At the request of my mother-in-law my husband, daughter and I tagged along to a party with some of her lifelong friends. The promise of good food, no dishes, and leaving early for bedtime sounded like a great idea to an almost seven month pregnant Mama and an overworked Daddy.
My mother-in-law had asked me to make some decorated sugar cookies for the party like I had the year before and, since there was free food and $150 involved, I agreed. Everyone loved the cookies and was very excited about the cute bunnies, lambs, and chicks that decorated the silver tray.
However, a complement soon turned into a Mommy bash when the hostess said, “Kabrina, you have to go to pastry school! We all love your cookies and they are so cute! You can’t be a stay-at-home mom forever! It’s a waste of your talent!” I tried really hard to let it run off my back like the baby oil I put on my daughter at night, but it stuck…
Her words and my mother-in-law reminding her that I finished my degree through a pregnancy and a half kept replaying in my head because I knew, many people thought I was wasting my time on my children and my start-up business.
This wasn’t the first time I had heard something similar, but in the heat of being pregnant and my husband bringing up that he had wanted to retort back later that evening made it sting just a little more. It was as if our family planning, for me to stay home and raise however many children we decided to have, was a mistake and we had missed a valuable piece of information along our research path.
Now don’t get me wrong being a stay-at-home mommy is wonderful, but is DEFINETLY not all I do. If you have been following my blog for any amount of time you can see that I started my entrepreneur lifestyle with a camera in hopes of becoming a full-time photographer, and then moved on to a more viable start-up teaching American Sign Language classes along with writing this blog that supports sensory and ASL. So as you can see I don’t get to just play and clean my house all day, which is what everyone who is not a stay-at-home mom imagines us doing. And whether you blog, work part-time, or just stay at home it is still not butterflies and roses to be a Mommy.
I want to encourage you though! You are a wonderful, needed, exceptional part of this world! You are a mom! You are strong! And what other people think right now in the poopy diapers, long nights, missed romances, throw-up, and exhaustion time of being a mom doesn’t matter.
You are doing something that only you can do, raising YOUR children. Yes, it can be thankless work, but there will be moments like your little one being attached to you at the hip and laying their sweet little head on your shoulder every time you hold them, that you can never replace with job success or more money. It may take longer to buy a house or get into a place that is your dream home, but those sweet pleases and thank yous that you have been teaching and showing everyday will pay off.
I’m not saying you have to be a stay-at-home mom forever, but don’t miss the sweet moments that drip like honey from time with your kids. Not everyone has the opportunity to do what you do, and not everyone is built for it. But even if you are an OCD overachiever, in need of fulfilling work like me, take a step back and watch you baby sleep, go to the park, take it all in as they asked to be ticked one more time because these are precious moments that they will outgrow and you will miss.
But also dream big! You have lots of potential and being a mommy is adding to what you can do. Think about it, if you were not good at conflict resolution, with siblings, you are now! You may have had no idea about empathy before you had kids, but now you can understand where people are coming from, from a whole new light. It’s like Atticus Finch said in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” And don’t we do that everyday?
Finally, don’t compare yourself to other women; moms or not. When you look at someone’s life on social media or in a coffee shop conversation, you are getting the super, “How do I look to the world” edited version. You will never know how many nights she went to bed exhausted, only to get up an hour later for work or how her marriage is flimsy at best, although he brings home what they need and she sells her beautiful masterpieces on Etsy. Just like you may view your talents as something menial (Well I can do it so anybody can) they aren’t.
Think about it this way, there are more than one kind of company that sells smart phones. You may prefer Apple over Android, and others will prefer Android over Apple, but they make the same type of thing. Each business brings a certain value to their customer that only they can bring in their way. If you prefer one over the other you may disagree, but if another famous person would have only thought about all the rejection and hurtful things people said he would have never created the empire we know today as Disney.
Walt Disney was rejected for a business loan by 302 bankers before he finally got the money needed, and, when he was younger, was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor thought he lacked creativity.
In hindsight we all can see he knew what he was doing and followed his dreams, but he also made mistakes along the way.
Give yourself a break, you may be super mom, but you are still human.
Enjoy everyday and comment with some of the comments you’ve heard and how you used them to drive you forward not drive you down.