Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Am I selfish?

Sometimes I often wonder if I am a selfish mom. Selfish for working, for taking on business trips. Am I selfish for willingly leaving my boys at home with their Dad for a few days? Am I selfish for wanting to better my career, for nothing other than my personal pride and work ethic?

All too often I hear, that someone's child is so much better off because their mom was able to stay at home with them. That the only reason that they turned out okay was because their mom was around all the time. While, I have no doubt that's true, and that is what works for their family, it makes me wonder if my work has made me selfish.

Let me elaborate a bit more.

I work at home, averaging about 30 hours or more a week. I work in IT Sales and Management, specializing in solutions. I'm working hard to make the transition into a full time position with my company. I also don't work because of a need for two incomes. Furthermore, I have maintained the stance that I won't sacrifice my career, or job rather, simply because my husband is in the military. I was very lucky to have this job and have strived very hard to prove myself.

I often wonder, or rather feel that I am highly selfish for not turning down work trips to remain the sole caretaker of my children, or the stability in our house. I know that our home life is much different than other families because of my husband's job in the military. Not only is it much different from the "norm" but it is also much different from other military families.

Sometimes I question whether or not I am paying someone to raise my kid, or that I am a part time mom. That I am really causing more harm than good, or that I am trying to do too much, only to cause a lot of damage on the way. I hate that by working, I feel guilty and feel like I'm being too selfish. That in someway, I am ruining my children. I know deep down I'm not, but when I hear comment about how great someone's kids are because their mom stayed at home, I wonder if I am just plowing the way for my children to be not-so-great.

There are some days, that seem to flow so seamlessly and feel so content. Then there are others, the rough ones. The ones were work is busy and stressful, there are a hundred house chores that need to be done, dinner to be made, and the boys are on a biting, screaming streak. Those are the days I question everything so much more. I question on if I would have more time if I didn't work, if the boys wouldn't have a speech delay if I were around narrating my day more. Maybe if I didn't work, we wouldn't eat so much take out and L wouldn't bite H as much as he does. Maybe if I didn't work, we would have more friends with families, the boys would have friends their own age. We would have time for coffee and doughnut play dates, park and more zoo trips. I question it far more than I should on those days.

I've spoken with other working mom friends, well co-workers.They get it to an extent. I think part of the issue lies within my inner critic, and the mom guilt. While there are a hundred ways to skin a cat, I feel like there are two main ways to raise children and that I'm kind of falling in this grey area. Not quite a full time in-office working mom, but not a start at home mom either. The grey area is what makes it tough, what makes me feel like I'm walking in an uncharted territory.

I hate that I feel selfish over working, because working helps with my feelings of self worth. It's good to be selfish in life, good to want to better yourself. I work because ultimately, I enjoy it. I can only hope that I'm teaching the boys that it's okay to be selfish, without losing sight of what is best for your family. I hope that I can teach them there are more matters to life than work, but that there is more than family. It's okay to put your family first, but you shouldn't lose sight of your own goals and aspirations. You don't want to look back one day and think 'What if...' that being said its important to not put work first all the time, and it's not quite always the best timing to put your goals first either. It's a fine, fine line to walk. One that I'm leery of almost all the time, to walk this line that divides maintaining your identity without pushing your family away, and becoming so engulfed in your family you lose focus and you lose who you are.

"It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary." -Mandy Hale

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