Work Life Balance

Mommy Wars: I’m A Stay-At-Home Mom And I Feel Like A Traitor

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In my old life, I was a film and TV executive and screenwriter. But I traded the travel, premieres and parties for toddlers, potties and birthday parties. Yes, it was a choice. I opted to be with my kids rather than babysit grouchy directors. It was my decision to spend hours agonizing over what my picky eaters would eat – rather than what my picky producers would chew me out for. I went from cool, rising career to raising three kids. I’m a stay-at-home mom. And I’m mortified.

I was brought up as girl who could do anything, go anywhere, be anyone. To wind up as simply “a mom?” That wasn’t part of the plan. Don’t get me wrong, everyone makes her own choices. Live and let live! But, admittedly, I never in a million years thought being home with my kids would be my “full-time job.”

When I first got into film it was exhilarating. Exciting. And slave labor. The crazy and poorly paid  hours didn’t bother me. I was working my way up and I loved it. I met amazing people (for the most part), I was being challenged and, though it got a little stressful at times, I eventually made a good living doing what I loved. It was all worth it.

Until it wasn’t.

I was a new mother, the only parent in the writers’ room of a TV show. Every three hours, my co-writers would point to my chest to remind me my cup was about to runneth over and I’d dash out to pump. I was the last one to arrive at the office and the first to leave. The guilt was overwhelming. And when the whole gang went out for drinks and I went home to my family, I felt like a bit of a loser. Which made me feel even worse.

When my second son arrived, my writing work all but dried up and I became a kept woman. While my husband never once made me feel that my contribution in taking care of our kids – and our house – was any less than his, I felt wracked with guilt. Guilt for not bringing home the bacon. Guilt for missing my working life. Guilt for not getting enough work done. Religious guilt had nothing on me!

By the time my third son arrived, work was but a distant memory. I was a full-on, at-home mom. Sure, I picked up some gigs here and there, but for the most part I was working for my kids. The constant guilt I’d felt as a new mother was replaced with a creeping resentment.  I couldn’t get the work I wanted. I couldn’t not be with my kids. Like every other parent, choices were made, for better or for worse.

Mommy Wars? For me the whole notion is bizarre. Being a mom is hard – unpaid – work. We’re all working mothers. Besides, who has time to battle it out with other moms for the choices they make? Not me. I’m too busy with my own inner conflict.

(Photo: Jupiterimages)