a mom by any other name

“I’ve come to understand that a mother is not a person, but a service,” I said.

Her eyebrows raised slightly, but she said nothing, so I continued to explain how in all of my encounters since Charlie’s birth, I have been stripped of my personhood and re-summed up in a single syllable: Mom. At the store. Our pediatrician’s office. Even my husband now calls me “Mom” in Charlie’s company. In the months since my since my son came into this world, I’ve felt like I was slowly disappearing from it – dissolving day by day, partly because of the isolation of the stay-at-home role and partly from the very real truth that I am no longer the person I used to be.

I spilled my guts, all the while fearing that I was alienating a new friend I’d made at library story hour. Our children were playing together in the backyard splash pad while we gnawed at pretzels under the patio umbrella. My friend was quiet for a moment and I knew I’d done it. We were so different already (she, a pastor’s wife and me, a… well, whatever I am), I feared I’d driven a giant, neurotic wedge between us.

But then she said, “I never thought of it that way. I guess it’s easier sometimes to socialize through our kids – less chance of rejection, maybe. But I am going to try to be better about that.”

There’s this feeling of relief at being understood suddenly, after ages of shouting into the darkness, that’s so overwhelming it actually feels like grief. I do so much of that – screaming inside my own head – and all that ever comes out is a sigh, to which my husband will say, “What can I do for you?” He means well. He loves me. But he doesn’t understand because he can’t. Everything he had before Charlie was born, he has now. The same social structure. The same career. The same face, hair and pelvic floor. He gets to sneeze without peeing and when he leaves for the day, everyone he meets will assume he has a name. And they’ll call him by it.

But she understood, even if only a little. And I wanted to cry when she closed that gap between us.

I wonder sometimes if my expectations are off. I mean, I know our postal carrier’s name. It’s Paul. It has never seemed extraordinary to know that. To say, “Thanks, Paul!” when I see him on the porch. Yet, my own name gets lost so easily in the parental shuffle. I know it’s there on the chart at the pediatrician’s office, right next to Charlie’s name. No one has to memorize my face and put it together with my name in order to make me feel like a human. They just have to read it. And still, every visit begins, “Mom, can you get him undressed to a diaper?” Even when we lived in the hospital for a month, Charlie and I, the nurses, the doctors, the techs, the therapists – they all had names. I knew them. I used them. But I was always Mom.

When Charlie was born, I was so enamored of him and so thrilled to be a mother – his mother – that naturally I didn’t fight it. Instead, I basked in it. Mom. Mom. Mommy. Twenty months later, I feel completely lost in it, struggling for reasons to *not* wipe banana on my pant leg (who’s gonna see? or care?) or even to brush my teeth some days (what’s the point?).

When I finally told my husband I no longer felt like a person anymore, he seemed angry at first, but I think that’s the initial response to anything he can’t fix. We decided that it was time to end my stint as a stay-at-home mom – something I hadn’t felt like I could give myself permission to do. I was miserable. Dying one small death after another. But my son was so happy and clever and thriving that putting him in day care had always seemed unnecessarily punitive. After all, it’s not his fault that it’s not enough for me. That I don’t love this the way so many other women I know seem to. My sisters. The countless mothers on my Facebook feed, who caption photos of their days at home with, “I love my job!” I love my son in such a deep, wonderful, frustrating and all-consuming way. But I do not love being at home. Admitting that last bit has been enormously difficult. But there it is. Out there.

So a few days ago, Charlie and I took a tour of an early education center we’re considering with the end goal that I can re-enter the workforce, and perhaps, reclaim a little of myself before it’s too late. It’s a nice enough place, if perhaps, a little too structured for my liking. We arrived a few minutes late and made our cheerful introductions with the center’s associate director. I was Heather. This was Charlie. She cooed over him appropriately and then we got down to business. Before we began the tour, she offered to put my belongings behind the counter.

“Here, Mom. Let me take your bag for you.”

“My name is Heather.”

She smiled and blinked. Did I make her uncomfortable? If I did, it didn’t register. And I didn’t care. I was taking back my name and I had to start somewhere.

