You probably don’t remember. It had to be at least ten years ago, but I think about it often. At the time I shrugged it off, quite frankly I didn’t know how to react. Maybe I was afraid you were right….
After a couple of years at home, I went back to work at a home shopping network. I was an on-air spokesperson. The hours were crazy, but I loved my job. I was the mom of three young children who usually wore sweats and a ponytail. At work not only did I wear real clothes, there were professionals who did my hair and makeup. On top of that, I was on live tv! It was both exciting and challenging. My family thought I was a super star. My Mom bought every product I sold, and my Dad recorded all my airings. The only problem with the job was that the hours were sporadic. Some nights I would have a 2am show and other days I would be scheduled for noon. On a busy week I could work 7 days and on a slower week 1 day. The nature of the television industry was that there was not much notice of airing times.
As things progressed, we realized we needed help.
After a few years of juggling childcare with the help of family, we decided to hire a nanny. Tom was working long hours building his business, and I was stressed by the inconsistency of my work schedule.
It was during that time I invited you and your daughter to our house for a playdate. The girls were entertaining themselves on the swing set when you asked about my job, how I was managing it with three young kids. I told you about our nanny and how we all loved her. She was great with the girls and flexible with her schedule.
And that is when you turned to me and said “How do you do it? I couldn’t imagine someone else doing my job.” I still remember the sting of your words. The judgement in your voice that made me question whether I was doing the right thing. Was I being selfish? Was I a bad mom?
In the years since that day, I have known a lot of great moms, working moms and stay-at-home moms; moms who had epidurals and natural births; who breastfed and used formula; who sent their kids to half-day kindergarten and full-day; who allowed video games and who didn’t; who gave cellphones and who did not; who bought organic food and nonorganic food; who sent their kids to private school and public school. The common thread among these great Moms is that they loved their kids and made choices that best fit the needs of their family. Let’s face it raising kids is hard and we need to support and respect one another.
Stop the judging, aren’t we all on the same team?
I have thought a lot about what my job is as the Mom of Ryan, Bella and Maggie. I am more confident now about the choices I have made. Many times I have wished that I could go back to that afternoon and answer your question about my “job” as a Mom. This is what I would say to you now.
My job as a mom is to love my kids, to make their home a safe place, to teach them to be kind and respectful, to be patient, to encourage them and to let them make mistakes. My job is to support them and be there for them when they need me, to give them the space to think independently, to believe in themselves and to help them grow into empathetic adults. The kind of adults that wouldn’t judge another person for making a different choice than they did. I no longer question whether I am a good Mom, I know that I am.