Today marks the end of a chapter, a complete cycle, the 365th day of life as a full-time professional mom of two toddlers. It was funny thinking back over how I ended up in this position while I was interviewing some post-secondary students to fill my marketing assistant jobs for the summer. I confess that I would not have hired myself at that age. I would not have made the cut!
Growing up, I wanted to be a writer, artist, mom. But in my teens I really didn’t have a clear idea of where my life was going. The artistic side of me left my head in the clouds a lot of the time, or at least buried in a book or exploring nature. It wasn’t until I was actually working that I started to gain some sort of career path, and with some hard work and academic upgrades, I was able to get where I am today.
Even though lots of women hold good jobs these days, our family still stands out in the Fraser Valley culture. For us, it made sense for me to keep working and for my husband to take care of our kids during the days and squeeze in his work where he can. It wasn’t only that I had a more secure career, but he possesses amazing parenting skills. People often say men just aren’t cut out for it, but I have to say they haven’t met my husband. He really does a great job. Sure I find things I would do differently, but I have just as many flaws!
Lots of people like to ask me how I feel, leaving my kids every day. The questions seem innocent enough but can be quite loaded – don’t I feel guilty? Don’t I wish I could be home? There is pity and often judgement. I feel it from the other preschool moms (most of them are “at-home moms”). And quite a bit from the faith community.
Honestly, I wish I could have about one day more per week at home, but otherwise I’m quite happy with my career. I treasure every hour I spend with the kids in the morning and after work, and on the weekends. Today I had a rare midweek day off and enjoyed taking my son to a drop-in preschool program while his sister was in her preschool class. It was great spending time with him. While I was there, I was reading during “read with a parent time,” and another little girl joined us. After reading her about 3 books, she brought a big one over and I told her I had to go now. I suggested she take it to her mom and ask her to read it. I overheard her mom’s response, “No honey, we’re here to play with toys. Go play with the other kids.” I’ve seen this family every single time I’ve made it to the drop-in. I am one of the fringe parents, not part of the daily clique of moms who rely on the instant coffee and child-comparing banter that threads their monotonous days together. But I didn’t mind being on the fringe, because I felt like I was the one really connecting with my child and making his day.
What I do feel bad about is how “mom” focused most of the support networks are. My husband runs into a few of the other at-home dads at library time, and there is usually about 1 dad at the preschool drop in. But it’s definitely a mom’s world out there. So three cheers to all you at-home dads out there: band together, Father Goose it.
I’m so thankful that our kids have one of their parents with them all the time (with occasional Grandma care). I’m also thankful for my accidental professional career. I know God’s hand was in it. Because despite my meandering youth, I ended up being a writer, artist, and mom with a steady pay cheque!