My youngest son has a thing for Wendy’s nuggets, fries, and burgers. It’s called the 4 for 4, and it’s his jam. He asks for it every few weeks and I find myself not only giving in but shouting “YES!” before he’s even done asking.
I know why I do this and truth be told, it’s something my stay-at-home-mom-self wouldn’t have allowed. But now as a full-time working mom, I welcome the fast food, bring it on.
And there are a few reasons why.
First, I don’t have to cook, and that is all wonderful and fantastic, but the bigger reason is I do it because I know my attention is divided now more than it was three years ago when my kids were my whole world and everything revolved around them. In those days, I didn’t have a very big life outside of them. I loved the place I was in for those years, but over time, my wants and needs changed. And that’s okay.
You know what else is okay? To feel a little bit guilty because becoming a full-time working mom has been a big life-change for all of us, and sometimes that guilt can be soothed with greasy carbs, a new dress, or a slime kit.
I don’t spend as much time with them as I used to. I’m not able to attend every single game or make a homemade dinner or their favorite cookies all the time. But in exchange, they have a mother who feels happy and empowered because she’s using her college degree and earning a paycheck.
Pursuing my dream to be a writer is not only a healthy thing for me to do, but it’s a wonderful gift to give to them as well. I want them to see their mother as someone who puts time into her passions, yet isn’t capable of “doing it all” because I’m human.
Not to mention that working is essential to support my family. When I started working, did we all make sacrifices? Of course. But if I weren’t working, would there be bigger sacrifices? You betcha. Because there are these little things called bills that need to be paid.
But even more than that, my kids wouldn’t be getting this version of me– a mom who’s happy because she isn’t putting herself on the back burner. I would be doing them a disservice if I wasn’t working — this is what I need to be doing right now and I want to show them you can put yourself first some of the time. I am setting the example you can still get after what you want in life and it’s okay it you can’t keep up with it all.
So I do things like say “yes” when they want friends over because I know I’ll be busy working and it’s helpful for everyone. While we’re strolling down the aisles at the grocery store or Target and they ask for something, I say “yes” way more now than I did as a stay-at-home mom. In those days, I was able to come up with a cheaper alternative or the guilt about spending the extra money was enough to make me say no. Except then I’d feel guilty about that too.
But not anymore — no matter how you slice it, there is going to be guilt somewhere in the mix and I’ll be dammed if it’s going to stop me from living my best life. Sure, some of my “yes” attitude comes from guilt, but I also feel pretty damn proud we can afford more because I do work my ass off.
Am I spoiling them? No.
Do they act entitled some of the time? Yes, but hey, they did that before I started working, so I can assume it’s not going away until they are in their 20s and pay for all their bills and food themselves.
It’s a fact that when one area of your life blossoms and grows, it takes up more of your time from something else whether it’s is a career, a new friendship, or building a home. Something has to give and I’m okay with it — and so are my kids.
So for now, I’ll keep saying”yes” more often. My house will be filled with my kids’ friends, my recycling can will overflow with take out containers, and I be over here working, doing what I love, knowing my kids have everything they need–including a pretty damn happy mother.