You read about it all the time – the classic battle between working mom and stay-at-home mom; the battle over who’s the better parent or more devoted to their kids. This is a battle that I stay out of. I try not to make judgments regarding the decisions that friends have made because I realize that every situation is different. Still, that doesn’t stop people from making judgments about me.
You see, I’m “old” (relatively, anyway). And I have twins. And I work. And my kids to go to daycare. These are all things that in combination with each other make me a selfish parent in some people’s eyes. We waited more than a few years before trying to have kids because “life” was working itself out – we waited until our education, careers, health, personal growth/maturity, and finances were well established – and then Mother Nature decided to extend that timeline JUST to be sure that we were ready. By the time I became pregnant at 36, I was considered “Advanced Maternal Age.” To add to that, we found out we were expecting twins which, while it made up for lost time, elevated the risk factors. All of this makes some people think that I owe it to my kids to stay at home and cater to their every demand.
But here’s my reality (this is a statement about ME and not anyone else): getting all of those life factors out of the way put me in a place where by the time the squidgies came along, I was more confident than I was in my 20s in my ability to be a good mom. I didn’t have to worry about my job and career development, or about missing out on “having fun” with friends. My health was better than it was when I was in my 20s, and I was just a more mature, grounded person. I was at a place in life where I felt confident in my roles as a working woman and as a mom, and in my ability to competently juggle both.
I have to admit that when the babies first came along, I definitely considered quitting and staying at home because I knew that this time with my kids would pass quickly, and I was truly worried that I’d screw up not one but TWO lives if I made the wrong choice. Then one day, I had a conversation with a woman who has it all together. Like me, she was a working mom who had her kids late in life. She gave me the following advice: “Don’t let people tell you what’s right; don’t look back at things you can’t change; don’t second guess your decisions once you’ve made them; don’t half-ass your priorities. If you live by these rules, you’ll quickly figure out whether it all works for you. And if people still judge you, then tell them to go F-off.” I’ve taken this advice to heart – I no longer care about what other people think because I know that my situation is right for me. I’ve structured my life so that work time is devoted to work, and personal time is devoted to my kids – they don’t just have 100% of my attention when I’m around them; they have infinity-percent.
The other day after bathtime, I was sitting on the floor of our nursery trying to lure either one of my two naked toddlers over to put their diapers and jammies on. Bubba Boy (my son) crawled naked into my lap, threw his arms around my neck and said, “I happy.” Not to be outdone, Lady B (his twin sister) pushed her brother over, squeezing a tiny space on my lap and said, “I happy, too…” I was basking in their happiness until I felt a warm, wet drizzle seep through my pant leg, and Bubba Boy stood up and proudly declared, “I pee peed. I get sticker??”
Maybe someday I’ll talk about why my choice to keep working is better for us, or why we chose daycare over a nanny, or why the choices that work for me might not work for someone else. In the meantime, I know that I took the right turns in my path to where I am now because my children are happy. What more could a Mom really ask for (besides a dry leg)? I’m obviously doing something right. And to those of you who still judge me despite all of this…well, you know what my friend would say.