I’ve been a fulltime mom for almost two years – since the day my baby was born. And I’ve finally figured out why this job isn’t exactly giving me the fulfillment I was expecting it to.
It’s not only because I keep working even after 5pm, on weekends and holidays. Or because I don’t earn money for my own shopping sprees. Or because I don’t get to talk with fellow adults about last night’s TV show during lunch.
It’s also because it doesn’t have a performance review. No concrete appreciation for a job well done. No grades, awards or medals.
All my life, I’ve been used to reaping tangible rewards. With good grades came medals and certificates; with good job performance came raises, promotions, pats on the back from bosses and colleagues whose life I helped make a little easier.
This time, I don’t get rewarded for x number of diapers changed, or a token of appreciation for staying up all night to put my baby back to sleep. I don’t get anything back for keeping it together while my toddler throws an ear-piercing tantrum, or any pat on the back for efficient use of my time, like getting laundry and dinner done even while baby is awake.
The “rewarding feeling” I’ve heard about countless times comes in fleeting moments: when he gives me a kiss; when he runs to me squealing in delight in anticipation of a bunch of tickles; when he shows me a new dance move or says a new word.
More often than not, though, I feel worn-out by cleaning up after every mess, trying to wrestle with him during a messy diaper change and just being “on” until he falls asleep at night.
Don’t get me wrong - I do love being a mom to this sweet little boy, and knowing that I am very lucky to have the choice of staying home to raise my own kid is something I’m always grateful for. I’m amazed watching him grow from a tiny, helpless baby to a funny yet gentle little kid. He’s only little once, and I love how I can be there to comfort every owie and be the mom.
And though I know that the best people to care for and raise a child are his own parents, the parents should be happy and content to actually give the best care. A fulfilled woman makes for a better mom. But this mom has just realized that fulfillment for her includes going back to work, mingling with other adults and earning money. And getting a good performance review or nice revenues from a business I can run.
So now, these thoughts are playing tug-of-war in my head. And judging by my true feelings, I think some form of work will win.
Maybe I could work part-time, or seriously take action on one of the many business ideas we’ve been sitting on for years. It might be the best thing I can do for me, and more importantly, for Milo. Then I could have the best of both worlds: being mom, and being me.