The struggle between pursing a career and mothering is intense. For neither seem to be able to be accomplished with perfection simultaneously. I personally decided to ease up on the career to dedicate myself to nurturing my two boys. Working in a different capacity has enabled me to spend more time with my boys. However, the cost of doing is definitely a detour from the traditional career path for women lawyers. Although I own up to this decision, doing so hasn’t eliminated the tug of war between the two.
As the case may be, when the tug of war seems to lean towards career or when I question my decision, one of my boys will do something that reminds me of why this decision was so important. The goal of maximizing my time with my boys always wins out. But what I do with that time, and what I’m trying to cultivate with my boys is so important. My mommy manifesto is to:
- raise them with love, support and compassion
- nurture their interests
- let them explore
- foster their natural curiosity
- make them appreciate the world around them
- teach a respect for other living creatures
- build confidence
- let them feel free to discover their wings and fly as they wish
- let them feel secure
- help them connect to the world around them
- experience beauty, music, sports, art
- raise them with a goal of independence and independent thinking
- teach them to embrace their weaknesses
- appreciate their differences and learn that being different is a strength
- try not to coddle
- be accepting of messes, for what brings more fun than a muddy puddle? or a sandbox
- seek environments for them that align with the above and minimize their exposure to environments that don’t
I’m not saying that doing the above is easy or that it happens everyday. Take an example from the other day. Bobby wanted to cook. So, we decided to make banana bread. As I turned my back, he dumped in some of his chamomile tea. I really had no idea how much tea he dumped in, nor did it really matter. The fact that he did so, really irked me. I was angry that he didn’t follow directions.
Then, I stepped back, took a breath. Asking myself two questions put everything in perspective: 1) who cares, and 2) what does it matter. After all, does it really matter how the bread turned out? And could being a stickler in this instance stifle his creativity? Who was I to judge? Maybe he was onto something. Maybe chamomile tea would add an extra special element to banana bread. Who was I to stop his creative process? In the end, the bread was a little dry as it took longer to cook, but everyone loved it anyways.
So, I’ve learned my lesson. Next time we do cooking experiments, I’ll be making two batters. One for Bobby and one for me.
What’s your mommy manifesto?