I am an entrepreneur. Who has also been a stay-at-home mom. I consider myself blessed to have had both opportunities, and to relate to women who choose both paths. It’s so easy to give someone a label and assume you know their story because of it, isn’t it?
Well, here’s a newsflash: my story ain’t your story, and your story ain’t mine.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom for most of my childhood…until she got a part-time job in retail when I was in high school. Which meant that because of the discount she got, she basically paid the store more than they paid her. I am proud to be the daughter of a semi-professional shopper (is there such a thing? There should be…).
I moved around a lot as a kid…as in I didn’t finish two consecutive grades in one place until we landed in Des Moines, Iowa during middle school. One thing I recall from childhood is being fascinated with the differences between myself and my friends whose mothers worked outside the home.
They went home to an empty house after school. My mom was always there when I got home.
They got school lunches. My mom made my lunches. And sometimes packed homemade cookies inside. When I was in 2nd grade, I remember a grocery shopping trip when I asked my mom (OK, I may have whined…) why we couldn’t buy Chips Ahoy cookies like my friends had.
Seriously? That’s what I thought was important? Cookies from a BAG? (just writing it now embarrasses me…what was I THINKING?!)
The memory ends there…I don’t recall her response. Maybe it was too traumatic. 😉 I can imagine MY response if my son were to complain that I made him homemade cookies rather than buying Chips Ahoy…it would likely involve a significant eyebrow raise at a bare minimum. Thankfully I’m not one for Botox, or he would never know when I was angry.
Now that I look back on this memory, I’m sure there were plenty of kids who would have LOVED to have homemade cookies, and a mom waiting for them at home after school.
Is this an example of “the grass is always greener”?
Recently I was talking with a new friend about our kids (we are both divorced from our kids’ fathers). Our stories are radically different…her daughter’s father has NEVER been involved in her life, leaving my friend to hold 100% of the responsibility, and all the stress of child-rearing. My son’s father wanted primary placement and sole custody of my son (which the court didn’t give him, yet he still has some placement time with him)…a completely different story, and a whole different set of stressors.
During our conversation, she paused and said “Sometimes I feel blessed that I don’t have a story like yours”. And my comment to her? “Yeah, I get what you’re saying…but it’s all relative”.
Meaning, there have been times when I resent my ex and the stress the situation has put on me over the years, yet I realize that, when my son is with him, I have an opportunity that most parents rarely get…kid-free time to re-charge the batteries and have some alone-time as well as some girl-time with my friends.
So…do I feel like the grass is greener for her? Sure, sometimes. But I see the green on both sides of the fence…I’m present-minded in my situation to see it for what it is.
There are blessings even amidst the turmoil. It’s like the saying “Do you curse the thorns among the roses, or are you grateful for the roses among the thorns?”
Am I saying that it’s as simple as that? What I’m saying is that is as simple AND as complex as that. No, it’s not easy to do if you’re used to focusing on the “thorns”, but once you get into the practice of looking for the good in whatever your circumstances, it becomes easier.
I have a lot of stories in my life…some of them traumatic, some of them hysterical, and some pretty mundane (I’m probably less likely to share the mundane with you though!). But here’s the thing…frankly, I love my stories…all of them. They make me…well, ME. They have inspired me to be courageous, to pursue excellence, to be the best person I can be in each moment, and to always look forward rather than dwelling in the past.
So be grateful for your own story. Share it. Learn from it. Embrace it, because you are YOU because of it.
This post is part of the FYB “31 Days to Quiet the Voices in Your Head” series.
Read more about it HERE.