Some choices are easy and come naturally like no matter how much your 3 year-old whines and screams you choose not to feed him chocolate cake for breakfast every morning. Other choices can be a little harder, but with some education and weighing pros and cons you eventually choose whether breastfeeding in public is right for you. But the hardest choice I see most mothers make is the choice to work or stay home.
Confession #1: I was “supposed” to sit down to my keyboard this past Tuesday and start working on my next book. It has been the plan all summer. Well, Tuesday was a bit rough because I realized that my youngest is in school all day now. He lost his first tooth. He sits at a desk and not in a circle on the floor. He eats lunch out of a box. My oldest daughter is now in her last year of high school. My kids are growing up and my mommy role is changing.
So I didn’t write on Tuesday, or Wednesday. You can’t force your muse. And by Thursday morning, when no muse showed up, I decided that I was a useless waste of space and needed to go get a real job outside of the house while the kids were in school full days. Looking at the online job bank was enough to send me into a deeper depression than an absent muse. You see, I chose to give up being a registered nurse before I had babies with my second husband. When my third daughter was born I chose to take time off from building my homeopathy practice, add a fourth child and a few months off work turned into 8 years. My job options today, without returning to school to recertify, are Tim Horton or Wal-Mart.
Have you ever had to choose between going back to work and putting your child in daycare, versus staying home with your children and having your career skills and advancement opportunities go stale? Have you had to choose between giving up a second income and risk mind-numbing boredom from lack of adult conversation, versus not seeing your child that you absolutely adore for eight to ten hours a day?
After the depressing morning of escalating worthlessness, I then stumbled upon this video on Upworthy calling maternity leave a racket! And then I get this email message from Miss Representation stating that a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that female doctors in the U.S. are paid, on average, 25% less than male doctors. Both a clear slap in the face at how unfair the world is to the gender that has the super power of creating another life! Just because we make babies, and many of us choose to feed these babies with what our own body produces, we are “punished” by losing our relevance if we are away from work too long, or get paid less if we take the jobs that allow us to be home with our families every once in a while.
I am more than just a little outraged.
Confession #2: I’m not really looking for a job. Every writer beats themselves up about getting a real job at least six times a year.
I have a job. My job is to empower women (and some men). My job is to listen to moms who are battling with life changing decision, like going back to work, with a third party unbiased ear (unlike the opinionated mother-in-law or the overly agreeable best friend). My job is to inspire women into trusting their gut and seeing their inherent worth despite a society hell-bent on making them feel like the lesser gender. My job is to write. And the muse is back and ready to enable me to be of service to you.
What had been the hardest decision you ever had to make as a mother?