Arriving at the decision to be a stay-at-home mom wasn’t entered into lightly, as I wrote about earlier. Despite all of the debates and discussions, I still feel weak for giving up and quitting. In the days before my departure from work, many colleagues offered support, expressed envy, lamented over their own situations and decisions, and some tried to dissuade me. A few of the comments:
- “I find it incredibly difficult to do the juggling act so I completely sympathies that you’ve decided that it’s too much to cope with at the moment. I have bloody Sheryl Sandberg (facebook woman) in my ear all the time telling me to `lean in’, and then I have 6-yr old Jeannie saying last Sunday night `oh no, it’s another week of not seeing my parents.’”
- “I feel like giving up. Walter cried that I am not around enough last night and then I am rushing home to relieve the nanny cos jeff didn’t realise he was supposed to be home. Well done for being brave. Maybe you will inspire me.’’
- “You did not think of gritting your teeth a year or two more? Your son will not need you as much as he does now. And your daughter would also have passed the difficult period. It is exhausting and hectic now. This would pass.’’
- “You’re giving this version of yourself a chance to grow. Be on guard for any thoughts, especially when you are at your most pessimistic and fearful, that your children manipulated you into doing this. They did not. There was a need to fill and you stepped up to fill it. The only loss is material. Money. You, your children, your parents and family have so much to gain with you fully focused on taking care of them for a few years. You will not get this time back with your children and your parents.”
My struggles surrounding being a working mom aren’t unique to me. The guilt from having to take time off for school runs, sick kids and doctor’s appointments is ubiquitous. It’s a tug-of-war that all working parents face. I don’t believe I will ever regret being home for my children, though I may wonder what if I stuck it out longer to get over the hurdles facing me now.
At the end of the day, I realize it’s ok to feel like a sell-out for quitting, and that I did so in spite of it. Maybe there is some bravery in that.