“She has it so easy with only 1!”
“I do all the stuff those stay-at-home Moms do, only I have a little thing called a full-time job!”
“Working Moms get a break from their kids. I don’t ever get to leave my work!”
Do any of these sound familiar? I am fortunate enough to have girlfriends who have one child, some who are approaching double-digit broods, and an array of girlfriends who work part-time, work full-time, or are home full-time.
I’ve noticed a tendency to play the victim, regardless of which group a person falls into, myself included. Some working Moms thinks stay-at-home Moms have it so much better because they can get all the laundry and cooking done during the day instead of having to get it all done at night after a full day of work. They get to watch reality TV, drink coffee, and talk on the phone all day, right?
Some stay-at-home Moms think working Moms have it better because they get to interact with adults during the day, get to leave work when they go home, and have a higher standard of living with the extra income. They have it so much easier, right?
Some Moms of one feel inadequate or guilty because parenting their only child can be tough. But they see their friends who have 4, 5, or 6 kids and can’t imagine how they possibly do it. Some Moms with many children think Moms of one or two are wimpy for complaining…ever.
Let’s stop judging each other, okay?
Personally, I’ve been a mother of one, a mother of more than one, a stay-at-home Mom, and a part-time working Mom. And guess what? It was all hard! Not every moment, of course, but each phase that I’ve experienced has had its own challenges and its own benefits.
As far as number of children goes, whatever number you have is the most number of children you’ve had. It’s all you know, and it can be hard!
I think the thing that made being a Mom of 1 hardest for me was that I lived away from home and was the 1st of my friends to have a baby. The only Mom support I received was from my Mom and sisters over the phone. I remember envying the Moms who were more connected with their older kids, who had more social interaction with other Moms.
As a Mom of 2 children born 16 months apart, I was exhausted. I was depressed. And I was still isolated. What saved my mental health and desire to rip out my uterus was that this is when I began spending time with other Moms who felt just like I did. On days where I was really struggling, they’d lift me up. And on days when I’d showered and gotten dinner ready early, I’d lift them up.
As a Mom of four, I spend a good portion of my day driving carpool to school and sports, refereeing fighting siblings, managing toddler tantrums, cleaning up baby spit up, and taking a toddler and baby with me to the grocery store, my doctor’s appointments, and municipal buildings to file tax exemptions. On really difficult days, I think working Moms have it much easier than I do.
Currently, I have 4 children and work part-time. Some of my work is from home on the computer. Some of my work is away from home in the evenings. Making the time and balancing being present to my children while thinking of all the things I need to do around my home and for my work is quite overwhelming at times.
Regardless of the number of children you have and if you work or don’t work, please know that as Moms, we’re all on the same team. Parenting is so challenging, so exhausting sometimes, that it can feel like it’s you against the world.
I’d like to suggest that, instead of focusing on who has it harder or who is wimpier for complaining more about the life they’ve chosen, that we reach out to other Moms, whether they appear to have it all together or are a hot mess. Regardless of whether they’re home full-time or working full-time, a Mom or 1 or a Mom of 5, the single thing that’s made the biggest difference in my satisfaction as a parent is being surrounded by other Moms who know just how hard it can be.
Mommy Mentor Curly Q