44 comments to a mom by any other name

  • Emily

    Heather, I absolutely felt the same way. I LOVE my child. I do not love taking care of him. Nuthin’ wrong with that!

    FWIW, both of us were much happier once he started daycare. While it can be a little tough at first, he quickly grew to love it. Lots of kids to socialize with, lots of new experiences and things to learn. And I loved having adult interactions all day–and the chance to actually miss him. Work was a break from childcare, and childcare was a break from work.

    Wishing all the best to you and your adorable family.

  • Tamara

    I have read your blog since your NYC days, and always loved your writing. Even as your life has changed in ways that mine has not, you always have a way of drawing me in. This piece is so great – classic Heather – and I wish you all the best (I’m also holding onto the hope that you’ll find a way to get paid to keep writing).

  • Karen

    I can completely and totally relate. Even now, when I take my kid to one of his follow-up appointment at the children’s hospital where he spent the first four months of his life, I’m STILL ‘Mom.’

    And sometimes? Finding my own identity again just seems so intimidating and exhausting that I feel okay about it.

    But I still resent it.

  • Nicole

    I hope that you keep reclaiming your name and whatever else that gets pushed to the side. You have articulated this nebulous idea so well. Thank you for sharing this Heather.

  • Leah

    I can’t even say how much I love this post. I worked part time for the first two years of my son’s life, but that still wasn’t enough for me. I went back full time about a month and a half ago — he’s in preschool/daycare — and we both love it. I’ve been following your blog forever, and selfishly hope whatever you do next includes writing. More than that I hope you find yourself fulfilled and happy! xo

    p.s. The night before I went back to work, I asked my working-mom friends for advice and pep talks. I got back the most encouraging/inspiring notes, and I’m happy to forward on you whenever.

  • Meg

    Tomorrow is my first full day after 14 weeks home with my sweet boy. I don’t think I could do it for a whole year. I love my babies but I am not made to be home with them all day every day!

  • Jessica

    I’ve been a stay at home mom for 14 years. And I love my children but I struggle with having no identity. Just in the last year or so have I finally made Jessica friends instead of the occasional mommy friend.
    I’ve found that while some women love love love staying home, most of the ones who are posting #lovemyjob #lovemybabies are just as miserable and lost in the void of motherhood. They just cover it by trying harder, baking more, crafting elaborate proofs of dedication and love. They fill the voids with complex plans.
    I don’t go back to work because childcare for the kids would be too eextensive, especially since I dropped out of college and have no skills. I don’t even know how to reenter the work force.
    So I love my kids and try to keep my head above water for one more year until my youngest goes to school full time and maybe I can get pt work.
    I’m glad you can go back to work and that you were able to articulate what so many of us feel. I wish you the very best of luck.

  • Vanessa

    I check blogs every Sunday. I was so happy to see some words from you.

    Motherhood is such a consuming role, Heather. Everyone has to meet it in their own way. I felt the same way you did. It’s almost instinctive. I remember bringing my boys home and immediately losing the I and replacing it with Mom. Not “I’m here, it’s ok”. But, “Momma’s here, it’s ok”. Maybe it was to give me a name to them, maybe it was to assume the title I had longed. But later on I realized what I had done. Eschewed, unknowingly but willingly, all the parts of who I was to become who I am to them.

    There is an amazing blog post a mom wrote that talks about dying to live. She said, I died (the young, carefree, person) so that she (the mother) could live. It rang so true to me. I am sure you can find it.

    How wonderful that your reflection and honesty will lead to a happy, fulfilled, challenged (in different ways) Heather/Mom. Charlie will benefit from the happiest you, whatever that looks like for your family. What an incredible example you are giving him.

    Kudos and sending love. ~ Vanessa

  • Melanie D

    Oh, Heather. I get it. I’m only 9 months in, but I get it. I was so, SO grateful to have mine that I didn’t even want to think about going back to work until he hit 3 months. Then, I have been halfheartedly applying. Now, I’m ready, I think.

