Monday, July 7, 2014

Back to Work

“Back to work, back to work, so my boss doesn’t think I’m a jerk!” (This is sung to the tune of Back to School from Billy Madison!) 

After eleven weeks home with my lil wizard, Thursday marks my first day back to work outside of the home.  I’ve had a lot of emotions surrounding this week – way more than I ever thought I would – which got me thinking about the age-old discussion regarding stay-at-home vs. working mamas.

First, I have to admit that I’m excited to head back to work!  I’ve worked hard to build a career that I am proud of and enjoy. But, this is not to say that I won't bawl when I drop the bean off at daycare or that I don’t have the utmost respect for those mamas who choose to stay home with their littles.  I have not once had dinner ready for my husband when he got home from work in the last eleven weeks.  Honestly, between getting pooped on, nursing, shhhhing, bouncing, rocking, cooing and diaper changing, it never dawned on me that I could do all of that and get dinner ready.  (Yup, I’m an awesome wife!)  In short, being a stay-at-home mama is hard work and being a working mama is also hard work - and don't even get me started on those brave mamas who keep their kids home with with them while they work - how do you do it?

Truth be told, I have worked while I have been home and it has looked like this every time!
The truth is, no matter the work we do, we all just want to do right by our littles.  And, I think the only people who know what “right” is, are our partners, children and selves.  Heading back to work this week is the right thing for my family – for far too many reasons than I can list on this blog and I realize I am leaving out the whole financial issue in this discussion of this highly sensitive subject.  That’s a different blog for a different day.  I know I won’t be able to do it all.  I will miss big meetings to cuddle with our bean when she isn’t feeling well and I will miss activities when a big meeting requires my attendance.  The reality is that some days my career will suffer from the juggling act while other days Nora will and still on other days my marriage or I will take the hit.  But, I will strive to be a “good enough parent” just as I have always sought to build a “good enough marriage.” 

Psychologist Donald Winnicott believed that the way to be a good mother was to be a “good enough mother!”  What he meant by this was simple – “the good enough mother is one who loves her child well enough for him to grow into an emotionally healthy adult. The goal is mental health, defined as the fortitude and flexibility to live one’s own life — not happiness.” This crucial distinction allows for the margin of error that is inevitable as a human.  I believe our job, as parents, is to love our children to the best of our ability, and ready them for the world so they can seek their own happiness.

"Wait, we aren't going to hang out all day, everyday?"
Ultimately, my good-enough will be different from your good-enough but our goal will be the same – to raise good little people who will grow into great bigger people.  We will ensure our faces light up when they enter the room and  provide them a foundation that makes them strong enough to build the life they seek.  And hopefully this, not simply staying home or going to work, will make them great people!
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