One of the hazards of bearing a baby bump is the avalanche of advice on how best to raise your children. Friends and strangers suddenly feel the impulse to touch you without warning and share harrowing stories of traumatic birth experiences. And they always want to know, “Are you going back to work?”
For some mothers, this choice is easy, and their circumstances and desires align. For others, “choice” is dictated by circumstance. For many, this question is not simple, the answer is not apparent, their desires conflict, and the matter is never fully settled.
Beyond Mom Guilt
Beyond the traditional scope of nosy friends and extended family, the connectivity of social media amplifies the chorus of unsolicited opinions on motherhood, adding to the already complex mix of emotions that mothers experience. Stay-at-home moms feel insecure, as though the work they do in the home is somehow less of a gift to the world than the work of employed moms who manage to “do it all.” Moms who work (either by choice or necessity) are subject to feelings of guilt, wondering if they do their children a disservice by concentrating their efforts outside the home.
These guilty feelings don’t just affect working moms, either. “Mom guilt” is common to us all: mothers who work from home, stay-at-home moms who channel energy into their own projects, and every mother who has felt the need to explore pursuits outside of care for her children. To some degree, all mothers feel the internal tug-of-war between giving of themselves to the world and giving of themselves to their children.
These internal conflicts stem from an erroneous belief in the “just a mom” myth. Somewhere along the way, stay-at-home moms and employed moms alike bought into the lie that there is such a thing as “just a mom.” Intellectually, we deny it, but if we unpack our feelings of guilt, or our relief when someone calls out the exhausting spectrum of conflicting expectations we face, we find this myth at the center.
To read the rest of this post, view the original article at FemCatholic.com.