    The thought of actually going back still makes me cry. But, I miss me. I miss using the other parts of my brain. I miss being more than his mom.

    Sending you a hug…or fifty.

  • Elisabeth M

    Heather, I hope you never lose your ability to be honest about feeling lost. I’m a working mother of a 2 1/2 year old and I can’t tell you how many times I feel like I’m swimming underwater alone. Whether you are at home with your kids or in the workforce, your life gets redefined after having a baby. It was the single-most shocking realization of becoming a mother. My husband goes to work every day and still has his identity. For me, motherhood has to come first. Doesn’t matter when my work deadline is equally as important, or I’m under just as much stress. I still have to be mom, the one who knows the schedule and gets dinner on the table. It can be incredibly lonely and isolating.

    What’s been more surprising is how hard it is to own those feelings. The few times I’ve come across women willing to engage and be honest about feeling lost and resentful are the times when I feel like maybe I’m still here somewhere. In a social media driven world filled with pictures and stories of perfect families, it is easy to feel like a horrible parent. Please know you are not alone and you’re doing a great job. We all have those feelings sometimes. Thank you for being brave enough to voice it, own it, and figure out what is best for your life. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • Jen

    Beautifully written. I have missed you, Heather. <3

  • Stephanie

    Being Mom should just be a facet of your life not a definition. Perhaps you’ve made it so. I have 2 kids & I’m lucky enough to stay @ home. What a privilege that is – to raise your children yourself. So, I am wholly grateful. That being said, I have plenty of hobbies, interests & passions that keep me from being just Mom. And I’m super social. I think if you’re up in arms that a Dr calls you “mom” whilst they’re treating your child then you’re probably depressed. Shouldn’t you be focused on the kid? Are you really so lost that this is a point of contention? If so, please seek help for postpartum.

    • thisfish

      I am genuinely happy for you that you enjoy your stay-at-home mothering experience. I wanted to. I just don’t. I am also happy for you that you have your passions and interests. My passions and interests just happen to include work. Crazy, right? But… I dunno. Maybe you’re not as happy as you say. I mean, since we’re sharing unsolicited opinions, *I think* you clearly feel threatened enough in all your social happiness to leave an oddly defensive comment on a stranger’s blog. No, I don’t have postpartum depression. Know how I know? Because I suffered deeply from postpartum depression and I know exactly what it feels like. Did you know it’s possible to be discontent and it not be a clinical diagnosis? That being discontent can lead to change that can lead to *not* being discontent anymore?

      Your lack of empathy is uuuuuugly. Please don’t come back. I don’t pretend that is a democratic forum and I have zero problem shutting down people who say ugly shit (and dress it up as concern).

    • Helen

      Wow! I cannot believe you actually wrote this. I am sorry you lack empathy – I am a working mother of two and I struggle every day. Not for lack of love of my children. Not because of ingratitude of my job. Not because I cannot see what I have. Because it is damn hard. It is hard to wake up in the middle of the night to a sick kid and realize, this is all me and my husband – we can’t screw this up. It is hard to run a marathon and not know where the line ends. To want to sit on a couch or in a shower and not hear mom. To feel for a moment, that I can be, just be, me and that is okay. To know that if it all changed tomorrow and I became a stay at home mom, it would be just as hard, or maybe even ten times as hard. For you to assume something about someone else’s struggle is… words can’t even form. Why don’t you go back to your self satisfied life and stop judging others. It is people like you that continually make others feel like crap for feeling inadequate, and it is people like you that make others hesitate before sharing, so honestly, what they might be feeling.

  • Erin Stewart

    I have so many thoughts/feelings/emotions about this that a simple comment will not do them justice. The most overwhelming one is YES! This is exactly how I have felt about having kids. I thought it would get better as they get older, but I have found the opposite is true – the older they get the more about their needs, their activities, and their accomplishments it is. I stayed home for the standard 3 month maternity leave with my oldest and was ready to go back to work. And then I stayed home about 8 months with the twins, until they were 6 months old, and I was desperate to get back to work. Work is where I feel most like myself. It’s possible to love being a mom and love your kids while still wanting something just for yourself – for me the structure, control, and blessed quiet of work is as necessary as water or air and I thrive on the competitive and aggressive nature of my job (I have not viewed this as an asset in mothering). Best of luck with your childcare and job search. Here’s to feeling more like Heather again.

