Why My Life Is Just as Hard as Gwyneth's
Her life is different than mine, not harder.
I used to think being a mom was easy until I had kids. I mean, I was awesome at babysitting and being an aunt–how hard could it be? For a short period of time I even believed the misconceptions about how much harder or easier it was to be either a working mom or a stay-at-home mom depending on how someone spun it. That’s the problem with trying to compare apples and oranges though.
When I was pregnant and working, I thought my life was harder than when I wasn’t pregnant. Then being a mom of one was harder than not having kids. Now, being a mom of two has been harder for me than being a mom of one. Those comparisons are really the only ones that matter because they mark how my life has changed over time.
As a new mom, I frequently critiqued my parenting in comparison to other moms. It created undue stress and made me second-guess myself. I’d feel guilt because “so and so” could do XYZ and I was lucky to survive the day without needing to change my shirt twice. It has taken time to stop comparing myself to other moms, to truly understand the concept of not comparing my behind-the-scenes with someone else’s shining moments.
When I read that Gwyneth Paltrow said it’s harder to raise kids as an actress than having an office job, I shook my head sadly. Making sweeping generalizations and comparisons in a effort to win the “hardest mom” role isn’t helping anyone. It’s these type of comments that further perpetuate the mommy wars.
I get what Gwyneth is saying about routine and regular hours. Having a set schedule where everyone knows what to expect can help our days run smoother. However, as a work-at-home mom, I face similar challenges as Gwyneth. I have unusual working hours that at times make it seem like I’m working 24/7. It’s harder for me to “clock out,” and other people don’t always understand how my availability can vary so much. The littlest people in my life have the hardest time understanding why mommy has to work when all they want to do is play. Every day I have to balance work and play while managing interruptions of both the cute and meltdown variety. Sometimes I put off work until after the kids go to bed, but then they refuse to fall asleep easily. There are nights I’m sleep-deprived in order to meet deadlines.
Working from home, my life has changed in many ways while becoming simultaneously easier and harder. There are definitely advantages that I didn’t have when I worked outside the home pre-kids. I think if Gwyneth would have stopped her comment at, ”It’s much harder for me” with regards to being away from her kids for long hours, more of us would be nodding our heads in understanding.
My role as a mom is just as hard as Gwyneth’s. Our lives aren’t harder or easier–they’re different. Let’s recognize that parenthood is hard for everyone, we just have different sets of challenges.
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