in bedtime cuddles. He has even started to give me kisses on the cheek when I tuck him at night.
So just like that tonight I got my slap on the back, my raise, my confirmation that for right now in this moment, for my family, I’m doing ok. I know there will be more worries, more doubts – parenthood is filled with them – but for tonight I’m just going to relish in this moment of pause.