  • Ann-Marie

    At some point in parenting most of us going through this feeling of losing who we are as a separate and vital human; I remember that feeling well and it was 20 years ago. Finding your way out of it is an individual process. Whether you stay at home or work outside of the home, you have to find the way back to you that works. Also, which ever you choose there will likely be guilt, but in the end, because you care, the kid will be ok. Best of luck to you finding your way through this.

  • Susan

    As soon as I read this post I knew there would be an uber-judgmental “if you’re not happy doing it my way then there’s something wrong with you” comment and Stephanie did not disappoint. First she lays on the guilt and then she makes an armchair diagnosis about your mental state based on one blog post. What a cruel and arrogant comment.

    Personally, being a stay-at-home mom was never an option for me but I’ve always suspected that if it were, it wouldn’t be something I could do long-term. Good luck in finding the right balance that allows you to be a happy Heather and a happy mom.

  • Naomi

    I just wanted to say that you are an extraordinary writer and mother. Just the fact that you can recognize how you are feeling and why, bodes extremely well for the health and longeterm well being of yourself, child and marriage.
    In Canada we get one year maternity leave and I couldn’t wait to get back to work both times. Love my kids with all my heart and soul but staying home full time is deadening.

  • So good to see a post! I felt sad everytime I checked on and say your Sir Hal tribute.

    The “mom” thing annoys me, too (though as a bystander, not a participant; my baby is 26), both in the way you have described and in the dumbing down of “mother” to “mom.” I know it seems petty, but in those final pre-Internet days of 1989 when I had my daughter through her early days, none of the mothers I was friends or acquaintances with referred to herself or others as “mom” or “moms.” We had a child, we had children, we had kids, we worked, we stayed home. I wasn’t “Barbara, working mom of one.” I was Barbara, with a child & a job. I wasn’t compartmentalized by where I spent my days nor was I assigned a child’s word (mom) as an identity, free for all to use when addressing me. Good luck on the job hunt(I’m sure you’ll be among the salaried soon) and love your takedown of the “concerned” chick above.

    I also took a look at Charlie’s recent pix on Flicker, and he’s 100% Chris. Does everyone say that? Does it annoy you? Put cat ears & whiskers on him and line him up with the resident felines. Take picture. Point the picture and say, “See? He looks just like the other kids.”

    • thisfish

      Oh my gosh – he *is* 100% Chris. Or 95%. I’m pretty sure he has my eye shape. But that’s it. It doesn’t annoy me one bit. Charlie is a beautiful kid and he happens to resemble a man who loves him soooo much. It probably doesn’t get better than that.

      • melissa

        I’ve got the opposite. Mine is 95% me. I feel a little bad to not see more of his dad in there, but I think it will wax and wane as he gets older!

  • MJH

    Yep. Yep. Yep. I didn’t know how I would feel after having a baby, but six weeks in I was depressed and lost. My life was washing bottles, trying to force a crying baby into tiny clothes, to get her to nap, and just general blah.

    I am so, so happy to be at work. I don’t love my job, but I love not staying home with a baby all day. Sometimes I wonder WHY, when I know so many stay-at-home moms who seem to love it… but after a weekend at home with my (amazing, wonderful, beloved) baby girl, I am so, so grateful to be getting my coffee and settling in at the computer. Me. My adult coworkers. My life.

    Best of luck to you.

  • RLK

    Long-time lurker but man, this post RESONATED. I went back to work fairly soon after having both kids, partially because I had to but also because I knew staying at home was not for me. I think I held on to “myself” for longer than most, but have been feeling this exact same way the last several months, after I went back to work having the second kid. Like, when did I become That Person Who Was Known Only As Mom? It’s hard to make time for yourself, your hobbies and interests, but you have to do it. It’s great that you could stay with him as long as you did, but also great that you want to be the best person you can be all around and are making moves to do just that.

