Today, I spent the entire day at my girls’ school. The school had decided to change the way they had done field day. They decided to call it “May Day”. The school asked the parents to coordinate 9 games for their child’s grade level. We did a lot of planning, then set-up, and ultimately spent the day explaining the games and keeping the flow going.
Let me just get this out-of-the-way: I am one of “those moms”. I am often at the school. I love being at the school. I have always had a love for the people who have my kids all day. The picture above here shows a happy teacher, my 5th grader’s happy teacher. A face like that is what I want to see always. I want to support them any way I can. I haven’t always been able to do it, but I’ll get to that.
Today, many moms made kind comments to me about how much I’m at the school. However, some made snide ones, and let me know they couldn’t do as much because they “worked” or some put it simply: “I have a job.”. Ouch. But I get it. I was them at one time. They just don’t know it.
Not many in our new hometown know the “old” Kim. We moved here a year and a half ago, and before the move, I was doing three jobs: business owner, Director of Admissions at a private school, and substitute teaching at my kids’ school when I could. As you already know, before that I worked at The Weather Channel. For 10 years as a mom, I had other responsibilities outside of the home. Then we moved for my husband’s job. Now, for 1 ½ years, I’ve been a stay-at-home. I feel like the scale is still tipped on the “working mom” side.
My point, and yes I do have one, is in the words of Joni Mitchell, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now.” Wow! Each side has distinct differences. Heck, even within the “stay-at-home” community, it is very different. I may shock some out there, but I don’t think my responsibilities now are very hard. I would need to admit here, that I keep the house at a comfortable level of “not-too-messy”. “Clean” is not how I would describe it. I can also say it’s not very hard because my kids are older and can feed and clothe themselves. I have the freedom to be at school because they are both there as well. A stay-at-home with younger kids does not have that freedom. The role of parent is so different for so many people.
With one exception….
As I saw today, many are often explaining themselves. At work, staying at home, either way, I am still constantly ready with an excuse or explanation. While I stood in the hot sun today, sweating like … well like me… and listening to a mix of compliments and defensive jabs, I wondered: Do people ever really feel completely confident that what they are doing is enough or that it is meaningful? While I was working, I put the kids 2nd, as I oversaw the production of hours of hurricane coverage.
Now I get to put my girls 1st, and I wonder if I should be working. I feel myself explaining that I used to work. I feel awful during those types of conversations. Why can’t I ever feel like what I am doing is ok?
I want so badly for those who feel they don’t do enough as a working parent to know what they do is enough. I want the moms who work in the home to know what they do is enough. Every choice made in the interest of children, whether it be to work and provide more, or stay-at-home and blow up balloons for the balloon pop race at “May Day!” is a good choice.
If only “old” Kim and “current” Kim could hold on to my own advice.