They say that if you wait until you can afford to have children then you’ll never have them. As I look back to when my husband and I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I realize we were not financially prepared for what parenthood had in store for us. We could barely afford to support ourselves, let alone a newborn, but we made it work. Being a mother totally consumed my life, and it took me two and half years before I felt comfortable leaving our daughter long enough to hold a part-time job.
When our daughter turned five, I started to have a major case of baby fever. I longed for the days that she was an infant and missed the dependence a newborn has for it’s mother. I desperately wanted another child. Once again, looking back at the time we had our son, we weren’t financially prepared for what an extension to our family had in store for us. And again, we made it work. But this time it was different. It broke my heart to have to return to work just six months after he was born. It was then that I found it to be unfair that a man’s paycheck couldn’t support his family alone.
By the time we had our third child my husband had a very good, well paying job, and still we needed a supplemental income to live comfortably. This was the moment I knew I needed to further my education. It was important for me to have a good paying job which would allow me to work only part-time.
As I began the process of registering for classes I felt angry at the fact that I needed to work. Why couldn’t I just be a mother? Why was it that women’s “right” to work became women’s “have” to work? After months of pent up anger it hit me. With women’s rights came women’s responsibilities. Not only are we responsible for the lives of our children, but we have the right to have them. Until about a century ago women didn’t have these rights. They were expected to give birth to their husband’s heirs and they had little or no choice in the matter.
I see myself as a working mom in a different way now. Instead of feeling robbed of my rights to stay home with my kids I see myself as working so that I can have them. The fact that I have to work in order to help provide my children with a generous life no longer upsets me. While some work for more materialistic things, I work so I can be a mother. Although I still believe women should be able to stay home with their kids, those who have to work are merely showing the world that we have that right. The right to work, and the right to have as big a family as we choose. This I now believe.
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