My friend, Tanya, at Mamallamapalooza wrote a post this past week about the "Mommy Wars", and it reminded me of a message that I got from a friend not too long ago. My friend apologized for being judgmental of me in the past for working outside the home. That's one of the big battles in the Mommy Wars, you know...Stay-at-Home Moms vs. Working Moms. My reply to her went something like this...
It's OK, really. I get judgment from both sides, from women who think that I should be home with my children ALL the time and from women who think that I'm wasting my talents and "not pulling my weight" by only working one day a week when we are struggling financially. But I have no hard feelings, because I am secure that the decisions I make are right for *us*.
I will encourage my daughters to further their education and to have a backup plan, but I also will encourage their hearts to be in their homes and families. If they do have an outside job, I want them to search their hearts and ask themselves what is their motivation for working. Is it so that they can afford more stuff? Or is it because their family has true needs that can best be met by them contributing to the finances somehow? I want my daughters to look to the Proverbs 31 woman as an example.
I've looked at working from home, but I've heard so many WAHMs complain about putting in long hours for pennies. I just can't see how that would be better than me leaving the kids with their loving, capable daddy for 12 hours every week and then being able to give them my full attention the rest of the time. One 12-hour shift a week adds roughly $1400 a month to our family budget. The pros outweigh the cons.
The money I make has not gone to finance "stuff", but has gone toward eliminating debt, paying to keep our 10-year-old vehicles running, paying for educational needs, paying for dental expenses, paying for the midwife, etc. We live frugally.
And on the days when I do have to put on my scrubs and leave the house, I always ask myself what the mother/baby unit or ICU would be like if none of the nurses there were Christian mothers. ;-)
I'm sharing this here because I believe I have good reasons for choosing what I choose. It makes sense for our family. If my situation were different, if I had a different profession, if my family dynamics were different, I'm sure the pros and cons would be weighed differently. And because I have good reasons for choosing what I choose, I trust that other women also have good reasons for choosing what they choose. I refuse to fight in the Mommy Wars, and I have no hard feelings toward the women who judge me for doing things differently because I am at peace with what I do. When I share information on why we do what we do, I hope you realize that I do so because I appreciate folks sharing with me what works for them. It's an inspiration for me to try out different things. Sometimes I find a new way of doing things. Sometimes I say "hmmm, interesting" and stick with what we are already doing. But I appreciate hearing/reading about it anyway.
I had a conversation with friends at church last week, in which someone said I was a "real woman" because I had my last two babies without pain meds. Oh, no. I explained that I had epidurals with my first three. I wasn't very happy with those experiences, so I tried something different. I figured out along the way that it was easier on me to go without pain meds than with them. Same with breastfeeding; it's easier for me than bottle feeding. I've tried both public school and homeschooling, and I'd rather do it myself at home. Using herbal remedies on my children has prevented the headache of pediatrician visits. I'm all about what works, y'all.
So, you say you'd rather have an epidural during labor asap? I would encourage you to look into the benefits of birthing naturally, but I'd also say do whatever makes your birth comfortable and peaceful. Breastfeeding didn't work for you and your baby? Although I would encourage you to try again next time, as the benefits are great and each baby is different, I'd also say please don't feel guilty if you have to feed your baby a bottle. You don't think you can teach your children what they need to learn at home? I'd say you don't give yourself enough credit! But I'd also say give them what you believe they need. Taking your children to the pediatrician everytime they cough brings you greater peace of mind? Go get your peace of mind; you already have enough to worry about. Whatever you decide, I'm not judging you, mama.
Can we please just share with each other, support each other, and get along?