Being a parents isn't easy. In society it is normal to see the dad working and the mom staying home with the kids. It's portrayed this way in literature, television, and movies. I'm not saying it is this way for everyone, because it's not. However, it is definitely the majority of what we see. When you deviate from that majority you are open to a new set of struggles. Not harder, not easier, but different.
There are never enough hours in a day
I feel like I am going from sun up to sun down every day. My day starts at 5 am and ends around 10 pm. In that time there are lessons to upload, homework to do, lunches to pack, and if I'm lucky some time to spend with my husband. The weekends always go by too quickly. I love my job, but working full time and being a parent is like working two full time jobs.
Self Care Isn't Selfish
The mom guilt is real. You see it everyday. Viral posts on Facebook telling you that the real mothers are those without their hair and nails done. Other moms shaming you for having the audacity to go out without your children when you already work away from them 40 hours a week. Girl, take care of yourself. You can't give to others without giving to yourself first. Eventually, there's no more to give. Even with a supportive partner, having children is rough. My personal version of self care is hiring a housekeeper to come biweekly. Wash your face, get your hair done, get a manicure or pedicure, take a long bubble bath. Do something to take care of you.
There aren't many Mommy and Me events
We live on an Army post. The MWR does several events for toddlers and younger children and they are all almost exclusively during the day. It can feel very isolated when you're at work during these events and they don't have them for after work. I feel like my kids are missing out because I've chosen to have a career, which isn't true, but it feels that way a lot of the time.
Sometimes my class gets the best of me.
There are some days when I feel like my students get the best of my patience, my humor, and my energy. Then, there isn't much left for my own children. It's days like this when I feel like because I have a career that I am failing as a parent. I have an awesome support system who have to constantly remind me that I'm not. I find myself saying, "I'll do better tomorrow," A LOT. In order to combat this I make scheduling quality time a priority. We have movie nights on Friday. Family fun days. I try to make sure I physically connect with each child at least a few times a day. I make it a priority to listen to them even when it's the last thing I want to do. (My eight year old can talk, a lot.) Even when I feel like I have nothing left to give, I try to make them a priority.
Family is the most important thing
I work in order to provide a good life for my children. I work so my husband doesn't carry the burden of caring for us financially alone. I work because I love what I do. This doesn't make me a bad mother. Staying home with your children doesn't make you a bad mother. My family is one of the most important things in the world to me. My family just doesn't stop at my husband and children. It extends to my students and coworkers as well. It boils down to the mom shaming has to stop. Let's give options to all parents. Stay at home moms. Working moms. Stay at home dads. Families are not a one size fits all.