This morning was a gray morning. In fact it’s still gray out. I wonder if it will snow or just rain. It didn’t matter though because I still brought Nate out to the daycare to meet the ladies that will be taking care of him while I go back to work. The daycare isn’t far from our house and it’s not far from where I work. Many of the professionals that work at Fidelity Investments in Merrimack send their children to this daycare, so I feel secure in the sense that it’s a reputable place. I do feel conflicted about becoming a working mother – it’s a new identity for me and will bring with it many new challenges I’m sure.
I’m reading a book right now called Opting Out by Pamela Stone. Ms. Stone looks at 54 women who have gone to Ivy League schools, have gotten professional degrees and were making the big bucks at the time that they decided to leave their jobs and become full time, stay at home mothers. I have found that there is a lot of divisiveness surrounding this topic right now. Is a woman a bad mother because she chooses to work outside the home? Should she stay at home if she is able to? What about fathers? Does the same standard apply to them? Why or why not?
I belong to a mother’s board – cafemom.com – and for the most part it has been helpful. I enjoy networking with other mothers. However, there are definitely women on that board that vilify working mothers. Sometimes there are outright attacks on working mothers. Sometimes it is with little comments – “I’m so happy that I can stay at home so that [put in whatever bad thing that happened at a daycare center] didn’t happen to my kid. That mother must be killing herself right now.” This seems to be the feeling of American society at large — it’s a mother’s responsibility to care for her child. She is the one that must sacrifice for her child. You never hear about men killing themselves over whatever bad things that happen at a day care. It’s a shame that society persecutes working moms like this…because the reality is that unless you’re in the upper middle or upper classes, in all likelihood you live in a dual income household, which means that both parents are working. This means that moms AND dads have to work in order to get by in a world where prices are inceasing (hell, they’re talking about gas topping $4.00 a gallon soon!). It’s just not realistic to expect that all mothers shouldn’t work. Which means that babies are going to have to be cared for during the day.
Personally, even if we were able to afford one of us staying home, I would want to go back to work. I take great pride in what I do. I enjoy using the skills that I have and which I have worked long and hard to develop. I enjoy the camraderie of talking with other lawyers and judges. It’s challenging in a way that I’m used to…and to be quite frank, it’s hard to be alone all day with no adult conversation outside of the internet and my husband, when he gets home. I would get stir crazy sitting here alone all day. Hell, I have been getting stir crazy.
On the other hand, my heart hurts too. I don’t want my son to forget about me. I want to see him when he crawls for the first time. I want to protect him at all costs and not leave that to someone else. I’m going to miss him so much during the day. I’m going to hate it – I will be thinking of him constantly. When it comes down to it, sometimes I feel really selfish for going back to work and not being with my little peanut.