For the first three and a half years of my daughter’s life, I worked outside of our home. She was in daycare/preschool nine hours a day for four days a week.
Was I a neglectful mother because I passionately pursued a career with monetary return, one that had been borne out of four years of college, professional experience, and four years of law school at night?
Now, I work for myself, from home, and very part-time. I might soon make an even more dramatic shift into something that has far less financial reward.
Am I sponging off my husband? Should I be modeling something different for my daughter?
The answer to these questions, of course, is a resounding no. At least not if those things did and do work for my family and me at the time. But those are the very kinds of questions that sneak into my head when I read the comments to articles about mothers who work outside the home and those who do not.
That’s right: the comments cause this internal debate. Comments from strangers who do not, cannot, and could not really ever know someone else’s reasons for choosing or ending up on one of life’s myriad paths. Comments that affirm that women with children are still, on so many levels, damned if they do, and damned if they don’t _________ [take your pick].
Why do I let them get to me? But more importantly, how to move forward?
It’s time to change the tide of judgment that is thrown around callously and carelessly toward all parents, but perhaps especially mothers. I have some thoughts about how we might do that, and you can read more about them today in my Op-Ed piece at Literary Mama.
Copyright (c) 2014 Kristen M. Ploetz