Dear Working Mom,
I saw you out the window this morning when I was getting cereal out for the toddlers. You were heading for your car. You were in a cute skirt and heels. I was in my bathrobe. You looked like you had actually taken a shower…today.
I imagined all the interesting people you would talk to today. I thought about the hot cup of coffee you would enjoy while sitting at a quiet desk. I thought about the sense of accomplishment you would feel by the end of the day.
And I desperately wanted to come with you.
But as you pulled out of the driveway I saw your four-year-old girl come running out of the house for one last kiss goodbye. You rolled down the window and she kissed your cheek, leaving remnants of breakfast behind. I brushed spit-up off my shoulder at the same moment you wiped her breakfast off your face.
And then I realized. We’re not “stay-at-home” vs. “working.” We’re moms.
So I think we need to start with a clean slate. There’s a sad line dividing stay-at-home-moms and working moms. It’s a line of jealousy, discontentment, guilt – but mostly misunderstanding.
For example, you might think I’m writing this in between pinterest and homemade organic smoothies.
In fact I haven’t eaten anything yet today (if you don’t count licking the pureed carrots off my wrist when the baby threw his spoon). I’m bouncing a baby on one knee and I’m in between loads of laundry and dishes. I can hear someone unrolling the toilet paper in the bathroom.
You might think my life is simple. Easy. If I stay home I must be wealthy or lazy – or both.
#1. I won’t ask you how much longer you have to work. Asking implies that if everything was going right in your life you’d be home all day with the kids. True, you might want to stay home, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your job.
#2. I’ll respect the fact that you might occasionally turn me down for play dates – but I won’t stop inviting you. At the end of a long work day you would probably rather be with your family. But when you need another mommy friend, I’m here.
#3. I’ll ask you about your job. There’s a whole different aspect to your life besides changing diapers and packing school lunches. In many ways it defines you. If I want to know you I’ll want to know about what you do all day.
#4. I won’t refer to work as your “social time.” Keep in mind that I only talk to people under the age of five all day so I consider any adult interaction a luxury. Just like being at home isn’t my personal spa day, working is not primarily your social scene.
#5. I’ll stop comparing checklists with you. I don’t have to break down my routine into all of the individual jobs I do all day in order to feel valuable. Neither do you.
When it comes down to it, our jobs are not valuable because we contribute more than each other in some way. Our jobs are valuable because God called us to them. He has us each strategically placed where He will receive the most glory. If He could have gotten more glory by putting us in a different positions, He would have. And He still might. Who knows – one day you and I might swap roles. We can rest assured that God doesn’t make mistakes. We are who we are, what we are, and where we are because of His perfect plan.
So if I need to vent about teething or I want to share every new rolling-crawling-walking-potty-training milestone with you, bear with me. It’s my life. I love it. But I know your life looks different and I want to know about that, too. We both need all the support we can get.