I've come to a new place in my WOHM-ness. I think I spent the first year of my daughter's life grieving about not being with her. I still cry, and I still hate it, but it's a little different now with her being almost 14-months-old. For the first time, recently, I realized I'm not so bitter anymore.
Previously, when I heard a SAHM complain about being home, I cringed. I would either burst out crying or fill up with anger wanting to strangle her for taking her gift of being home for granted. Last week, though, I found out that I've changed. I stood and listened to a friend state how she tries to send her baby (who is the same age as my daughter) to day care 5-days-a-week. Not because this woman has to earn money, because she is ill, or because she wants one day a week to herself so she can really get her house in order. No, none of these things. She explained that she wants to send her baby to someone else because, well, she doesn't really enjoy being a mother. WHAT?! While they're away at day care, she watches TV. Yup, I'm not exaggerating here.
Even thinking about it now, I'm surprised that I'm not irate. My initial thought would normally be something along the lines of "you have GOT to be kidding me! Don't you understand how LUCKY you are to be given the opportunity to raise your children, and you're willingly giving that to someone else? And then you aren't even using your time to yourself to be productive? What is WRONG with you?!"...of course, I never said this out loud to anyone.
This time, my thought was this: I'm sad for you, that you don't enjoy being a mother. For me, it's been the most amazing, rewarding, and humbling thing I've ever experienced and I love every single moment of it. I'm sad that you can't experience that as well. While I wish that one's ability to stay home with her children was dependent upon her desire to, I know that's not how it works, and it's okay. It's too bad, but that's how it is. We are all different, and I don't feel a need to judge you because you don't enjoy your babies and you aren't home with them when you could be. It's okay that we're different.
I'm not angry. Instead, while I continue to mourn my loss of my daughter's first year of life, I am also able to enjoy the fact that I know God has very specific reasons as to why I'm not with LoveBug. I'm able to enjoy knowing that she loves going to her Grandma-Mimi's house every day, and that my mother and sisters have had the time of their lives this last year taking care of LoveBug every day. I'm also finding comfort in the fact that LoveBug has a very special relationship with her daddy that she may not have had if they hadn't been given the opportunity to spend so much time together. For these things, I'm thankful.
So while it will still continue being hard to be a WOHM and I will still have my days where I feel like I'm not doing anything well, at least I can rest in knowing that it's okay. It's okay that I'm not able to keep up with everything in my life. It's okay that some women don't want to be with their babies all of the time. And it's okay that everyone's not like me.