This I Believe

Kim - Bend, Oregon
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood
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This I Believe

I believe that, as a mother, you can have it all.

There is a great debate among mothers. Should you stay home with your children or go back to work? Not much is usually said about doing both. I work part-time as a freelance writer from home, which means I spend most of every day with my two-year-old daughter, Libby. In my opinion, it’s about as close at is gets to having your cake and eating it, too.

I am not saying that doing it this way is easy. From the time that she was a tiny infant, I had to learn to work when Libby slept. Never mind about waiting for the writing muse. I quickly became more efficient, if not more rested, but it was what I had to do to keep the work that sustains my mind and still not miss out on my baby’s babyhood.

Sometimes I am jealous of moms who go to work. They have eight hours in a toddler-free space in which to accomplish tasks. These days, I grab ten minute snippets of time during which a small blond child often wanders into my office and shuts off my computer.

Sometimes I am jealous of moms who don’t work. When their child naps, they might do some yoga. Or take care of the laundry, or answer emails, or read a novel.

Sometimes I resent the choices I have to make, like working in the evening when I’d rather be watching a movie, or the choices I’d rather not make, like sticking my kid in front of Curious George so that I can edit a piece. I used to be irked by the fact that so much of my work is invisible to the world, but if there’s one thing that both writing and motherhood have taught me, it’s that life’s most invisible efforts can be the most personally rewarding.

And at the end of the day, I know that I am luckier than most. I am not judging anyone else’s choices—I know that not everyone can or wishes to make the choice that I have. I am simply grateful to be where I am. I have a fulfilling career and I get to be the primary caregiver and companion to my own beautiful child.

The very best part of my day, after all, is when Libby wakes up from her nap. Even if I am smack in the middle of a deadline, even if I haven’t had time to read the newspaper, clean the kitchen, or call a friend, I will set everything aside. With the fresh satisfaction of whatever writing I have just accomplished, I will go to her. I will be the one to watch her rub her eyes, I will be the one to lift her from her crib, I will be the one to smell her still-sleepy scent. “Mommy,” she will say.

This, I believe, is about as close as a mother can get to having it all.