Working Mom, Happy Mom?
By Michelle LaRowe
I am always surprised when I hear people put down working mothers. When parents in the park find out I’m a nanny, you’d be surprised with the opinions that they most readily share.
After I am cornered into listening to their intense (often negative) opinions about working mothers, I often find myself asking them. “Have you ever thought about the benefits that working brings to some mothers?” I ask if they realize that if a mother is not happy with herself that she won’t be happy with anything else. I ask if they realize that, quite possibly, the mother is the family breadwinner, bringing home health insurance and other necessities for the family? Do they realize that the mother of my charges has spent the last fifteen years establishing herself in her profession as an expert and if she was to step off her career track, there would be no getting back on?
I remind them always that a happy, healthy mother is an asset to their family. I remind you of the same.
Standing By Your Choice
Once you’ve made the choice to return to work, it can be hard to keep yourself convinced you’ve made the right choice. Never mind attempting to win over the naysayers. The good thing is you don’t have to.
If you know that you’ve made the right long-term choice for you and yours, that’s what really matters. Try to turn a deaf ear to those who disagree. Don’t offer long winded explanations when asked why you work. A simple, “It is the right choice for our family” should suffice,and if it doesn’t, save your breath. Again, embrace your choice and once you do so, others will too.
Don’t be fooled into the argument of a one-size-fits-all solution for this complicated dilemma. Each mother has her own set of needs and goals that must be met to be the best mother she can be. If you have identified yours and are working towards reaching them, then you have no reason to buy into the working mother guilt syndrome.
Stopping the Stigma from Affecting You
I tell parents that when their child has a tantrum, the best thing that you can do is ignore it, and not feed into the behavior. The same goes with those who look down on working mothers. You too are a mother no more and no less than those who decide to stay home. Let any less-than-supportive comments roll off you’re your shoulder like the proverbial water on a duck’s back. Or calmly say, “I work, yes. But I’m still a full-time mother. Do you stop being a mother when you take an evening off? Or do you turn in your “mom badge’ when you take a mothers-day-out? There’s no such thing as a part-time mother. Only full time moms, with jobs.”
So if you’ve looked at all the options, and know that you’ll be a better mother if you work, at least part-time, outside the home then relax. You’ve made a good decision! The rest of this book is dedicated to you and your family, to make sure you feel fully supported and encouraged.
Adapted from Working Mom’s 411. Regal Books. 2009.
About the Author: Michelle LaRowe, Proud Mom and Enthusiastic Parenting Partner
With her background as an International Nanny Association Credentialed Nanny specializing in caring for multiples, Michelle has been partnering with parents in raising their children since 1994.
With her extensive experience in newborn, infant and child care, and with her passion for setting herself apart from her peers by providing top-notch service, Michelle is regularly called on by the most popular parenting magazines and websites to share her knowledge and expertise. She has been featured on Parents.com, Parenting.com and BabyTalk.com and regularly contributes to ModernMom.com, Momtastic.com and other popular parenting websites.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.