From time to time, I got questions like, “Why do you send your baby to day care when you’re staying at home all day long?” or “Why don’t you cook everyday? Don’t you have plenty of time at home?”
I just shrugged and said, “because I am a bad mom.”
You see, my little one started to go to day care when he was 3 months old. When my previous employer refused to provide breastfeeding accommodation, I quit my full time reporting job. I became a work-from-home working mom when my little one turned 6 months old…but he continued going to school.
This is what my current typical day looks like: Get up, walk my now 2-year-old to his school, come home and then write, write, write. I have to produce at least 2,000 words on a daily basis. If I finish my writing before 4 PM, I cook, and then pick up the little one by 6 PM. We come home, and the whole family sits down together for dinner.
If I don’t finish my writing by 4 PM, I still have to pick him up by 6 PM. Then the whole family goes out for dinner. Whether we dine at home or dine out, we spend a solid hour playing together after eating. At the end of the day I give him a bath, give him his bedtime nursing session, brush his teeth, read him a story, and kiss him goodnight. Then I spend the rest of the night catching up on my chores.
This is on an easy day. Hard days happen when I have a business trip, out-of-town interviews to conduct, research to do, or, the worse, when the little one is sick.
These are my days.
But some people might think that working from home equals not working…and they consider sending a child under 3 years old to school while the mother is “sitting at home all day long” unforgivable.
I know some supermoms who do everything themselves. They give birth at home; they cook every meal from scratch; they homeschool their children. I admire these moms while they turn up their nose on moms like me.
I know some super grandmas who love to tell stories about what great mothers they made when they were my age and how well they handled their dozen of very active kids and bunch of very annoying in-laws.
These are the people who love to ask me a question like, “I bet you just drop the poor kid to that terrible place, and then go shopping and out to lunch, don’t you?”
Before my little one turned 1 year old, I would sincerely go though my typical day with them, detailing what I really do when my little one goes to school. I would earnestly share my experience of choosing a good day care with them and telling them why I really like my little one’s teacher. I would seriously quote George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman,” explaining my decision of keeping my career.
But I soon realized that my sincerity would only bring on more questions. Now I just shrug,and say, “Because I am a bad mom.” For some reason, my questioners really like this answer.
Just earlier this month, my mother-in-law once again told me, “I can’t bare seeing you send my grandson to day care at such a young age. That’s just horrible.”
I said, “yes, that’s horrible. I am a bad mom. I can’t be as good as you are.”
She said, “I know, right?”
And that was the end of the discussion.
Has anyone ever tried to make you feel guilty or ashamed by someone for being a working mom, work-from-home or a stay-at-home mom who uses childcare or pre-school? How have you dealt with it?
Photo credit to the author.