stay at home mom insecurities

We even have our own acronym: SAHM, though it hasn’t taken off as fast as WASP, YUPPIE, DINK, or NIMBY.  Still, it’s a distinction.  I wish it made me proud.

Before I had children, I enjoyed working in an office.  I liked the camaraderie, the challenge of solving problems, the routine, the paycheck.  It gave me purpose that was quantifiable.  This is what I do.  This is what I’ve done. 

Circumstances with work and my husband’s job made it more practical for me to stay home when our first daughter was born.  After falling madly in love with her, I couldn’t imagine anything else.  Motherhood was all consuming and I didn’t want anyone but me to care for her.  She was a light I didn’t expect.  Shortly after she was born, I started working from home, which suited me just fine.

I continued working from home after my second daughter was born, but when I became pregnant with my third, it was just too much.  We couldn’t afford a nanny and decided to scrape by without my income.  I was now officially a stay-at-home mom.

I recall being at a music class with my children when one of the other mothers kissed her son and told him she’d see him later.  “Mommy has to go off to work.”  There was no drama.  He was apparently comfortable with this arrangement, fond of the nanny who took him from his mother, who to me appeared happier and more confident than I.  Was she?  Or was I just viewing her through my own insecure eyes?  And why was I insecure?  Because I thought at the end of her day, she could point to something specific and say look what I’ve accomplished.  At the end of my day, I had a diaper Genie that needed to be emptied.

I’ve realized over the years, especially as my children have gotten older, that it’s my responsibility to find peace in the choices I’ve made.  There are mothers who work and those who stay home.  I’ve compared my children to theirs to prove I’m made the wiser decision and always come up short.  There will always be children better and worse than mine.  The more I judge the parents, the more I will be judged, and then no one wins.  It’s then I realize motherhood was never a contest to begin with.