In the twilight, I rocked my baby girl back to sleep after she had woken up screaming. At 15 months old, Keira very rarely wakes up crying. Instead, she may cry for a second before lulling herself back to sleep. In fact, it seems as our little toddler has become so independent that the moments of need pass all too quickly. But there in the dark, I lulled her back to sleep after what I could only assume to be a nightmare. I felt her tiny arms grasping at me tightly. She needed her mama to hold her.

I rubbed her back gently and begin singing back to her. She sighed briefly before giggling and closing her eyes. I laid her back down in her crib and her eyes fluttered softly to gaze up on at me. Sweetly, I rubbed her face and told her I loved her. She sighed again before snuggling into her stuffed Piggy and I gently closed her bedroom door behind me.

I stood at her door for a moment, filled with that overwhelming feeling of love. I had soothed my daughter’s tears from her fear, her giggle letting me know that I had set everything right. In that moment and for the first time I pondered, “Is this what it’s like to be a stay at home mom?”

Those are the moments that beat down a working mother: when you’re wondering if you’ve made the right choice. Of course, there aren’t a lot of “right” and “wrong” choices in parenting. It’s a balancing act of give and take. My career, while not the only part about me, has always been an important part of my identity. While I had earned a very important title to my identity as “Mom”, I couldn’t fathom walking away from the years of education and hard work and give away the career side of my identity. But the question was still ringing in my mind.

Then I pondered, would that hug, that grasp around my neck have the same meaning if I hadn’t been missing my daughter during the week day? Would I still experience the thrill and excitement of walking through the door after a day at work: Keira running across the kitchen and eagerly declaring “MAMA!” followed shortly thereafter by two tweens pretending to be toddlers? Would my boys relish our weekend errands as much if this was a part of our normal everyday process? Would I still find solace in cuddling at home after the kids have gone to bed if I had been at home the entire day?

There’s my balancing act. With my hours spent away from home, those moments with my family build up so much more meaning. With the confidence and happiness I find in my career, I bring that back home to share with my children. And in those moments before going off to bed, listening to my husband replay the stories with the kids gives up a point to connect our days together, bringing our marriage closer together.

No, I may not have made the “right” choice in all women’s eyes. But I had made the right choice for me.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. amberdegrace
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 15:00:32

    Great post, mama! I think it’s silly for any woman to look down on another for making the choice to either be an at-home mom or working mom. Different strokes for different folks. I can say that even when I’m only gone for an hour while at a chiro appointment, I get so excited to walk through the door and see my kids and they at least act equally excited to see me. 😉


  2. Hillary
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 16:58:09

    🙂 Having now been on both sides of this “debate”, they both have their pros and cons and neither is “superior” to the other. Well put Kirsten! For me I think working part time would serve my need for adult interaction, a sense of bigger purpose, and interesting things to happen outside of the home. I am totally enjoying the lazy days (took a while to get used to) with my girls and my closer relationship I have with each of them now. There were things I missed while working full-time but I’m definitely less stressed now that I’m not running around and I can manage the household much better not working outside of the home. I do miss work now and then, especially when it’s been a trying day with the kids. If I had one wish, it would be moms would pull together and support one another instead of tearing each other apart for the choice to work or not.


    • Kirsten Deeds
      Aug 09, 2011 @ 21:39:17

      Exactly – I don’t think any other woman’s decision should play a part in what I decide for myself. We don’t live in a vacuum but we shouldn’t have other people’s opinions deciding our own.


  3. Melinda Dicharry
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 17:35:49

    Great post KT. I can completely relate. Yes, it is hard sometimes for others to understand the satisfaction that my career brings. I am not chosing work over family – I’m chosing both!


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