“What if your biggest contribution to the world is someone you’re raising?”
I heard them say this and almost immediately felt reservation. This was an incredibly romantic idea: this idea makes all of the sacrifices and ‘changes of plans’ worth it. But it just didn’t sit right with me… and I have to say something.
First, let me say what I like about this quote (which is slightly paraphrased to be more inclusive) is that it makes us think outside of ourselves. I’m not just a Mombie, and someday after lots of blood sweat and tears I’ll die. My effort, day in and day out, is producing three really incredible little humans. That’s a residual influence! #winning. But that’s where I begin to struggle… what if all that my kids see is me making sacrifices for them? Who exactly is inspiring them to chase their dreams? If all I live for is them, what kind of image will they have of adulthood or parenthood for that matter?
I’m no veteran mom, as I am still in the throes, but even I can see that this is a slippery slope. Unchecked, this goes one of two ways: they end up feeling resentful, or I do.
I have begun to take notes from the major voices out there… you know, for research.
Parents: I’ll chase my dreams when you guys are grown. That way there is more room for you to chase YOUR dreams.
Society: Be a contributor, work hard and raise aspiring young people.
Kids: I have these kickass dreams! I’m gonna do ____!
Society: be realistic. We said “aspire”, not “be delusional.” You’re so entitled. #millennials
Kids become parents: I know I had kickass dreams, but yeah, they weren’t realistic. My real dream is to have kids and raise them to be world changers. (*and repeat.*)
See where I’m going with this? Why would my kids do crazy, original, world changing things if I do not model it first? Or maybe they will do world changing things, but they aren’t the things they wanted to do, because they chose to do what they thought I wanted them to do. This isn’t a passive aggressive article about how I was raised, I was actually quite empowered by my parents as a child. This is about the mixed messages we are living with right now. In a world where everyone has a platform, anything can be broadcasted. Unhealthy trends can circulate.
God forbid a woman choose to be a stay at home mom, care for the household all day… And Lord help us if she wants to work a job, climb a ladder or run a business. The messages are mixed, but two stories emerge: 1. It’s selfish if a woman tries to exist independent of motherhood, and 2. it’s martyrdom to stay home.
How dare she. She just carried that baby in her body and now she wants to run off to meetings, or go on trips? Have mercy! Or why is she staying home?! Doesn’t she know she has potential?
My love for my children and my ability to contribute outside of the home are not mutually exclusive. Working moms aren’t selfish for pursuing a career, and SAHMs aren’t Joan of ark with a Pinterest board. My ability to make a lasting impact on the world WHILE raising my little world changers is legit, no matter how I spend my 9-5. If life is basically an MLM, I’m gonna make a kickass residual impact through my children. Why? Because they will know, from experience, that with a little creativity they can do anything… regardless of their relationship status or paternal/maternal responsibilities.
Practice what you preach, mommas.