Beauty, Brains, and Motherhood – Part two

sahm-vs-working-mom

If you read Part one, you are probably asking yourself, what does that have to do with motherhood? If you haven’t read Part one, I suggest you check it out. There are two reasons I bring up the story in Part one. First, I have daughters and I try to instill in them everyday that they are beautiful and smart. I think it is important to teach our children not to fall into or accept stereotypes. Just because a girl is pretty, doesn’t mean she isn’t bright and just because a girl is smart doesn’t make her less attractive.

Second, I have experienced a very similar situation in motherhood; the attempt to be something I’m not and one type of mother undervaluing the other. Most of my friends who have children are stay-at-home moms. I have tried it. However, I always end up going back to work or taking on a freelance assignment. I really wanted to be the doting, soccer mom, who volunteers at her kid’s school, cooks, bakes cookies, creates a new craft for every holiday, takes them to the park after school, and chauffeurs the whole team. Unfortunately, it has taken many years to realize, that mom isn’t me. I admire women who can dedicate their lives to strictly motherhood and family. I respect the work they do in-home, but it isn’t fulfilling to me and that’s okay.

There is no one type of mother. Just like high school, I was trying to fit into a box. I didn’t think I could be a good mother if I was working full-time because good moms are always there. Good moms drop their kids off and pick them up everyday. Good moms go to Girl Scout meetings and take their kids to after school classes daily. Good moms see their first step, hear their first word, and feed them their first solid food.

When I started Get Dressed Mommy, it came from my daughter telling me to do just that, “Get dressed, Mommy.” I, like most people, thought that moment was just about my appearance. Improving my appearance, like it does for everyone, allowed me to feel better about myself. The value of this is greatly under-appreciated.

However, after my year as an AmeriCorps Vista and working full-time hours with two little ones, I see that moment was much more than that. My daughter knew it would make me feel better to get dressed and take some pride in my appearance. If getting a Mani Pedi soothes and relaxes you, your kids are for it. If buying that new pair of jeans that makes your bum look immaculate makes you smile, your kids will smile too. If working fulfills you, your kids will happily adjust. Our children don’t necessarily want us to be self-sacrificing; they want the same thing for us that we want for them. They want us to be happy.