I loved reading Michelle Obama’s quote from an Interview with Michelle Obama on Today.com: “Like any mother, I’m just hoping I don’t mess them up.”
Ain’t it the truth, ladies?! And isn’t it so refreshing to hear a bit of reality out of the mouth of the first lady of the United State of America? I commend Obama for speaking her true concerns about parenting and not trying to sugar coat the process with a boiler plate feel-good response. Women need to feel comfortable expressing their challenges with raising children, and having other women, albeit powerful women, express similar feelings is a godsend. “Oh, it’s not just me trying to juggle work and marriage and outside activities with the kids’ homework and kids’ mom time and kids’ talk time?” Alleluia! How many days have I spent sitting in front of my computer at work wondering whether Mario was going to have co-dependency issues because I left him at daycare at three months old? How many days did I have to take a walk around my building in order to shed some tears because I felt so guilty for not staying home with my kids? How many hours did I spend awake at night wondering what else I could be doing or learning so that my kids would learn more? Too many.
But I have gotten a lot better over the years with being aware when I am heading down a dead-end path of guilt and berating for choices I made. I stop. STOP. Stop as soon as I can and tell myself that my kids are happy and laugh constantly and draw wonderful pictures and enjoy books and care about others and hug me all the time.
I enjoy my time at work. There are days I don’t like my job but in the end, I want to keep up my law practice, retain my connections in the legal community, have the opportunity for lunch with my colleagues, and advance myself in the public speaking realm. Maria and Mario will grow up in a flash and have their own lives so why should I put my career on hold for 18 years and then have to start all over? If there was a definitive study out there that showed that working outside of the home destroyed a child, I would undoubtedly give it all up in a heartbeat. But there is no such study out there and in the end, I have faith that providing constant love and support and encouragement to my children will foster independence, curiosity, self-assurance, and confidence as they continue to mature.
And besides, I know no matter if I stayed home with them or had a job outside of the house, I would still always hope that I was not messing them up too much. That concern is any mother’s burden to bear. But in the end, it may not be such a bad one. It reminds me to stay aware of my actions, continue to grow and learn, and stay connected to my fellow mamas. Kudos to Michelle Obama for reminding all of us moms that being a mom is tough and it’s ok to have our doubts but in the end, we need to be true to ourselves and have faith that we are doing the best we can for our little munchball, pumpkin seed, babycakes.