Choices

This week I started a new part-time job, not for fun, not for career advancement, not out of boredom (God, no), but simply because some extra money around the house would be useful. Going back to work, even part-time, became a huge life decision for me. My simple need to make some extra cash brought up questions about my career, success, future, retirement, preschool choices, resume and goals. It’s been hard enough to feel successful as a stay-at-home Mom, but now I was questioning if a part-time job is considered good enough… Should I be using my degree? Should I look for something with career advancement possibilities? Will this look good on my resume? Should my happiness and sanity be considered?

While debating and making my pro/con lists, I did what I always do when faced with a tough decision and discussed it with my Mom. She listened patiently as I rambled on about my options. I said to her “I do no want a full-time job right now. I love staying home with Luna, but my one worry, is that I will look back in 5 years and regret not taking the job that will help advance me in my career.” She stopped me right there and said, “No. You will only ever look back and regret not spending more time with your daughter.” That, right there, made my decision for me. That reminded me that my career is not my life, nor is it my meter of success, or at least it doesn’t have to be.

children

 

Then, because she always seems to know what I need to hear, Momastery posted this. This was the exact reminder I needed. My success is not dependent on if I work full-time, part-time or stay at home with Luna. I find success daily, in how I raise Luna, care for my family, treat others and lead by example through whatever I am doing. Today, I am a part-time working Mom, one day I may be a full-time working Mom, or perhaps a stay-at-home Mom to four kids, or a principal, or a writer, or a zookeeper. My roles will change, but my character will remain the same.

character

Right now, my role of Mom to Luna is by far the best damn role I’ve yet to play. It’s time I lay my insecurities and others’ opinions on what I should or should not be doing to rest. I hope one day Luna will look to me as an example of someone who followed her heart and did her best do what is kind, courageous and right, and I hope she does the same.

Cheers

How to Be a Successful Parent

Lately, I’ve seen several articles come up in my news feed with titles like 5 Tips to Being a Successful Stay-at-Home Mom, 10 Ways to Win at Being a Working Mom, or 7  Habits Every Best Mom Does Daily. I read a few, out of curiosity. I mean, who knew there were a set number of steps to take to succeed at parenting?? I began reading expecting to feel a little worse about myself afterward, and I wasn’t disappointed, although not exactly right either.

If I were to sum up the advice it would be to stick to a schedule, stay organized, take time for yourself, keep your house clean, meal plan/prep, have date nights…in other words, do it all. I totally understand this advice. These things are important and helpful, but if you are not doing these things daily, (and none of us are, am I right?) I have a sneaky little feeling that you can still be a “successful parent”. In fact, I’m sure of it. So sure, that I made my very own list of How to be a Successful Parent.

1.  Feed your kid. Keeping them hydrated is good too.

2. Give them a roof to sleep under. A tent counts.

3. Do what you can to keep them from harm. Like, running with knives and playing in the medicine cabinet should definitely not be allowed.

4. Lead by example. If you want them to treat others kindly, do the same. (However, slipping up is cool too. They should know we all make mistakes.)

5. Love them. It’s what they need most.

At the end of the day if you all survived, then give yourself a pat on the back because you are one successful parent. Hurrah!

She's alive, healthy, fed and definitely under a roof.
She’s alive, healthy, fed and definitely under a roof.

AND, if you managed to survive the day and clean your house then you most definitely deserve some ice cream.

Cheers!

Learning Something From the Men

So there’s this blog going viral that everyone is up in arms about, rightfully so I should add. Typically, I wouldn’t want to give a negative and hurtful article any attention, but this one has bothered me, and what’s bothering me, no one else seems to be discussing. The article in on thoughtcatalog.com and it’s called  I Look Down on Young Women With Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.

To be honest, I thought this was going to be a humorous post, maybe even satirical, but it comes off mean, a little ignorant and very arrogant. The most shocking of lines are..

You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

The rest of the post is basically saying that having kids and getting married is super easy, and we should stop acting like it’s worth anything. Before, I get into what bothers me most about this post, I’ll give my opinion on the piece in general.

It sounds like a young girl who is unhappy with her own life. Those who shame other people’s “accomplishments” and “happiness” are clearly unhappy with themselves. It’s wonderful that this woman can choose to not be married, not have kids and live a life with a fulfilling career, but what she fails to recognize is that not everyone finds happiness in their job. We do not all feel accomplished because we got a promotion, the same way we do not all feel accomplished after bathing and feeding 3 kids. Everyone defines success and happiness differently, and that is okay. It’s not fair to assume that your way is the right way.

I have traveled the world, got multiple degrees, worked great jobs, been promoted, received tenure, yada yada yada and, uh…didn’t feel “fulfilled”. I felt great, yes, proud even, but it was not what filled my cup.

She may also want to consider the fact that most career “accomplished” women were raised by dedicated mothers, who are often married. Let’s not even get started on the fact that countless women are happy and successful at being married, raising kids and working. My pediatrician actually has 5 kids and opened up her own practice 15 years ago. Or, what about people who choose not to have kids or fancy-paying jobs? What about the people who love life living like a vagabond and just enjoy life itself? This is why I think this must be a young author with little life experiences. She doesn’t quite grasp the vast variety of values and lifestyles in our world.

Okay, but now what really bothers me is this line…

I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this…Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”

If men never speak of this, it is because they do not do the housework, aren’t married or do not have children. There are many men who are stay-at-home-fathers who actually blog about these exact things every day. This got me thinking though… one thing men do not do or talk about is how much other men suck. There are no “daddy wars” happening today, only “mommy wars”.

I am so sick of all the Mom vs. Mom, breastfeeding vs. formula, stay-at-home vs. working, kids vs. no kids, vegan/gluten-free/dairy free/soy free/gmo free vs. whatever-the-hell-my-kids-want-to-eat Mom fights going on everyday. What are we doing to each other? Why? Why are we so obsessed with wanting every other Mom or woman to live, think and behave just as we do? Are we so afraid that what we are doing is wrong we must prove that every other women is actually doing it wrong? Does that make us right?

Of course not. We have to accept the fact that mothering, like teaching, or like living, does not have a “right-way”. There are many different paths and styles that lead to success. We must not all be alike to be successful. So, today, and perhaps today only, we take note of what the men are doing and stop bashing other women. The happier we are for each other, the more love and support we show one another the better off we will all be in the end.

Cheers!