Closing the Gap (no pun intended)

I was smiling ear to ear, frantically searching for my phone to text my husband the news, eyes wide with excitement, hardly containing myself.....

2 beautiful bright eyes, fluffy hair, button nose, and a contagious smile.... WITH A TOOTH POKING THROUGH! 

The days can be long, the conversations small (baba, dada, mama, bye), messes frequent  but each day something reminds me why I'm here and why I left it all behind to be a full time mama. And today, it was putting my sweet girl down for her nap, her giggling to my smothering good night kisses and amongst the sweet giggles seeing the faintest, jagged, white little tooth emerging from her cute gummy smile. 

The days are going to turn into months and the months into years and I just know that I'm going to look back and be so incredibly grateful for each moment I spent chasing her verse chasing a dollar. 

Most days I'm perfectly content doing "the mom thing" but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel alone at times. I love the daily schedule, the ability to do what I want with my time, the freedom to LIVE life, and never miss a moment. My grass is green and I'm not wishing to be on the other side, and obviously, don't have any pity for me- life is pretty darn good! I'm just being transparent. Transparent in the fact that it's difficult to connect with people who work. It's hard to talk about goals, promotions, money when I'm not on the same page. It's difficult to feel respected by your peers when your life looks much different. It's sometimes lonely to be a stay at home mom in a working mom's world.

No matter whether you're a working mom, stay at home mom, part-time working mom, work from home mom, we all face challenges. 

Sometimes as moms it feels like we simply can't win. We learned long ago that you can't have your cake and eat it too, but that becomes much more apparent when you're a mom struggling between work, motherhood, monetary value, housekeeping, cooking and every other hat you're trying to wear.

If you work 40+ hours a week, you're overcome with guilt of someone else raising your kid. You feel less of a mother because you don't get every waking hour to experience the abundance of "firsts". You're rushing around with your head cut off, pulled in a million directions and often times feel like your succeeding at nothing. Sitting in rush hour traffic to and from daycare is hardly quality time and the weekends are practically over before they even begin. The working mom is the epitome of never enough hours in a day. 

You're a "mom". That becomes your title, your meaning, your job, your destiny. The struggle to find identity outside of "mom" is harder with each passing day. You have no monetary value, no real successes (aside from getting the baby to eat broccoli), and you're job is, quite possibly, the most controversial job there is. You're not allowed to get stressed, be busy, not have time or need a break because after all, you don't work, right? The stay at home mom is referred to (more often than not) as.... "just a mom".

Each mom is strong. One mom has to find strength to leave her baby each day when another mom has to find independence and strength in being alone day in and day out. Each mom has to balance time. A working mom struggles to fit in work, quality mom time, alone time and spouse time. A stay at home mom has to juggle daily job duties (cleaning, showers, lunches, kid activities, workouts) around nap times and feedings. Each mom has to focus on her marriage. Between work and childcare, the working mom has to find energy and time to spend with the hubs. Odds are, the stay at home mom has a husband who works sun up to sun down, providing for the family. Each mom feels guilt. One mom feels guilty for each milestone missed or  the time she'll never get back, while the other mom feels guilty for not using her hard earned college degree. Each mom is blessed. It's a beautiful thing to be able to be mom and balance a career. It's equally as rewarding and beautiful to provide for your family in a way that isn't calculated by monetary value. 

The truth is, as moms, we're flexible and available to be anywhere our family needs us to be. For some... it's the daily work grind, bringing home the bacon and wearing multiple hats. For others, it's being a primary caregiver and home keeper.  

So, here's to closing the gap between workings moms and stay-at-home moms, recognizing the blessing and struggles each have, respecting each for the contributions to their family and coming together to support and connect over that pearly white tooth making it's first appearance.