When I read my friend, Jamie’s, post today, I got thinking.
You see, Jamie has been a stay-at-home mother, traveling around with her husband, who is in the Coast Guard. In her post, Jamie grapples over taking a part-time job, outside of the home. She feels that doing “the right thing,” is in conflict with what she wants.
It’s a common dilemma, among women, especially.
Before we had kids, we had LIVES. We had social groups. We had jobs. We had separate identities, away from our families.
When we have a child, we’re presented with this tiny being, completely dependent upon us. We can make or break this person. We need to do it right. We need to give everything, to give this person every possible advantage.
I know. I slept in a recliner, holding Beanie on top of me, making nursing available to her on demand. Because that was how she slept, during the worst of her reflux. I pumped at work, for a year. I washed poopy cloth diapers. I’ve seen a LOT of poop. (And Rob has seen more). I’ve been puked on. I slept in a baby cage at the hospital. I’ve spent time everyday, doing therapy home programs (and I will spend more time, since she will soon be without any therapy, until fall).
Having a kid means giving a lot.
And I don’t mind. None of us mind. But there is something we can’t give. Something we should not ever give up.
And that is ourselves.
We’re taught, with all good intentions, to put others before ourselves. But who are “others”? Who is “ourself”? Are we not one category, humanity? In our home, are we not just our family? Why are we separate, less?
This kind of goes with the question, what is more important: our marriage or our kids? The correct answer is, both and neither. The attention should go to whoever and whatever needs it. And we should include ourselves in the equation.
We’re mothers (or fathers), but we are humans too.
Humans need to pursue their passions. We need social interaction. We need variety in our lives.
Some people, homesteaders, especially, are able to accomplish this by staying at home. But, for those of us who aren’t, there is no shame.
Taking care of ourselves, and making sure that we are happy, is a part of taking care of humanity. Because we are a part of it.
So stop being at war with yourself. Do what you need to do.
The world will be better for it.