November 24, 2017

“Mommy, I Need You” by Caroline Taylor

Today on Facebook I read a posting from a mom who I used to know in high school. Back then I knew her as a kind, outgoing, bright, funny identical twin who came from a well-off family. This was reinforced in my mind when I remembered she and her twin sister received matching BMW 320I’s for their sweet 16 birthdays.  She always seemed to have it all.

On the public forum, she wrote to all 500+ of her friends, “I am heartbroken. Today my 5 year old son said, ‘Mommy, why don’t you pick me up from school like all of the other mommies?’ to which she replied, ‘Mommy has to work.’

Her son replied, ‘But my heart misses you every day mommy.” This was the heart-wrenching moment that sent her running to her Facebook wall, in search of answers to her moral dilemma.

It was interesting to see all of the comments, ranging from “Well, just explain to him that you have to go to work but that you miss him too,” to, “Oh, how sad,” with an upside down smiley face to “Hang in there, my friend.”

I could almost see all their faces as they typed and I could guess by the responses which of the moms work full time and which stay home with their kids.

Such is the problem of every working mom I know—how to balance the desire or need for a career with the guilt of being away from her children and missing special events like class parties, Halloween parades, honor roll assemblies, and field trips. In the end, we all just want to be the best moms and role models we can be, hopefully not at the expense of our kids’ sense of well-being.

When I read her posting, I wanted to applaud her for her honest and sincere commitment to the happiness of her child, and her willingness to put herself out there publicly, with her plea for sympathy. Reading her heartfelt posting, I could feel her pain, her dilemma, and understand where she is coming from. Although I have not seen her in years, I am very proud of this woman for still being in touch with her nurturing side, which is telling her that her small son needs her to be around.

It is so easy for working parents to justify their absence by saying, “My kids love staying all day at day care. They really don’t need me anymore,” or, “I really don’t get involved in my kids’ problems. They need to figure things out by themselves.” Yet, she doesn’t subscribe to these phrases. Based on her son’s unhappiness and her own ability to see the big picture, she questions her choices to be a full time employee and is actually willing to share this publicly.

 It takes a brave mommy to accept that her decisions have an impact on her child’s happiness and security, and she is at least open to other people’s advice and opinions on the subject.

She may be a mom who has to work for financial reasons, or a mom who wants or needs to work for feelings of self-worth or personal identity, or she may be feeling pressured into working full-time by her husband or society in general. But, regardless of her circumstances, she cares for her son and loves him enough to want to do what is right for him. In my opinion, she is a stellar mommy for stopping to question her situation, and I think her son is going to be just fine in the end.

 

Caroline is the mother of three boys and she works part-time.

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