In the four years I’ve been a mom, my experience in that role has run the gamut. I went back to work after maternity leave (three months, which was both way too long and way too short). When my daughter was born two and a half years later, I “leaned out” and decided to take some time to be a stay-at-home mom. Since around the time my daughter was about eight months old, I started working part-time from home writing. Through all these changes, perhaps the most powerful lesson I have learned is this: I completely understand why anyone would choose to be either a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, or somewhere in between.
I will freely admit: Even though I’m in a good place now, personally and professionally, there are aspects of being a working mom that I really, really miss. I miss days that were guaranteed to give me mentally challenging activities instead of having to seek them out if I want to have intellectual stimulation beyond Elmo (no hard feelings, Elmo). I miss wearing big kid clothes. My favorite pair of heels sit neglected and alone in my closet, collecting dust. Every time I open my closet, I can almost hear them cry out, “ARE YOU GOING TO A WEDDING?! CAN WE GO WITH YOU?! YOU’LL NEED US! WE GO WITH ALL YOUR DRESSES!” I miss the camaraderie of my office. I miss the particulars of my old job. I miss the enormous hug I got at my son’s daycare when I picked him up at 5:30. There’s a lot to love about the working mom gig, including the strength women can draw from taking on these roles, both as individuals and mothers. So I thought I would talk to some of my working mom friends to see how they felt working outside of the home upped their mom (and life) game.