Baby Boom (staring Diane Keaton, circa 1987) is one of my favorite movies, and I happened to catch it the other night. I love when you’re surfing channels and you come across an old gem that you almost completely forgot about. Sorry for ending that sentence with a preposition, but I just did…
When I watched it in my younger years, I just thought it was cute. I liked that her farm house in Vermont was falling apart and she had to deal with the one and only handyman in town; that she had 100 cans of homemade baby applesauce in her cabinets and no idea what to do with them (until she started selling them and made a lot of money); and that she fell in love with the (of course) single, handsome doctor in town. It was just a fun movie, with a sweet baby and a nice love story that made you think you could run away to the country and do that, too. But it’s not reality. Most of us would go bankrupt from the farmhouse, mess the applesauce up or lose the orchard, and the handsome doctor in town would already be married. Such is life…
When I watched it the other night though, it took on a whole new meaning for me. I watched Diane Keaton’s character, who was at the top of her game, a woman amongst men in her corporate job, flying high, on track to be partner, realize that she had to give it all up if she was going to be a mom. She just couldn’t dedicate the 80 hours a week at her job, and raise the baby, too. A dilemma with which a lot of moms struggle. (The movie is about her getting a baby from a distant, deceased cousin and deciding to keep her and raise her. She moves to the country to get away from her New York City lifestyle after she quits her job, and it’s the ups and downs and ins and outs of this decision).
Her boss tells her before she quits, that “we can’t have it all.” Is this true? I always thought I could do it all. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be working from home and spending my day with Disney and Dr. Seuss, but I am.
I think it’s obvious that there’s give and take, pros and cons to the working outside the home conundrum And as women these days, most of us have to contribute to the family income, and it’s almost impossible to just be a mom. Some of us don’t even have the option.
Whether you make the decision to stay home, or work from home, or work full-time or part-time, or whatever – then you should be supported in that decision. I hate when I hear people say stuff like “saw some lady in her Lexus SUV this afternoon with a Starbucks in her hand and three car seats in the back, heading to the gym. Obviously her husband is out making the money while she’s having fun all day.”
It really irks me. And you know what, if her husband makes enough money that she can solely focus on her kids, or go to the gym in the middle of the day, then so be it. Who the hell are we to judge? And maybe stop to think that she could be a single mom, maybe working a great job that bought that Lexus, and just happens to have the day off, so she took the kids out, got some java, and is heading to work out. That’s possible, too! Remember what you are if you assume…
Our job as parents is to be the best one we can for our child, and it’s our choice as to what that means. So next time someone tells you their situation, try to understand it, and even if you don’t agree with it, you can appreciate it.
I’m a proud work-at-home mom. I’m busy all day, even if I’m not in an office, either working for my freelance clients, running my small business, or doing laundry or dishes. I’m lonely sometimes, and yeah I sit down for 45 minutes every day to watch Days of our Lives (they are my pseudo co-workers and I still get a lunch break, right?). I do run to Starbucks in the middle of the day (although I don’t have the Lexus) and I’ve found my balance between being a mom and a working mom. This is my life.
Find your balance and own it.
Love it! And, it’s so true. Giving up your career for your children is a sacrafice, but if you can do it, then do it! It’s the hardest, lonelist, busiest job I ever had. Yet, it’s the best job I have ever had!
Thanks, Steph! We always have each other to talk to, thank goodness!!
Great post Tara! I’m currently struggling with this same situation, so it was nice to read your reminder that it is up to us (and nobody else) to decide what is best for our families!
Thanks for reading, Sara! I wish you peace of mind no matter what your decision! It’s never easy, but something in us just knows the right answer.