None of these have made me love my children a little less.
The moment we find ourselves pregnant, we mothers face a daily dozen of choices. No matter what choice we make, the guilty feeling is almost always there. As if the choices are not hard enough to make, others join in pushing our guilty button.
There is not a single way to be a perfect mother. There are thousands of different ways to be a good mother.
Almost a decade into the motherhood journey, I have learned not to let others make my motherhood more difficult than it already is. There is not a single way to be a perfect mother. There are thousands of different ways to be a good mother.
Every mom’s journey is different. Though we can compare to learn from each other, we should never judge another mom’s journey just because it is different from ours. We have different children, circumstances, and options. We all do what we think is best.
In the first nine years of me being a mother, I’ve tried different things based on what I thought was best for me and my family at certain times. Here are the five “kinds” of mother I have been so far.
I got pregnant at 20 and gave birth at 21. It was an early age to be a mother by many standards. “Why are you pregnant when you don’t have work yet?” was just one of the several questions thrown at me.
I have just graduated so the transition between being a student and being a parent went fast. My baby was always crying. She wouldn’t sleep at night. She didn’t want to be held by anyone but me. It was driving me insane.
A few years later and the relentless crying stopped. She grew up to be a sweet, independent, and witty girl. I wish someone told me before that it wasn’t my fault that she always cried, it was just her temperament. I wish someone told me that there was nothing wrong with me, or with her. I wish people did not conclude that the reason for the cries was because I wasn’t doing this or that.
As a young mom, I had to grow up fast. I had to endure harsh remarks. I am thankful to have plenty of supportive friends and family members too. They made that season of our lives more bearable and more beautiful. Every mom, no matter what age, needs a strong support system. It takes a village to raise a child, they say. It takes a village to raise a mother too.
“A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a mother’s work is never done.”
There were times where I didn’t do any paid work. Paid work I say since all moms are working moms. Staying at home has been distressing for me several times. It seems like you’re always working but nothing ever seems done.
It is rewarding to be always available to your children. It is a wonderful feeling to watch them play, laugh, sleep, or just be their innocent wonderful selves. It is comforting to be right there when they need you most. But it is also stressful. It’s not easy to not lose your patience. It’s tiring to cook, wash, clean, repeat.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a beautiful and messy thing. You can feel insecure yet fulfilled. Embrace it. You can be super grateful and complain that you’re tired. Be honest about the difficulties, but don’t forget to savor the blissful moments too.
This term should be changed to mom with paid work. Again, all moms are working moms. Financially speaking, almost all moms need to work since one person earning for a household is hardly enough for comfortable living.
So I worked at two different schools as a teacher, school nurse, and clinical instructor. Though my salaries at those times were low, it was still a big help for our daily expenses. Aside from the monetary benefits, working outside our home had its perks too. It is satisfying to contribute to society in other ways. It feels good to see that you’re getting things done. It is gratifying to be appreciated by your boss, colleagues, or students.
Yet the guilt was still there. During slow times at work, you think about your children and imagine what they might be doing. What they might be feeling. You miss some special events at home. It’s like you’re always missing something, wherever you are.
Two years ago, I left my children at home to work abroad. It was hard. But it was the best decision for us at that moment. It is a decision millions of Filipino moms had to make too.
On the good side, we were able to provide well for our family and we were able to save faster than we could when we stayed here. My husband and I became closer, we traveled freely, and we thrived in our careers in a short span of two years. I admit I enjoyed plenty of those moments of not being with my children. I loved jogging at the park alone. I cherished going around Bangkok with my husband. I had a good time having date nights with friends.
But homesickness is real. There were times when I broke down while at work. It sucks to not be there for your children. It hurts to see them cry on the phone and not be there for them. It’s heartbreaking to not celebrate their birthdays, attend special occasions, and walk them up the stage to get an award.
Work at home mom
This is me at the moment. This is the best decision for us at the moment. Our combined salary is not yet the same as our salary abroad but it’s enough to keep us going.
I own my time and I adjust it based on my children’s needs. It’s good that I can still watch them closely. I can postpone my work when I need to and I can work as long as I can when they’re settled. I don’t miss birthdays or holidays now.
Working at home can be chaotic, especially now that my first child is also studying at home. Sometimes your motherhood and work tasks get mixed up you get nothing done on both. Working at home also doesn’t give you the respect you get from working outside. Families and strangers alike suggest that you get a “real job”. Most people do not understand what you do and feel like you’re always “free”.
So, what’s the hardest “kind” of mom? None. Motherhood is not an oppression Olympics. Motherhood is tough AND beautiful. Your children can melt your heart or drive you insane. Whether you are a young mom, a stay-at-home mom, working mom, OFW mom, or work at home mom, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, you’re doing a fantastic job!
Let’s grow and thrive together, one story at a time. Get more ideas straight to your inbox, subscribe HERE.