Crushing the Stigma of “Working” Moms
I once had a patient tell me that the downfall of our current generation, society, the world even was when women started working. “They come home from work, put their kids in front of the television and pour themselves a glass of wine,” she explained ironically while I was WORKING with her to reduce pain and improve her function. My initial thought was, “Holy crap, can this woman see into MY house?!” My second thought was, “That’s completely absurd and you’re welcome for my choice to work so that I can help YOU.”
I was raised by a mother who worked full time and I never once felt neglected or as if I was missing out. My mom taught me responsibility, strength, perseverance, professionalism and how to balance work life with family life. I am grateful for her demonstrating to me that you can have both, but those inaccurate ideals and stigma’s do still exist even in today’s society.
I work because I love my profession and I worked really hard to achieve the goals that got me where I am today. I work because I enjoy helping others regain function and improve their own lives. I work because it helps provide for my family financially. I work so that I can teach my girls all the things my mom taught me. To be a strong, responsible, professional women… if that’s what they choose to do. Do I wish I could work less and be more available with and for them? Always. But I am happy with our life and I teach my girls that every family has a different “normal.”
There is still this ideal that women who choose to work are not able to give 100% to their children, their families, or to themselves. That their families are suffering and that a woman who chooses a “career over her family” is “selfish and self promoting.” That working mom’s are burned out, exhausted, unable to provide and while this may be true SOME of the time, it is not a given and most working mom’s work even harder to make sure that it is not.
They work all day and still come home and try to be present. They come home exhausted but still cook dinner, still help their kids with homework, read to them and tuck them in at night. They spend what energy they have left to cultivate their relationships and refill their own cups.
A friend once posted a writer’s opinion of a comparison of working moms versus stay at home moms. The comparison painted the same picture of a worn out, exhausted, unfulfilled, unhappy working mom whose home life was also unhappy versus a fresh, nurturing, blissful, mindful and fulfilled stay at home mom in tune with her families needs and providing a happy home life. It was not an accurate portrayal of either side. I know a lot of working mom’s who are very fulfilled in their careers and home life as well as a lot of stay at home moms who are exhausted and burned out.
The title “Mom” IS “Work.” – Every woman’s path is their own and each choice brings both challenges and benefits. We come together in the ideal that being a mom requires all of the love, energy, sanity and quick wit a woman has to offer and is also the most gratifying job title we will ever hold. Whatever we decide to do outside of that title is irrelevant. We can learn from each other, if we stop judging and stereotyping each other. Every families “normal” is a bit different so embrace your own!