Measuring Success and Value In Motherhood


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Motherhood success done right.

My jaw dropped from her text. I couldn’t believe my mom would try for the umpteenth time to coerce me to move back home with my family and return to work full-time. Only this time she really hit a nerve. She wondered why I don’t have long-term goals and what a 40-year-old out of the work force for a decade will gain. First off, I’ve never made a plan to wait to work when the kids are in college. Okay, just kidding they’ll be teens when I’m 40. Second, how can a former full-time stay-at-home-mom to four kids have such harsh words? Third, I’ve got plenty of goals. I’m most upset at the fact that she doesn’t see the actual value I place in staying home in these early important years with her grand babies.

It boils down to my maternal instinct to be there for this important time of their lives. They’re only young, vulnerable, and passing major developments in these early years once and that means so much more to me than being able to have a home in my name or to be able to afford a vacation or this weird concept of saving money. Living from one paycheck to one paycheck, we do, however, plan for a second income when the kids are older like as early as (pre-) school age. Gym Hottie said it right when he said we need to live poor for three to four years to then live more comfortably the rest of our lives.

I honestly think my mom thinks my college degree will expire and that my field will banish me if I don’t join their workforce within an allotted time frame. I also honestly think she just wants the best for me still. As an immigrant, she places high value on living “the American Dream:” a home, two cars, two kids, and khaki pants for all. In my journey as a parent, I place value differently. Success isn’t artificial but ethereal. Success is measured in helping my toddler work out his emotional meltdown with a time-in. Success is measured in celebrating extra money one month to enjoy a meal not cooked by me. It’s also measured in doing what’s right for us and respecting two-income families, who solely wish they could be at home. It’s the little things that really matter right now and I have huge goals for life and they’re not even mine.

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What does success mean for you? Have you reached it?

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12 thoughts on “Measuring Success and Value In Motherhood

  1. I have not been ‘in touch’ with your blog as of lately, I am sorry! Being back at work has kept me so busy. So if i don’t comment just know I still read your blog and love every post!

    I wish I could stay at home really I do but in South Africa things are so different from the States so it is not possible. I think somehow your mom knows how she ‘struggled’ and does not want that for your family. I think maybe you need to tell her your goals and plans to go back to work eventually. Just to put her mind at ease. Just like you,she wants the best for her baby!!

    This line made me lol ‘I honestly think my mom thinks my college degree will expire and that my field will banish me if I don’t join their workforce within an allotted time frame’

    • Anita, thanks so much! It means a lot to me. I don’t know how SA establishes maternity or family leave but it’s dismal. I never landed a full contracted job but my friend who’s in the same industry had to use all her available sick and personal days to stay at home with her babies and that wasn’t very long.

      Needless to say, I know my mom worries for security for me much like she did when we were growing up. I know this is why she’s giving me “tough love.” I also think she’s using it as an excuse for me to bring her grand babies closer LOL

  2. Being half Thai, I fully understand. Both my parents worked for years at a factory 45 minutes from home, usually 2nd or 3rd shift. I spent 5 days a week at my aunts house from the age of 5 to 13. I only ever saw my parents on the weekends, and because of their crazy schedules, they were usually sleeping, and I was alone. When I was 14 my dad went overseas to work, and my mom quit her job to be home with me. By that age I was gone all the time. I had friends, a job, and school. I could see how happy my mom was that I was being independent. She came here completely dependent on my dad and her aunt, who disowned us when I was 4. She never wanted that for me. Now that I’m married, and have my own little guy, and she’s back in Thailand, I think she regrets the time lost. She was able to buy a house, that she left to me. Except I’m in Alaska, and I have no idea when or if I’ll ever go home again. The four years I spent as a housewife before having mason were the most stressful for her. Every phone call was just to convince me to go back to college, and get a good job. Because she knew that I couldn’t depend on my husband, and there was nothing I could say to change her mind. After spending a month watching me tirelessly build a nursing relationship with the one person I COULD depend on to always love me, I really feel like she admires me. And a part of me is so sad about that. She worked so hard for what she thought was the American dream. And I think she feels like she missed it. It comes from a good place, momma. She just wants you guys to be happy, and comfortable. To sleep soundly at night, because she knows (just like you do) that the love will always be there regardless of whether or not you spend you days in an office.

