July 25, 2022

It’s okay to want a career, mama

My husband and I were taking a quiz the other night that was meant to gage where we stand on the political spectrum. One of the statements was ‘Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be home makers’

Now there is a lot to unravel here so let me get my soapbox.

I think it is the duty of any parent, not just moms but dads too, to put their children first. That is your child comes before your career, before money, before your hobbies, your child is the most important thing, period.

This question however really rubbed me the wrong way. First of all, there was no similar question about dads being homemakers, because home work is always seen woman’s work *rolls eyes*. Secondly, there’s also the ‘may’ in the statement that really does my head in. It almost feels like, women are allowed to have careers…

The more I think about this the more frustrated I get. So let me tell you this, you can have whatever you want. You can have a career, and be a homemaker, or just one, or neither. In a world that is becoming increasingly and alarmingly concerned with policing women, our bodies, reproductive rights and career choices, I am here to tell you that if you are a mom who wants a career too, then that is perfectly fine.

It’s okay to be a mom and want a career. It’s okay to want to secure your own bag and get that money. And not only that, it’s okay to want to develop yourself professionally and grow your network and master new skills. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

And for many women having a job isn’t really a question. Many don’t have the luxury to opt out of the workforce, so don’t make us feel bad for literally having no choice. Working (and enjoying work) doesn’t make you a bad a mom. Quite the opposite actually, as this research from Harvard found. Kids of working moms get better and better paying jobs themselves. So why do we continue to hate on women for pursuing a career after becoming moms?

Kids of Working Moms Grow into Happy Adults - HBS Working Knowledge

I feel strongly about this because of how I feel in my job. I love my child more than you can imagine, yet being a full time mom and homemaker is far from my dream life. Yes I love spending time with him but I love being a professional adult too. I love that my job challenges me, that it teaches me new skills, that it allows me to provide my child with more opportunities. I also feel myself being a better mom, more engaged and present when I do spend time with my son.

During the day he is at nursery where he spends time with his peers, learning and developing. People ask me if I miss him and of course I do but ultimately being there is better for him. He loves being at nursery and his teachers adore him. I know for a fact that if we were to spend all our time at home together I wouldn’t have been able to provide him with the stimulation he needs in the form of guided learning and peer interactions that he has at nursery. And while he is there I am working.

I am enjoying a career I like, doing a job I love, interacting with people I like, learning new skills, meeting new people and earning good money. And when we get together at the end of the day, we can spend quality time with each other.

No I don’t have guilt for being who I am, a career woman. And neither should you.

And if you’d rather not try to smash through the glass ceiling but be at home and raise your kids, then hats off to you. Because let me tell you this, being a stay-at-home parent is not for the faint of heart.

The bottom line is women shouldn’t be expected to be homemakers. We could be whatever we choose to be and the sooner society catches up with that, the sooner we can eradicate mom guilt because that isn’t helping anybody. Motherhood is hard as it is, don’t make me feel like a bad mom for choosing to have a job too.

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