Last week, I was taken aback by some comments regarding my decision to be a working mother. I made the off-handed comment that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom and was met with, what seemed to me, such an attack, that it was all I could do to keep myself from crying.
Being a working mother is not a decision women make lightly, nor should it be. Neither should the decision to have a child. Before Justin and I decided to start a family, it was clear that we would both need to continue to work. As many of you know, Robbie entered daycare the day he turned two months old. Initially, it was a decision that broke my heart. After all, what kind of woman could leave her child in the care of a virtual stranger?
I soon learned what kind of woman. A strong woman. A woman determined to maintain an identity outside of her family. Now, please don’t think I am in any way undermining a stay-at-home mom; these women are incredible. I have no idea how they are able to be patient with their children and think of new things to do with them. This is not something I am able to do. And every woman has to make her own decision.
As a working mother, however, it is difficult to face the criticisms of those who assume we “farm” our children out. I absolutely do not farm my child out. Robbie has been in daycare since he was two months old, and in the care of someone who became a part of our family. She gave him opportunities I never could have, exposing him not only to Chinese culture but also the language.
So, my friends, I beg of you. Do not judge each other. Don’t judge the mother of a three-year-old who isn’t potty trained; yours may take longer, too. Don’t judge the stay-at-home mom who looks frazzled even though she doesn’t “work”; she has a harder job than most of us. And don’t judge the mother who makes the choice to work. She has already judged herself more harshly. And perhaps she is a better mother for her decision.