Perhaps you are familiar with the term, "quality vs quantity."
Often, it is associated with parenting in terms of which is more important -- the time you are with your child (quantity) or the attention given during the time you are with your child (quality).
In therapy, I struggled with guilt over being a working mother. I was worried I wasn't there enough for my children. My therapist reminded me that quality was more important, that I should concentrate on being intentional with my kids when we were together. I was told it was necessary to cut out distractions and other outside influences that might interrupt us, because our time was precious. In the long run my kids would remember and cherish those memories over the day to day routine.
It makes sense and I'm sure it's true. Unfortunately for me, every time I tried to do that, I failed. Miserably. I was always exhausted after work and it was easier to chill out with "Muppets" episodes than have conversations. Now granted, that time was important too because my kids and I have fond memories of popcorn and "The Muppets." In terms of undivided attention however, I was still reeling from my boss yelling at me for the third time that day.
Two years ago I returned to my SAHM status. The guilt pendulum then swung back. At times, I would mumble my "title" with embarrassment because my kids were in school full-time. By today's standards, I probably should be back in the work force. Yes, I'm a writer, which allows me to work from home and still be with my children. Nevertheless, it offends me when I'm questioned what it is I actually do with 'all my free time.' My free time generally falls between midnight and 4:30 a.m., so my answer is always sleep.
Last week, the kids and I were on a secret mission for Slurpees when I asked their opinion on quality vs. quantity. Surprisingly, both of them decided they preferred quantity. My kids told me they like the fact that I "work from home" because they feel supported, knowing I'm present and available.
For now, being a stay-at-home mother works for our family. What works for some isn't the right decision for others. What's important however, is that we support each other. We are all striving for the same goal -- raising healthy children who will live life fully and work for the greater good.
In the meantime, I'm getting ready to pop some corn while the kids cue up some "Muppets"episodes.