I know that as a Mother, we always are feeling some sense of guilt:
~ Guilt about wanting to go out without the children
~ Guilt about not having everything just perfect in and out of the house
~ Guilt about how much time we are spending on other things... which leads me to why I am writing about this topic :
Being a WAHM (work at home mom) generates and adds to the 'guilt list'. I have heard my 6 year old tell my mother (of ALL people) that "Mommy works all the time" and if you have ever heard those words - or even sensed them, you know how painful it is to digest.
I love what I do. I run my own small business, which provides me with a sense of accomplishment, pride, feeds my soul, and allows me to bring in an income AND still be available for carpool duty.
But, at what cost?
My sister-in-law was/is someone who has always dreamed about being a mother, raising a family and that was the focus of her life's work. After now giving birth to four children, she has started her own creative endeavor to have, not only a little escape from the day-to-day (those of us in the business of handmade know how therapeutic it is to have those meditative moments of creation), but to also have something that is just HERS. And she should have something that is her own - without feeling guilty that not every spare moment is spent having 'quality time' with the kids.
I deeply feel that the benefits of having a mother that is a WAHM, far out weighs any of the negatives. Here's why:
~ My son (6 years) comes up with different 'businesses' all the time. Not only does he have this wonderful entrepreneurial spirit, but he thinks about who his target market is, how he is going to promote, among a slew of other aspects of business that I had no clue about until I was, perhaps, a teenager. Watching me work and having him ask me (a bazillion) questions of why I do things that I do has become a catalyst for his own business adventures. He is also starting to understand the value of labor: why items are priced a certain way, even though the construction paper and glue did not cost that much to make the product...
~ My daughter (3 years) is getting the benefit of seeing her mother, a female, run a business and now knows that if she wanted to, she could, too. I am a HUGE believer in empowering women - that does not mean I have any less respect for full-time Mothers, because I surely do, but I want to make sure that all little women know and understand that there are no limits.
~ Both my children are pretty independent. I know that children who have been in daycare since they were 3 months old, on majority, are more 'independent' than those children who do not attend daycare, but by and large, those two hooligans can entertain themselves, use their imaginations and figure things out quite well. I don't expect them to whip up dinner, nor do I leave them to their own devices for hours at a time - but an hour? Sure. And, the GREATEST joy of being a WAHM, is that if they need anything at all - I'm a staircase away.
I would not be able to illustrate these lessons to my children in any greater capacity than having my work be from home. They see it on a daily basis and witness the up's and down's - though, I try not to project too much! It gives them insight on what it takes to work for yourself and HOW much work it takes. Nothing comes easy - and that is a lesson that must be learned, repeated, and UNDERSTOOD.
I do try and continue to improve my work/life balance. There is not a time clock I can punch that indicates the 'end of the day', or the drive home from the office I can use to switch gears. But I have to enforce limits. The time I spend with the kids has to be true, quality time. This is especially difficult in the summer when the kids are home all day!
I have hired a mother's helper two full days a week, sometimes three. I schedule, pretty much, every minute of time that she is here so that I can get as much work done as possible. The rest of the week is devoted on the majority, to the kids having fun and making all those summer memories that they are supposed to be having.
Do I still feel guilty? Yes and no. I love my work and I, of course, love my children. I just need to focus on all the benefits I am providing them because I am a WAHM and remember how absolutely grateful I am that the work I love can be done from home - where I can take a break and give some smooches - and get some.