I started a job six months prior to my daughter being born. My husband and I had two incomes and more money than we needed, and we worked out our schedules so that one of us was at home with our baby. On my workday lunch hours, I had a quick snack, followed by 45 minutes in the bathroom pumping breast milk. It all felt WRONG: the hustle and bustle of what we called the “Baby Swap,” the exhaustion of trying to balance the over-commitment of home care, baby care, self-care, and the effect it had on me in my most cherished roles of wife and mother, and ultimately, my daughter.
My mindset came from my mother – a staunch, man-hating feminist – that to not contribute financially to the household income was to not be a valuable woman. So, I felt foolish considering not working outside the home. When my daughter was five years old, I finally quit. Looking back, I see the time to feel foolish was when I was out of the home working, not IN the home being a real woman!
I still see the effects of my daughter not having a full-time mommy in her first five years. As a pre-teen, she still has moments when she’s not sure how important she is to me. I was slow to connect that to her early years, because I wanted to excuse my actions. I hope other women who are at that moment of decision make a better choice than I did back then.
My Feminist Mother Got It All Wrong