I was eating a bowl of cereal this morning when my eyes focused on those words in a headline in The Huntsville Times.
The article was about an interesting study that says moms today are actually spending MORE time with their kids than moms in the '60s did, when the majority of moms stayed home. I thought that was so interesting because more and more moms work outside the home these days. But, despite the findings, half of the moms interviewed didn't feel they spent enough time with their children.
What mother doesn't have guilt? And from what my friends with older children tell me, it doesn't really get better as they get older.
I'll admit I have some "mommy guilt" from time to time. I question if I short-change my kids by working outside the home. I question if staying home with me would be better for them than going to daycare.
The answer for me is, no.
That's not the answer for everyone. And when it comes to the issue of staying home or working outside the home, there is no right or wrong answer. I get very angry at mothers who feel their way is the right way. Every situation is different. It's a personal decision that each mother should make.
But here's why working outside the home is the best decision for me.
I get so much pleasure from my job. I love coming to work and tackling my assignments here at the Foundation each day. I love doing a job where I KNOW I'm making a difference. And this job allows me to be home in the evenings. One of the reasons why I left WHNT was because I wanted to be home at night with my kids - and I wanted to be home at a decent hour.
I also enjoy being with adults. I enjoy the laughs I share with the girls in the office over lunch and the help we give each other when working on projects.
I think I'm a better mom because I work outside the home. Now, some of you may be critical of that statement, but let me explain.
When I get home, my children have my undivided attention. I don't talk on the phone to people. I don't get on my laptop and check email or the internet. We eat dinner as a family and then Chris and I take the girls in the backyard and let them play or we go for a stroll. Then we give them their baths, read them books and put them to bed. After that is all said and done, we have our time. That's when I can hop on the computer and do stuff or watch TV. But until my kids go to bed, they have 100% of their mommy.
When I was home on maternity leave and home all day with Lily and Ann Catherine, it was all too easy to pop a video in for her to watch. Yes, we did read books together and spend time together, but after eight hours of feeding, changing diapers and watching Elmo, mommy needed a break and getting her to sit in front of the TV and watch a video was an easy way to get one. Is that quality time with your child? I don't think so. But more and more parents have started using videos as babysitters.
At daycare, she is stimulated everyday. They have music and motor skills classes. She's learning to share with other children. They read books. She does artwork and brings something home 2-3 times a day. Would I do all of those things with her if I was home with her everyday? Probably not.
All women - those who work outside the home and those who choose to stay home with their children - will probably always have some "mommy guilt." We'll probably never feel we are doing enough.
The important thing is that you do what is right for YOUR family and YOUR child. And don't let anyone else make you feel guilty for making that choice.
I couldn't find The Huntsville Times article on the internet, but I did find another one about this particular study in The Birmingham News. Click here to read it and let me know what you think.