Dear Stay-at-Home Moms,
I want to start off by saying I'm sorry -- sorry if I have ever judged you, if I have ever talked negatively about you. Sorry that I have never truly seen how hard you work.
It's the old adage: the quest for balance only applies to working moms. We are the ones who are trying to make it all work. Running from here to there, wishing we had more time; trying to balance it all.
As a working mom, I have a lot of excuses. The laundry can pile up in the basket and the dishes can overflow in the sink. We can eat fast food, because I just don't have time to cook.
I have a feeling that you sometimes put more pressure on yourself than working moms to find balance. You don't have the luxury of excuses. The expectations placed on you as a mom offer less room for error. I suspect there are many times when you are harder on yourself than working moms.
I sometimes wonder if you would like to do something else. I wonder if you selflessly put your desires for a career aside to raise your children full-time. I can imagine that there are times when those feelings are hard to balance.
On most days, you work harder than I do. You are task-oriented, committed, caring, fearless, and you certainly hold it together better than I do. You don't make excuses for why you forget things or don't get the laundry done. You can't fall back on the "I work full-time" statement.
I forget half of my kids' appointments, drop them off at their activities at the wrong time, neglect to send in money so they can buy popcorn, and leave them to a babysitter every morning. I get away with it because I work outside of the home.
I wonder what would happen if you had that track record. Would there be judgment, eye rolling, and gossip about how you were a bad mother? --Maybe--
I used to be jealous of you and maybe a bit angry, because your actions reminded me of my insecurities. You always seem to have the first day of school signs and cookies for the bake sale, volunteer countless hours in the classroom, stay up until all hours of the night prepping a project for our kids' teacher, organize all of the bingo nights and fun runs.
Then I stopped. I realized how fortunate we all are that there are women who choose to do this selfless job.
Jealousy turned to gratitude. Anger turned to appreciation.
Thank you for teaching my daughter how to tie her shoes in preschool.
Thank you for volunteering countless hours in the classroom to help educate my children.
Thank you for hugging them when I am not able to do it.
Thank you for always having the Band-Aids for my son at recess when he falls and scrapes his elbow.
Thank you for having the kindness to not judge this half-assed mom when I forgot my first day of school sign. Thank you for allowing me to use yours.
Thank you for teaching me about patience, consistency and kindness when I watch you do your job with grace.
Thank you for holding my hand and listening while I beat myself up for not being more available to my kids.
Thank you for helping me be a better mom.
I have learned a lot from you. You are doing one of the hardest jobs there is, and I admire you.
Oh, and next school year... maybe I will finally make my own "first day" sign.