When we decide to have children, we commit our life to the well-being of another.
In many ways we start a new career with a new boss. This tiny little creature has you tending to their every need and will freely express their displeasure at your performance. In this new ‘career,’ we will never receive money and it can’t be used on a resume to get another job in the future. We are committed to this boss for life. I don’t want to scare you, but it might be 30 years before you even know if you’ve done a good job or not.
When mothers work outside of the home they are committing to a second boss in their life.
Every day they are required to please two people who are almost always polar opposites. They struggle to wear the uniform of two vastly different occupations simultaneously. At times, it seems that working outside of the home after having children is a terrible idea. We can never simultaneously please two people who are so different yet we might die trying. When we make mistakes in these two different areas of our lives the consequences are diverse.
When you fail as a mother it is hard not to be consumed by how your failure affects your child. Every misstep as a parent triggers a fear of the repercussions. Not only does this occupation not pay monetarily there are many days where the feedback is completely negative. We still commit our every breath to doing everything we can no matter how futile it feels.
When we fail in a job outside of the house the consequences are harsh yet less emotionally damaging.
It can be easier to recover emotionally from failures in the professional world because at the end of the day you can clock out and go home. We will still struggle day to day with which job of ours takes priority. It can feel like even trying to do both things well is a waste of time. Having a career is enormously satisfying for many mothers even though it can be stressful. Balance is key and it is possible to do a good job, but we must fully commit to two different agendas.
The lasting effects of our performance as a parent is really all that matters and mothers know that. Learning to prioritize and let go of ideas of perfection is important for emotional survival. Even though we can’t get it right all of the time we must never give up.