Mom Jean Confessions: Neither Here Nor There

As much as I would love to write a typical fashion post (don’t worry, I’m rounding up my “currently coveting” vest trends as we speak), there’s just something more pressing that’s been weighing on me for a while now. It’s this notion that nothing is ever good enough – and here’s what I mean by that…

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with wanting and needing more. So much so, that my dad used to tell me growing up, “don’t try so hard to keep up with the Jones’s (or the Kardashians as it turns out), because you’ll never be satisfied that way.” I literally had no idea what he was talking about, but my dad knew and understood me better than anyone, and even he could tell that I was a restless soul – always wanting, never satisfied with what was right in front of me. With his passing, I definitely gained a new perspective on life that he was so desperately trying to help me find, but I often still find myself longing for that greener grass on the other side of the fence.

As life would have it, I actually did get everything I always wanted – a loving husband, a baby I adore, a successful career and ended up living in the city I always wanted to live in. So what the heck do I have to complain about, you’re asking? It’s not so much complaining, as it is questioning. Questioning my role as a new mom. Questioning whether or not I’m actually there for my husband the way he’s always there for me. Questioning if I’m really as devoted a friend and family member as I should be. Questioning whether my family and I should keep pushing through the hard times we’ve faced to live in the place we’ve always wanted to call home, or just pick up and move and start all over again. On the days where I happen to wrestle back 8 hours of sleep from the tiny hands that call out “mama” in the night (ok actually his hands look like catcher’s mitts) – I manage to have some form of clarity on the aforementioned issues swirling around in my head.

For the purposes of this post, I’m just going to focus on one of these – my role as a new mom. Besides, this one is probably the most loaded question of them all, and that I imagine I’ll always struggle with in some form or fashion. To work or not to work – that is the question, really. I can’t tell you how many countless conversations I’ve had with fellow new moms about this, but what I can tell you is – no one has the answer. I have friends who decided they didn’t love their jobs enough and quit – they don’t regret the decision, but they still feel inner turmoil not having any creative or personal outlet for lord knows how many more years. Some of them even went back to work after having a second child and professed that having been on both sides – there is no right way, and both staying at home and being a working mom is hard! I can only speak to what it’s like for myself and the half a dozen other moms I work with, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that a large majority of our days are spent daydreaming about walking out that door and never looking back. Does that mean we aren’t committed to our jobs? Not at all. In fact, I feel like we are even more efficient during the work day with the drive our little ones give us for being there in the first place.

So this is where I get stuck time and time again – I know I should feel fortunate to have a job and be able to provide for my family, especially when my husband essentially got laid off right before I returned to work from having 4 months off for maternity leave (which again, is something I should be counting my blessings for living in 1 of 2 states who actually have fairly decent leave policies). But what gets me is the inability of today’s workforce to properly support their female employees both emotionally and physically, in order to keep them from even considering having to leave their jobs in the first place. Now, I’m not looking for a debate here – so I’ll keep it simple. If countries like Croatia can offer women a year off with 100% paid wages, I think the U.S. can buck up too. And you can’t tell me companies will lose money if they let their employees have such lengthy leave periods, when companies like Netflix, Virgin, and Google all just announced generous leave policies with full paid benefits.

So maybe I am a fool for holding my breath, but this is one part of my life I take very seriously and I think my dad and my mom would be proud of me for standing up for what I want for both myself and my family. Will I ever find the answer? That’s neither here nor there…

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