I’m a better mom as a working mom

609_3453436There was some hubbub in the news last week about the quantity of hours that moms spend with their kids (ages 3-11) having very little impact on their social/emotional well being or academic achievement. Music to my ears. I love working. I love being a working mom. I tried being a stay-at-home for a stint. It didn’t go over well. Even my best friend told me, in the nicest way possible, that I should go back to work. Don’t let the door hit you on your way back to your job…

We can talk all day long about the validity of studies but, I know this to be true about me – I am a better mom as a working mom. I don’t hyperventilate over a dirty or cluttered house. I am better able to prioritize my activities as well as my children’s. My kids are independent and self-sufficient and go out of their way to help me around the house. One of my kids packed her own lunch last year – when she was in kindergarten – and sometimes packed lunches for her older siblings – after taking down their orders on her practice spelling sheets.

430_3151342My kids don’t feel shortchanged by me being at work, they seem to feel empowered. They are proud of all that they can accomplish and how they can help each other. They are problem solvers. If they wait for me to figure it out for them, it might never happen. If my 4 year old wants a drink, he needs to decide between milk or water – if the glass milk jug is more than half full, he needs to choose water. If the milk bottle is less than half full, he can help himself.

When I was home all day long, I felt like I needed to be managing milk and water and snack time and play time and organizing activities. The reality has been that my kids can get their own snacks and make their own fun and even do their own homework. And when I am home and able to play, our time together is enjoyable and I am SO happy to be with them and not at work. I’m not thinking about my mile-long to-do list waiting for me in my inbox – I get to hang out and just enjoy my kids. I think that’s the biggest difference I notice – when I had ALL day with them, I didn’t enjoy the minutes because there were just SO. MANY. MINUTES.

But now, when my minutes with them are limited, I enjoy them all. And when I travel for work and walk back through the door, I get a reception fit for a queen – sometimes there are signs and fancy drinks – who wouldn’t go back to work to come home to that? Truth be told, I felt like they kind of took me for granted when they had me around all the time.

I don’t know if I’ll always be a working mom but, for the time being, it seems to suit us well.

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Erin Brighton

Erin Brighton

Mom to 5. Passion for food. Preferably local & delicious. Director of the Char Meck Food Policy Council. Food blogger. Summer Bostonian.