Hi! My name is Rachel -Osnat and I am a working mom. There, I said it. I can’t take it back. You are probably wondering what happened to me; why lately I find myself almost embarrassed to say it out loud.
You see, last summer my family and I moved to Berkeley, California. I don’t know what pops into your head when you hear someone say she lives in Berkeley, but my guess is, it’s sure not me. Before we moved I considered myself your normal average gal. I was lucky enough to come from a good home, I never felt like I was missing out on anything, and my mom and dad both are hardworking, educated people. My mom owns her own business and growing up, like other children, I assumed that everybody’s mom was pretty much like mine. So as I grew older, my professional path was quite clear to me. I knew I needed to study in order to get a good job, and enjoy working while raising my family and being married to Brad Pitt. Well that last part didn’t really work out, but the rest was true.
And so I did. I went to school; I met a great guy and we got married. In school I found out how much I love working with parents, so I continued on to grad school to study early childhood education. I became a parent educator, a job which I love.
In the town where we used to live, most moms, myself included, had a job and were juggling life and work. Berkeley feels different. I am not sure if it really is or it just feels this way, but I can’t shake the feeling. Sometimes in the park I feel how those “perfect” Berkeley moms look at me. And even though I’m an early childhood expert – with expert credentials and experience telling me that what I’m doing is just fine…you know what, better then fine. I am doing a good job, and I know I am a good mother. Still that horrified look on their faces when they hear my son goes to preschool full time (I might as well said I send him to the factory to work every morning), somehow makes me want to try to cover it up.
But you know what? I’m tired of it. And I’m done. Like many of you, I am a working mom who is also a great mom. Everyone makes their own choices and has to live with them. I choose to have a career; that choice makes me happy every morning, because I know it’s the right choice for me. I get to help people; I am good at what I do. I get to try out exciting products that are educational and bring joy to families’ lives.
And you know how I am certain that I am a good mom? My son is happy, healthy and loved. He has a happy mom to play with every day. Somehow the busier I am, and the more I have to do, the more I accomplish. All of us parents – working and stay-at-home parents – all of us are doing important hard work.
Yet sometimes I still feel the guilt creeping back up, and then just like when a parent comes to consult with me, I have to remind myself about a few things, which help me remember what’s really important. These help me in my everyday parenting, and I would like to share a few with you:
- I know it’s important to sit down and play with your child every day. I also know it’s as important to allow your child to entertain himself and figure out what to do by himself.
- I know how important our bedtime routine is, and how good it makes us both feel when he sits on my lap and we cuddle while I read to him.
- I know it’s important to cut back on screen time, so he watches a cartoon show every Saturday and Sunday morning (while his dad and I nap a little longer) and on special occasions. But that’s it. This leaves us with plenty of time to play, together and apart, because we don’t have screens that consume our afternoons. He has enough time to play by himself or choose books to “read” (he is only two).
- I know it’s important to sit down with him for dinner and talk about our day.
- I know it’s important for him to know what’s happening next, so he knows after dinner it’s time for bath, hugs and story, and then sleep time.
- I know it’s important for him to know how much we love him. Not a day has gone by since he was born in which he hasn’t heard me telling it to him.
And yes, we accomplish all of this after he comes back from a wonderful day at school. Does that sound so bad to you? Not another day in the factory after all.
What we all need to remember is that it’s not just about how much time we spend with our children. It’s about how we use it: how many hugs, kisses, conversation and play we put into it.
So let’s all try to look at our own children, see that they are happy, and not look at other parents around us. A happy parent will make a good parent. Each one of us should do what is best for our family.
About The writer
Osnat Rachel Shlain is a Parent Educator & Sleep consultant. Her training includes an MA in Early Education and Development, both from the University of Haifa, Israel. Rachel is a certified sleep consultant and has been working with families for over 6 years and with children for over a decade. Osnat has been consulting with Sparkup – The Magical Book Reader. Her goal is to help parents find sensitive practical ways to improve everyday life with young children.