    And don’t even get me started on Making Mom Friends.

  • Teak

    Dear Heather,

    I am so sorry to read how frustrated you are at home. Yes, yes, yes, do something about it. Charlie will be the happiest growing up when his mother is feeling fulfilled and multi-dimensional and adult; and when she is able to show him the joy (or at least satisfaction and contentment) of living. I mean, you have to be yourself first. You may be going back to work for your own happiness and sanity, but it is what is best for Charlie too…..And you do not need to answer to anyone, not nurses who call you “mom”, not self-justifying stay at homers like Stephanie, no one. BE your wonderful self and do not let them get to you for even a second……Good luck finding the right day care setting and a job you can throw yourself into, a boss you can complain about and colleagues and friends with whom you can be adult.

  • CMB

    I think you’re making a broad assumption that all SAHMs are blissfully happy being elbow deep in dirty diapers while settling petty toy disputes all day. I would assert that most SAHMs feel exactly how you described, even though some may paint a rosy picture on social media. I stay at home because I believe no one can take better care of my children than me, even if I lose my temper sometimes and can never have a moment alone; I’m putting what I believe to be the long-term well-being of my children above my short-term satisfaction. I often think that a SAHM’s life would be infinitely better if more moms stayed at home so that we could be a community of people who could struggle through these feelings and frustrations together instead of a group of lonely, unshowered sad sacks who wish they had a friend. I don’t stay at home bc I love it, but instead bc I feel like this is an important sacrifice that I can make for my kids so that I’m the one who’s there for them most, as sucky as it is sometimes, and, as you know, it can really suck! This isn’t a judgement of working moms, just wanted to share a different perspective.

    • thisfish

      I made no such assumption. I know a lot of mothers who stay at home. And I know it’s not easy for them. But when it came to sorting myself out, it came down to this: either full-time parenting is easier for those mothers or it is simply harder for me. The distinction is pretty subtle, but it’s there. The answer was, it’s harder for me. Because of how I’m wired. Because of the things that drive me and make me happy. And having spent the last nearly two years assisting other passengers with their oxygen masks before securing my own, I no longer believe it’s in my family’s best interest to put everyone else first. I was out of air. Withdrawn. In our situation, Charlie’s long-term well-being will be much better supported by a mom who is happier.

      • CMB

        But how can anyone determine what’s easy or hard for someone else? I worked part-time for a brief period after I had my kids, and while I was thrilled to work for all the reasons everyone has mentioned, my kids weren’t behaving the way they used to when I was home. So even though I was happier, my kids weren’t. I feel like I’m taking one for the team right now, and eventually I’ll get to feel human again ;) I want to be clear that I am on board with any choice a woman makes to be the best mom, and in no way am I criticizing or saying my way is better than someone else’s. I just wanted to present my own strange dichotomy of wanting to work, but deciding to stay at home (even though it’s grueling and isolating), bc there are joyful moments, even if they’re fleeting. I’m proud of the way I’m raising my kids; you’re proud of the way you’re raising yours, and I hope one day our kids will appreciate what we’ve done for them (yeah right…)!

        • Emily

          I respect that, CMB, but why does it all fall to you? If you are married, why doesn’t your husband consider staying at home? Why is this conversation always about Stay-At-Home MOMS?

          IMHO, gender equality will never be real until both parents feel it is their EQUAL duty to raise the kids, however that contribution takes its form (be it working inside our outside the home).

  • I have always admired how honest you are. I totally hear you Heather! and good luck to you! You got this!

  • Colleen

    Thank you so much for writing this. This line you wrote is exactly what I think myself: Everything he had before Charlie was born, he has now. The same social structure. The same career.

    I’ve tried talking to other moms and my husband, but everyone keeps giving me these blank stares. I feel less alone and crazy knowing other people feel the same.

    Right now I cannot make this change like you are currently. But one day…

    Good luck :)

  • Andrea

    My grand plan earlier in life was to get married, have kids, and stay home and raise them. I accomplished all three of these goals, only to discover the reality of what I thought I wanted was so totally different than I imagined. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my babies and being a mom, but I completely lost my identity (and my motivation to wear anything but sweatpants, and also, I’m pretty sure I could feel my brain start to turn into Jello from a lack of stimulating adult conversation). So I started back to work part time, which then morphed into full time, which then morphed into an actual career. Did I feel a little guilty that my kids were in after-school and daycare? Sure. But I also knew that being at home with a mom who was unhappy wasn’t what was best for them. A happy mom equals a happy baby/kid, so you do what you need to do to accomplish that.

    *and also, F the people calling this depression or suggesting that by wanting your own identity that you’re not thinking of Charlie. It IS possible to be a mom and Heather, and I HATE the notion that once you reproduce the rest of your life is about sacrificing yourself for your kids.

  • You do sound depressed. Maybe you should just get a lobotomy? I think that worked for moms in the 1950s.

  • Catherine

    I swear that since I’ve become a working mom, I can get more done during a lunch hour than I used to get done in a whole week! Welcome back to the land of quiet time at a desk and talking to adults about ADULT topics:).

  • Good for you. I’m sorry that staying at home didn’t work out how you thought it would, but I do get it. I have been a work-full-time-at-home, work-part-time-at-home, work-part-time-outside-home, and now stay-at-home mom (trying to pursue her fiction writing career). Every iteration has it good and bad points, and we all have to find the balance that works for us. I am glad that you decided to take care of you. As Andrea said, happy moms make happy kids. You’ve given Charlie a great foundation, and now it’s time for new lessons that will serve him well in the future.

    My son has a disability, and I have been Mom for hundreds of doctor’s appointments, tests, etc. I sacrificed any chance of a career because I needed to be there for all of those things, which still take up a lot of my time. Sometimes life makes choices for you. For anyone who has a choice, I say it’s just ridiculous not to take the path that will make you happy. We all give up for our kids because it’s part of the job, but I don’t believe that giving up your identity should be part of the deal.

  • We were lucky that I could work full time from home and my husband was a SAHD for over 4 years. He was reluctant to go back to work, but finally did one ours started PreK this September.

    I can see the huge difference in both of them. They both get more social interaction, are more open with people, and I get the quiet I need at home to work and take care of the house.

    So glad you found what works for you! Some people are truly happier at home, but if it doesn’t work for you then this is the best thing for your entire family!

  • Michellyn

    Dear Heather,

    Moms everywhere here you. I struggled with not being able to stay home with our first kiddos and then tried to stay home with our littlest. Being a Mom is one tough job. Going out to work, just as tough if not tougher. Wanting to be in two places at once is our battle as working moms. Just know that whatever you choose, your wee one is going to do great. Our children have had a mix of experiences and they are all healthy, well adjusted loving people. It is also important your wee one sees you living a life that is fulfilling to you so he knows it is ok for him to live that way too.
    Many blessings to you and your family as you make your changes.

  • Michellyn

    Dear Heather,

    Moms everywhere hear you. I struggled with not being able to stay home with our first kiddos and then tried to stay home with our littlest. Being a Mom is one tough job. Going out to work, just as tough if not tougher. Wanting to be in two places at once is our battle as working moms. Just know that whatever you choose, your wee one is going to do great. Our children have had a mix of experiences and they are all healthy, well adjusted loving people. It is also important your wee one sees you living a life that is fulfilling to you so he knows it is ok for him to live that way too.
    Many blessings to you and your family as you make your changes.

  • Amanda H

    Ummm, yes. All of this. Yes.
    This stuff is so much harder than people make it out to be. I guess the grass is always greener. I skipped out of work my last day so blissfully clueless that my new *job* would be the. hardest. freaking. job. ever. I love my little 9 month old peanut, but oh my word, I miss my life. When I was sort of cool and could eat lunch because I was hungry. And people asked my opinion–because I HAD ONE. Now I’m just venting…

    Thanks for writing. Selfishly, it’s so nice to know I’m not alone.
    Good luck in the job hunt, let me know where you end up and if I can help!

