Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 12, 2014

Women — always working

By Samantha Stroube-Daviss
Corsicana Daily Sun

— You would think by the year 2014, we could all wrap our brains around the fact that some women stay at home, and some women work. No one is a better or worse mother because of it.

I can personally speak from both sides of the fence on this particular topic. After college I was in the corporate world for a while until my first child was born; when my oldest was little, I was a stay-at-home mother with him, until he went to school. Then I unfortunately encountered a bump in my personal life — a divorce — which in a backwards sort of way “forced” me back into the work force.

Once I re-entered the work arena, I realized how much I had missed it. It was hard for me to admit it out loud. I felt like such a horrible person saying that I loved to work. I love using my “adult brain,” but I adore spending every single spare minute with my babies. Holding them, teaching them, and caring for them. But I’ll be honest, it took me into my 30s until I felt comfortable enough saying that out loud — and admitting it to myself — that I do in fact love to work.

I am one of those people that is constantly doing something, creating something new. If I don’t have nine projects going at once, I am bored. But once my other two little ones came along, I internally struggled with the battle — to work or not to work.

Luckily, I was fortunate in two areas, when it came time to make my decision. I found the most wonderful lady to care for my babies while I went to work. She is family to us, and so are her kids. We have all grown so close that she is literally an extension to our family. We love them all so very much. And my other fortune was that I left the career I had to start working and training under my dad. So for now our deal is that I work three days a week until everyone is in school, and then I will go to five days; plus I get to pick my oldest up from school every single day. I am truly blessed to have such a great situation.

Nonetheless, even as ideal as my situation is, it was still a struggle for me. I stayed home with my oldest, so am I robbing my little ones from my attention, my love, and my devotion to them? I don’t think so. I feel like I am a better mom because of it. Because once I was able to admit that I loved to work outside the home, I am better able to focus my attention on my little ones when I am with them. It sounds kind of funny, but I have the best of both worlds. I get to use my “mommy brain” and my “adult brain,” so I feel like a normal person.

I made a promise to myself (post-divorce) that I would never not be able to support myself or my family ever again, no matter what may happen. Who knows, my husband could get injured and I would need to step up and support our family, but I wasn’t able to do that during my divorce. So I promised myself that I had been given a gift of a wonderful college education, and I would never let myself be that vulnerable again.

But with that said, I was also once a full-time stay at home mommy. And let me just say that is the toughest job you will ever encounter — college degree or no college degree. You are on the clock from sun up to sun down. You are the caregiver 24/7. You are the nurse, the teacher, the doctor, the boo boo fixer, the housekeeper, and the chef. Plus you still have to maintain enough energy to be happy when your spouse returns home, and remain upbeat for your child, so they know they are loved and being raised in a positive environment — not a grumpy, tired, exhausted environment.

I think the struggle that still remains today is, if you are a stay-at-home mom, what do you do all day? And to that I answer, “what don’t we do all day?”

And to those who question the mothering skills or devotion to their children of mothers who work, to that I say I think working mothers are more in tune with their kids and want to devour the time they have with them, because they are away from them a good portion of the day.

So until you have walked the walk, don’t talk the talk. It is a struggle that sadly women must battle daily. They either need to work or want to work, or they need to stay home or want to stay home. Either way it is their prerogative. As long as they are good mothers, good wives, and devoted to their families, I don’t see why it matters what they do in their personal time.

            ————

Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a Daily Sun columnist. Her column appears on Thursdays. She may be reached by email at columnwriter98@hotmail.com. Read her blog at Samantha-daviss.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthadaviss1