Let’s face it. It’s hard being a mom in today’s day in age. Not to diminish previous generations, at all, but this whole Pinterest social media blasted day and age of mothering can be rough. There are a lot of stereotypes that come into play. How a mom should look. Act. Dress. Going even beyond, and that much more damaging, is how a mom should mother. Not only do we come in all shapes and sizes, but we also all tend to our little(s) differently. Not only is that OK, but it should be celebrated!
With that being said, I could not be more excited to introduce my new series on A Life From Scratch: Moms in Focus. I’ve partnered up with the oh so talented photographer, Michele Ryan of Silver Branch Photography, to bring a you a series that focuses on the beauty of mothering in all different shapes and styles. All of these moms have felt judged in one way or another, and this series has been created to shed light on how that can make a mom feel. Let’s even the playing field a bit, shall we? Deep down at the core, we moms are all really just trying to do our best.
Without further ado, I introduce to you our first Mom in Focus: Meet Sharon!
Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself and three words that describe you as a mom.
Well, I am a 44-year-old mother of two, Shaun aged 9 and Taylor aged 11. I think I describe myself as a nurturing mom who likes to be there and present for my kids and their friends. I am the mom who feeds everyone at the dinner table and monitors conversations a little bit more than others to referee and keep kids emotionally safe. I also think I can describe myself as a mom who wants to work and show my children independence.
And now tell us about your darling kid(s).
As I stated earlier, Shaun is 9 and will enter 4th grade this year. He has been identified as gifted according to test scores so he will be in 5th grade English and math this year and stay with his peers for all other classes. He is super big into basketball and I am learning he has a big heart for his friends.
My daughter Taylor is turning 11, but she hit puberty bigtime at age 9. She is now wearing mom’s sized 8 shoes and sprouting like her 6’2 dad, David. One key word for my daughter is caring and compassionate. She really seems to be genuinely connected to people and knows when people are not nice. She tends to shy away from this being unkind and supporting the underdog.
How do you feel your style of mothering is like others?
I am now like other mothering styles where mom cooks and cleans, whereas in the past my husband did this while I worked. Prior to this summer I was a working mom who got home late, so dad did all the cooking. We were unique in the aspect that my husband took that primary role since I got home later than most moms. Now that I’m home, I am trying new Facebook recipes that show me step-by-step what to do and I can now say, “I’m a pretty decent cook!” I am not a clean freak and struggle to see clutter unlike my husband. For the most part, I encourage my kids to be positive and kind and hopefully they see that through my own actions and deeds (volunteering for Royal Kids Foster Care Summer Camp, Donation Chair for church events, etc.).
Since we’re focusing on judgment that moms experience, what have you felt judged for?
I think I initially felt judged because I did not cook. I was home too late and David wanted to eat much earlier than I was getting home. I think I was also judged a bit because I was away from home when my kids were growing up. I missed the first steps and walks with both kids being in daycare by 6 weeks old. I was opening a school as a new principal 2-4 weeks after Taylor was born and missed some of those formative moments with meetings, work headaches, etc. I was also working on my doctorate and neglected being a mom and wife for a long time.
I became a stay-at-home mom due to losing my position to budget cuts this spring. I always wanted to be a full-time working mom like my own mother and grandmother, and I saw my worth in contributing to the world with my husband. I missed many milestones with my two babies in daycare. I missed going to the park or staying home when they were sick and I depended on my parents to help so much more. I saw moms that raised their children and had lap time at the library and other bonding moments, and I desired that as well especially on difficult days at work.
Some judge working moms, but I think most know today you cannot make it financially very well without two incomes, but I’m learning it’s going to be okay. I could use my second income to buy whatever I wanted, take vacations, and contribute to church and help others. That’s not as easy with one income, but what we do with our single income shows us what matters most.
I’ve come full circle on being the working mom who was judged for avoiding activities with my kids to be at my own school events, to now understanding that my children’s activities matter more and I should be there and can now do so with greater ease. Recently, I became an Adjunct Professor at a University, but that still allows me to have a flexible schedule with my kiddos. We may be cutting out on our wants and desires and focusing on needs, but that seems to be okay. If I could do it again, I’d want to still show my daughter and son that mom could work, get her doctorate, and be mom, but there has to be better balance in supporting dad and them, too.
How did that make you feel? What was your response to any uncomfortable situations or discussions you’ve been in because of someone judging you (if there have been any)?
I definitely felt the guilt when I finished a long day of meetings and took a lunch break in the park and saw moms with their little ones enjoying life. I envied that connection and time with the children as I prepared to step into another crisis upon returning to work.
I never was told to my face that I should be ashamed for working, but I think I saw it when my kids had to go to summer camp right after school ended and continued the 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. day even when school was out. Right now, I am looking for a new position and this has offered me some unique, quality time with my children and a chance for them to be kids with the others in the neighborhood. They have sleepovers a lot, play all day, swim at friend’s houses or the Lifetime pool, and go to the library. I could not do these things in the past. I guess I judged myself to some extent understanding that many women stay at home and raise their children, but I wanted to work. I desired to be making decisions and contributing, but now I’m happy being mom and wife.
What would you like to tell the world about moms and why it’s important not to judge our choices?
I think some things are out of our control. I never thought I would not be working and I had great judgment on myself not being out in the world working and contributing, but I think I am learning to enjoy the freedom of being a mom and raising my children and helping them be better human beings.
Tell us your biggest joy about raising your kid(s).
My children are truly caring souls. They learn about love in church and understand that people are different, but should be loved. I see them sharing that love and joy with others and people tend to call them beautiful people inside and outside. I think that love, kindness and joy was what I wanted them to have as a mom.
Thank you so much, Sharon, for sharing your thoughts and time with us. Want to see more of this darling mama and her little ones? Head on over to the Moms In Focus Facebook Page – and be sure to follow us along for updates including more moms to come. Yippee!