  • Molly

    I have a confession. I volunteer with a lot kids, and realize that while I have called women “Mom” when discussing something in relation to her child without giving it any thought at all, I just realized now that I don’t think I have ever done that that with any of the “Dads.”

    Thank you for your honest post, it’s provided such a light bulb learning moment for me, forcing me to realize and admit my own sub-conscious biases and giving me the opportunity to evolve my thinking. I plan to adjust my current behavior accordingly (as in calling everyone by their actual names) and be more conscientious of my actions.

    Best of luck as you return to work and start to rekindle and redefine your identity and aspirations beyond a solely a Mom-centric framework. You are HEATHER and the world is your oyster :-) – Molly (long time reader)

  • Heather

    There was never any question if I would be a SAHM when I found myself pregnant. I began looking for day care pretty soon after the first sonogram. We don’t have any family nearby and it made the most sense for my family and enables me to be the best mother that I can be. I absolutely love our day care center. I am involved and those women have become our village and our family. I love them all and cannot appreciate how much love and incredible care they give my daughter. My daughter is so gregarious and extroverted as a polar opposite to my painfully introverted self. She thrives with all the social interaction she gets at day care that she wouldn’t have gotten if I was a SAHM. I love how I can ask her teachers for advice about handling normal behavior hurdles, because they have so much experience with so many kinds of kid personalities. They have helped shape my little baby into an independent and strong toddler. I have no problems with SAHM either, that is one tough job that I am not cut out for and they get nothing but respect from me. I have chosen what will provide my kid with the best upbringing she could hope for. It is about what is right for you and your family. If you can’t be the best you you can be, how can you hope to be the best mom you can be?

  • Deena

    I am a full-time mother who also has been looking for part-time work for the last 6-8 months (no real success) and plan on going back to work more full time when my 6 year old is older. I am happy with full time motherhood (I rarely stay in one place and we are so often not at home that “stay at home” doesn’t fit what I do). I think it’s entirely individual in part because of the individuality of each child – some children need more time from a parent for various reasons including developmental delays, etc. And of course who the parents are. I was not blessed with a child till my early 40s after 2 careers, one of which I worked at for 15 years. That informed and affected my decision -emotionally, practically and financially. So in all the important ways I think it’s so apples and oranges that while support for whatever choice is a wonderful thing, judgment and comparisons are not (especially the former!). Good luck Heather!

  • Dana

    So much yes! All those things that made you who you were before you became a mom are still all there and vitally important. How are we supposed to show our kids how to live their best life if we don’t show them how we live ours? At the end of the day we are all individuals and what’s best for me and you might not be best for someone else, but isn’t that what we want to show our kids? To make their own road, to follow their own paths, to do what’s right for them? How are they supposed to know how to do that if we don’t show them? I don’t think I can be the best mom for my daughter unless I’m being the best me, for me.

  • Karen

    We adopted and I was instantly a first time mom to a high risk special needs child. I did NOT make it to 20 months! God bless you. I made it two months before I looked into the mirror at saggy mom jeans, frumpy baggy shirt, dishpan hair, weight loss from just not ever getting supper… and I burst into tears. You do lose yourself and you do have to fight to regain some of your own identity and find self-care that is actually attainable. And then you feel guilty :) Yep.

  • K

    YES! Congratulations. I didn’t want to assvice it up when you still had not made this decision, but god it’s going to feel good. It’ll also suck in some ways, but my experience–as someone who initially wasn’t sure whether I’d want to go back to work, and found out within relatively short order that I was, without question, not cut out for SAHMing–has been that on the balance I know that working makes me a better mother than the one I’d be if I were doing this 24/7. Everyone has to find out what’s best for them, and I’m glad you’re going to be able to make some changes to bring your life more into alignment with what you’ve learned works best for you. High five from East Dallas- this isn’t always the easiest town in which to find understanding on this topic.