    • High five for a million typos! Left hand texting, right hand holding the boob while mase tries to decide if he wants to nurse or chew my pointer finger off!

    • Dammit, Christina, you know how to get me in where my heart hurts. Everything you’ve said is so true. Down to my parents working job that no one will do but do because it put me through college and fed me to study and be graduate with honors. I now realize I think she is afraid all her hardwork for me to not get in the cycle she went through was for nothing. I just hope she is still proud of me even though I’m not earning a paycheck and that her grandbabies are getting my best right now.

  3. Success is being able to be happy with the simple yet meaningful things in life. There tons of people out there with degrees and a career that seriously despise and without a doubt , wish they could enjoy and do what we do. I’m a college drop out who graduated from high school 3 yrs ago. I have two sons at the age of 21 who are 13 months apart. I am successful (: I feel that I have plenty of time and energy to raise my kids now better than later. Later when I can sit still and not have the urge to run out of a confined room like a classroom I’ll go back to school and get a career. My babies need me now more than ever and me being there for them is a success in its own.

    • I admit I do feel guilty that she worked hard jobs to help put me through school. She doesn’t understand that my chosen field will always be there… the beauty of job security. I feel a little obligated as a child of immigrants to be ‘sucessful’ in their terms since they helped me get where I am able to hold on said career. Yes, parents have the most difficult job in the world.

  4. I love your blog! Thank you for your posts. I wish I could be a stay at home mom. You are doing the most important job in the world right now. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!!

  5. Staying at home is the most valuable thing you can do for your babies!! I’ve had my fair share of issues with others about staying home. Mainly from my husband, his mother and sister. When we first had our little girl, it was so hard. I didn’t know what I was doing and she would cry for hours and I just couldn’t make her better…thus everytime John would get home from work I would tell him how horrible my day had been and ask him to just take her and let me be alone a little while. He started to get resentful that I felt like my days at home off work were bad. I get it. But they were bad to me…it was a whole new world I’d never lived in and I needed to tell someone how I felt! He suggested “if staying at home with her is too hard for you maybe you should just go back to work and put her in daycare”……..you can imagine how I felt at that comment. Don’t even get me started on my freakin inlaws…. every other day they would say “oh I just couldn’t sit around the house all day like that I would have to actually get things done and work”. YEA LADY WORK WOULD BE A BREAK FROM ALL THIS SCREAMING! UGH! There were plenty of arguments between John and I about me not pulling my weight. I was pulling my weight, and in fact paid for every single diaper she ever wore. Every wipe. Every stitch of clothing, so I would almost kill him everytime he opened up that can of worms! Sorry I couldn’t get all the laundry done today, I got thrown up on 18 times! I think that now with 2 he sees that it really is hard work. He has quit busting my balls at least. I figure it’s from the times I’ve left him alone with them both and they’ve nearly eaten him alive. πŸ™‚ Recently we have been having to take Harper to specialist after specialist for a syndrome she has- literally EVERY WEEK. I think he sees that I could never get off work that much if I were to go back. Also if I were to put them in daycare, I might have an extra 20 bucks from my paycheck to get us groceries for the week. Not worth it. Hope you enjoyed me unloading on you!!! πŸ™‚ XOXO

    • All your thoughts are my thoughts! Seriously. GH and I have had our arguments where I felt devalued and embarrassed to ask “for money” when he was the only one working. Now, he damn well knows this SAHM gig ain’t no freebie. I see it as me SAH is *saving* us costs it would for an actual second income as ironic that may sound but it’s true. Paycheck goin to daycare, student loans, gas expenses, wardrobe, etc. Its not worth it to me.

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