Am I Doing Enough?

As mothers, we question everything. It is in our nature to do so because we want the best for our children. Whether we have one, five or ten (God bless you!), the questions never stop because the changes never do. It’s a ‘go with the flow, everyday is a new day, do what you gotta do’ lifestyle. There are no rules, no regulations and no guidelines on how to be a mother. You are challenged, pushed to your limits, overworked, never paid, at times completely overwhelmed and on most days probably doing what you can to just keep everyone alive and well!

The question that constantly crosses my mind is, ‘Am I doing enough?’. Am I doing enough for my daughter? And sometimes, am I enough as a mom?

The worries and anxieties of a being a new parent are not easy. I struggle with them daily. I wonder if I’m providing her with enough activities, does she have too much or too little stimulation, is she eating the right amounts, am I giving her all the love and support she needs, am I making the right decisions and the question that always follows these, but how do I know?

I believe these questions that invade our minds and make us question our choices and decisions are normal, but I don’t think that will ever put me at ease. There are days when I’m home with my daughter and I just stare at her thinking ‘what am I doing?’. Is there some kind of manual that can outline what my day should look like with her that I can follow? But then I have to tell myself that this is a learning experience and I need to trust what I am doing is always in the best interest of my child. I may not always get it right and things are bound to happen that are out of my control, but right now, I am doing enough. I am enough as a mom…I think!

As moms, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for all that we do. We can become so busy worrying and stressing out about the overwhelming amount of decisions we need to make that we forget to what a great job we’re actually doing. And sometimes, others forget too (never hurts to remind them!). There is no way to ever fully know if we’re doing enough, but the love that we have for our children is so immeasurable that in my mind, we are. We never do the bare minimum when it comes to our children.

So in moments of fear and anxiety, trust your gut and trust your heart…YOU ARE A GREAT MOM and YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Maternity Leave…What the U.S. is Missing.

According to an article by the Huffington Post, “When Australia passed a parental leave law in 2010, it left the U.S. as the only industrialized nation not to mandate paid leave for mothers of newborns. Most of the rest of the world has paid maternity leave policies, too; Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea are the only other countries that do not. Many countries give new fathers paid time off as well or allow parents to share paid leave.

New parents in the U.S. are guaranteed their jobs for 12 weeks after the arrival of a new baby, thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, but they do not have to be paid during that time and exemptions apply for small companies. Only about 16 percent of employers offer fully paid maternity leave and many families take on significant debt or turn to public assistance around the birth of a child.”maternity leave
Is it just me or is this completely crazy? Why at most places of work is pregnancy considered an ‘illness’ which requires you to use short term disability and get paid for only a portion of your time off (and that’s even if you have and qualified for short term disability!) or like many new moms, being off without any pay but your saved up vacation days?!

I don’t understand how in the ‘land of the free’ we can be so restricting when it comes to this. Yes, this leave is to spend time with our newborn child(ren) but that in itself is more of a job than any other 9 to 5 place of employment. You don’t get to clock in, take an hour lunch and clock out. Ha! You’re lucky if you any food in throughout the day. So yes, we are working…we are RAISING A CHILD. We are KEEPING A HUMAN BEING ALIVE. And we are doing it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week not 5 days a week, 8 hours a day (I realize others work more but I’m using the typical 40-hour work week). We are child care providers and we deserve to be paid during this time! We are not at home laying around on the couch, watching Real Housewives and shopping online all day. We are feeding, changing, monitoring, cleaning and doing everything that requires our complete and utter attention, care, responsibility and love for this new person in our family.

I am pretty sure that motherhood is said to be the most difficult and under appreciated job and this is a great video that proves it:

Another favorite of mine is also this one:

Employers in the United States…WAKE UP! Do you have a mom? Because I’m sure you do (living or deceased). And did that mom take care of you? I’m sure she did. She raised you when women stayed home and fulfilled their role as the housewives. Now women work and when we need to be home for the first precious weeks of our child’s lives, we deserve to be paid for that time we are away from our ‘other’ job.

I really hope in the near future things change with regards to maternity leave because the beautiful miracle of birth shouldn’t ever be considered an ‘illness’.

Yes, I’m a Working Mom…We All Are.

I’ve read a lot of articles/blogs/posts/comments regarding ‘working moms’ vs. ‘stay-at-home moms’. There seems to be this distinction and disconnect of one vs. the other. I understand the separation because there is a difference between going to a place of work and working at home, but there no difference in working. You are working mother no matter what you choose to do.

I work in an office, but I no longer do this full time. I miss my daughter like crazy on those days and can’t wait to pick her up. My working days start at 5AM and don’t end until I go to bed (9-10PM, if I’m lucky!). I wake up and get ready for work, pack up the car and then get her strapped in the car seat to go. I drop her off, work nine hours (through my lunch) then pick her up. I come home and spend a short amount of quality time before her nighttime routine begins. After she’s in bed and finally asleep (because kids don’t always fall asleep immediately), I pick up around the house, eat dinner (if I’m still even hungry), make her bottles for the following day, sit on the couch for maybe thirty minutes with my husband and then go to bed.

I imagine that most stay-at-home moms experience this type of schedule (minus going to an office to work) on a daily basis. They do not have the luxury to get an eight hour break. Yes, I called it a luxury. Workforce moms (as I will call us) have adult interaction and fulfill a purpose in life whether it be a job you love or a job that simply pays the bills. However, the other side is that someone else is taking care of your child, not you. Someone else is feeding, holding and spending time with your baby/babies. If you are lucky enough, those people are family members/friends/acquaintances you trust. If you are not so fortunate, those people are strangers. While it is their full time job and they are completely qualified to do so, they are not people that know and love your child the way you, your family or your friends do. It is not a luxury. It’s something you need to do (maybe because of finances) or something you choose to do (simply because you need that break). Whatever the reason, it’s never easy.

Stay-at-home moms fulfill a purpose in life by getting all day with their child/children, but their pay is much different. They are rewarded with hugs, I love you’s and the joy of watching their child/children grow in the way they want, on their schedule and with their constant supervision. But there are also days of no rewards, complete chaos, no appreciation or love, constant screaming and whining, the inability to shower, eat, or please and sometimes catch a breath, let alone a break. Nap times are when moms go into overdrive to do laundry, clean the house, make dinner and maybe brush their teeth…maybe. The days seem endless and a break hopefully comes when your husband gets home, but even that break is short lived. At some point in the day you want to cry (or do) as well as wanting an alcoholic beverage of some sort (maybe more than one!) and you begin to wonder if you can even do this anymore (at least when I was home for three months I did!). For those moms that are single parents, God bless you. I can’t even imagine the stress of being a stay-at-home single mother or a working single mother.

Stay-at-home moms deal with stress the way workforce moms do, the stress of raising a child/children and we are all in this together. One is not better than the other. I personally think staying at home full time is a lot more difficult from my experience of having my three months of maternity leave, but that is just me. I still believe both offer rewarding experiences and can still give us the chance to be the best mothers we can be. So for anyone working part time, full time, in an office, at home, just know that you are an amazing working mom! You BIRTHED A CHILD, maybe even more than one, and no one can ever take your place. I feel blessed to be a mom and I hope those of you that are moms do too.