The stereotypes are true. The stay-at-home-moms (which I've recently learned have their own acronym: SAHMs) go to the gym. The working moms miss out on stuff. And the part-time moms are not truly engrossed in either their job or their kids. It's a win-win all around, right?
Since I have been all three of these moms at some point or other in my "motherhood career," I think I've earned the right to talk about them all behind their backs. Because, in the end, they are all too similar.
Let's start with the SAHM, because that's where my current brain is. After having just a few short weeks of maternity leave after my second was born (c'mon USA -- Canada has a damn year), I felt I needed just a bit more time. So I've taken this year "off" to take care of my two young boys. And what a ride it has been. I see and know EVERYTHING (I guess that makes me God, eh?). I get every detail of what my older one did at school each day. And I know exactly what makes my younger one laugh and how to get him to eat his oatmeal. I've managed the schedule to a T. And everything runs smoothly... most of the time. So, even though my 2.5 year old asked me "why" 74 times today, I can literally see my response being deposited in his brain as he repeats what I say and files it away. It is truly incredible. But, SAHMs don't REALLY do anything. I mean, some SAHMs even have nannies. How I used to judge. Until I realized that this may well be the toughest job in the world. (And I could really use my nanny back right about now). The SAHM is a 24 hour/7 day a week NONPAID job, with incredible highs and pretty intense lows. The SAHM goes to the gym so she can get rid of the unbearable "mommy pooch," to build confidence, and to keep her energy level high so she, in turn, can be the best possible mom. She takes her kids to classes and libraries and parks to keep them engaged and excited. She feeds, plays, shuttles, reads, bathes, cleans and collapses, on repeat. And she is impressive as hell. So, hats off to the SAHMs. You are kicking major butt.
On to the working mom. (Does anyone else feel like this is getting a little wise child/wicked child?) I'm not going to lie. I liked getting up, showering, putting on human clothes and makeup and taking the crowded subway to work with a purpose. I felt refreshed, stimulated and challenged. But I always had the nagging feeling that my new mom friends and their kids were at the park (which they were), and I was missing out (which I was). Of course I dashed home at the end of every day to spend precious time with my son before bed (since he had already eaten dinner), and of course I got the daily report from my nanny on how school had gone, how his naps were, what he ate, who he played with, etc., and of course I was excited each time he showed me something new (be it a word, concept, or action). But, it just wasn't the same to hear about it from my beaming nanny than to be there for it firsthand. So while my days were hectic and fast-paced and I loved being a part of the game, I couldn't help but think, should I really be at this meeting? Shouldn't I be at home with my baby? The working mom is an efficient machine. Not spending a second longer than she needs to at the office, she balances bosses and boo-boos, deadlines and dairy allergies, projects and poop. She is the almighty and she will make sure that whatever needs to get done will get done. She is the freaking bomb.
And finally, the part-time mom. Trying so hard to do it all. It APPEARS to be the perfect solution, at least that's what I thought. Time for work AND time for your kids. But, you see, clients don't care that you don't work on Wednesdays. And, frankly, your kids don't care that you work any day. So I was emailing when I should have been playing, and playing when I should have been emailing. I felt like I couldn't fully dedicate myself to either thing and therefore felt half as good an employee and a mom. The part-time mom sacrifices. She sacrifices face-time in the office, she sacrifices on salary and she sacrifices time with her kids. She may be the one trying the very hardest to make it ALL work. Her dedication and determination is mind-blowing. I admire her ability to switch brains at the drop of hat. She is a true solider.
So, what I'm really trying to say here is that there are lots of different kinds of moms. But really, there is only one. The mom who loves her kids more than anything in the world and would do anything to make them happy. To the SAHMs, the working moms, the part time moms, my mom, and anyone and everyone in between, Happy Mother's Day. You've truly earned it.