Let's be real for a few minutes, shall we?
I am a divorced single mom. Not working is not an option. Work is survival. I am the head of my household, and that's not likely to change anytime soon. When I was at home with my daughter, I built a lifetime of memories into two and a half short years, and if I could do it over again, I would. I miss all that quality time I had with my girl. I miss not running around like a mad woman. I miss having time to schedule things rather than cramming every moment in. I miss feeling like I could slow down for one second without worrying about when life was going to bulldoze me over.
But those days are long gone. And you know what? My single parenthood. My divorce. My hectic, crazy life does not mean I go on day to day, surviving. I thrive. And even more still, I actually enjoy working. I enjoy knowing that, at the end of the day, no man or other human being is responsible for me and my daughter's care. That, ultimately, the fruit of my labors bring us care, shelter, food, and more. That my efforts are building a young girl's world and substantiating mine!
Do I love every aspect of work? Do I love every aspect of being the single, solitary person I can depend on? No. I would be a big fat liar if I said I did, but at the end of the day, I enjoy what I do. For the past year and a half, while I work full-time, I have been building my own business as a writer and content creator, creating everything from articles to copy for a myriad of clients. It has been tiring, chaotic, amazing, and rewarding and has required much tenacity, organization, and inspiration on my behalf. I get a real joy out of what I do: play with words.
There is a real dialogue out there about working mothers' guilt, and it is completely real and valid, even when you love your job. There are many times I feel guilty that I cannot be there to orchestrate aspects of my daughter's life. It is than multiplied by a billion, considering I share her time with her father and miss out on precious minutes, hours, and days of her time. But even with the guilty feelings and worrying that I am missing out on too much of my daughter's time, I love having meaningful work to add to my to-do list.
You're probably saying, "But my job stinks." Or, '"But my work isn't meaningful to me." And that's the case with so many of us. Many of us clock in and out of something we don't truly enjoy, and why? Because we have bills and children counting on us. Because we want our creature comforts met. Because we wanted to own homes or pay our rent and become functioning adults. But for moms who don't like their jobs, I ask you this:
Is there a way to make a living doing something you would love? And if you're telling me no, why not?
Some people will never love work, no matter what they do, but typically, those are people who are either terribly lazy or incredibly negative. For all the moms pulling in the money, I ask you: how can you incorporate something you love into what you do each day? How can you make earning that dollar a joy and not a chore? Life is too short not to love at least some of what you do each day, and the fact is most of us are at work more than we are at home. Filtering joy into what you do makes the quality of your life infinitely better.
It's why I pull a two-hour commute and manage, essentially, two full-time jobs for now. Because I want to do what I love, and essentially, I am making my way to becoming my own boss. What would becoming my own boss do for me and for my daughter? It would make work run on my terms and her schedule. It would mean having more time for my daughter and a better work-life balance. It would mean less road rage and travel hazards. For the meantime, though, it means I am spent, but in the long run, I have planted the necessary seeds to now run with my passion.
So don't feel bad for me that I am a working parent. Don't feel bad that I don't have time to make goody bags for the school party, again. Don't feel bad that I deal with traffic day in and day out and am on the road for over two hours every day. Feel great knowing that I am investing in myself so that I can say goodbye to the rat race. Feel great knowing that I am investing in myself so that I can enjoy my life and be a happier person and parent. That I have found meaning in my life outside of motherhood and that fact alone will impact my daughter and how she views what women are capable of doing in a tremendously positive and healthy way.
For the moms working the day, night, or afternoon shift, I tell you this: be easy on yourself, spot joy in what you do, and find ways to incorporate it into money made, and don't feel guilty about working. All of us, whether at home or not, pull our share and labor. We are not here to sit idly. We are here to make something of ourselves, our kids, and our worlds, and you're doing a damn good job! And if staying home is your real passion, how can you make that happen? Where there's a will, there's a way! Anything can happen as long as you make it possible.