Good for you, Mom!

By Dehnel Petre, research analyst, University Advancement

There are days when I look at other mothers, both working and stay-at-home, and marvel in what they are able to accomplish! I think- with an admitted pinch of jealously- good for her! She ran a marathon! She raises chicks! She sewed all of her children’s clothes and toys! She taught her son French! She used cloth diapers for 3 years! And then, I pause and think: what the heck do I do?

I’m a full-time working mother. I work full-time and I’m a mother full-time. I have two wonderful children: a four-year-old daughter and a 16-month-old son. They go to daycare three days per week and are watched by family the other two days. Schedules, meal-planning and everything else that goes along with running a household are always fighting for space inside my head. And sometimes I feel inadequate. My daughter had show-and-tell at daycare a few months ago and I missed the memo. Every other kid brought something from home to show their class while my daughter sat in despair. It doesn’t matter what other things I’ve done right, the fact that she didn’t have anything to show her class made me a mom-failure for the day.

So part of me wants to bristle at those other mother’s audacity to excel at something other than just plain mothering. To assume that their children are suffering because the mother is somehow spending more time on herself than on her children. Of course this is ridiculous, and caddy, but I think it goes to show how insecure mothers can feel. We all want to know that we are doing the right by our children and when we hear about a mother who has time to raise her kids AND do something for herself – or, god forbid, has the talent to teach them a skill that you do not in any way possess – it makes us feel somehow inferior.

I’m different from the mother who is going to complete a marathon this year. I’m also different from the mother who will be able to teach her son French or make her children clothes and playthings. But I have my own set of talents as a mother. My kids are happy and thriving. Because I love to read and write, story time and imagination play is very important in our house. Because of who I am, my children are going to be who they are – not necessarily that they will be like me, but they will be who they are because of me.

My mother received her MBA when I was a toddler and then she worked full-time from the time I was 5 until she retired 4 years ago. Working parents aren’t anything new to me, and yet, being one I always second-guess if I am making the right decisions for my children. I will not be raising chicks and serving my children fresh eggs from the hen house. But that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate the mom who does and say: good for you! And mean it.

About Dehnel:  Dehnel describes herself as a working mother who tries to write.  When not working on fiction, she writes a personal blog about life as a working mother or life in general.  Check out her blog!

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