The Truth About Present Parenting

For the last eight school years, I taught full time out of the home. When my first was born, I was able to manage it decently. But when my second came along, it was much harder. Just this school year I took on a part-time teaching position because I wanted to do what I love, my blog was turning into a part-time gig, and I wanted to be more present at home.

When I was working full time, I would always get questions about how I did it, or comments like, “I could never leave my baby.” (Side note: you can. It is physically possible.) I’m constantly seeing on social media that staying home or working at home is better because you can be more present. I felt I was shamed a lot for working out of the house. Part of me had to, but part of me also enjoyed it. I still do enjoy it.

I don’t get it. Why are we are guilting working parents? Sometimes she feels guilty about it, but the status of her physical absence never makes it okay to challenge a mother’s emotional presence to her children and spouse.

kandcmarina

I’m also wondering… who actually can work from home and also be a present parent? For me, it’s like brushing my teeth while eating Oreos.

Any time I have to work on a blog deadline when I’ve got both of the kids home, I turn the TV on for them, send them upstairs, throw snacks at them, beg them to leave me alone, etc. so I can focus on my work without being interrupted. I work as quickly as I can, my work ends up being subpar, and I always end up feeling incredibly guilty afterward. More guilty than I’ve ever felt leaving the house to teach for a few hours.

Here’s the thing. If we’re going to talk about present parenting solely based on one’s employment status, we decide to make this a competition. When we make this about us being more present because of what we do for a living, we open up the possibility for judgement. We are guilting other moms who are different than us.

You’re not an absent mother if you bust your butt making a better life for your family. You’re not an absent mother if you’re home all day and had to throw the children in front of the TV to take a breather.

Bottom line, you’re doing what you think is best for your family.

Here’s the thing. No matter what, mothers have to split their time between their families and other responsibilities. How we manage our time with our children and for our children is what defines our presence.

Sometimes it’s hard to find that balance. Sometimes we make career changes in order to do so. Sometimes we make sacrifices. I know I did.

But moms, we’re doing special things. We cherish the moments we spend with our children. We hold love so big and so unimaginable in our hearts. We have the drive to provide and comfort them. We have a desire to make their lives better than we could ever imagine. That, my friends, is present parenting.

lovemylittlepeanuts

33 Comments

  • Reply
    brittanyashmore
    April 11, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Meggggggg!! As a full time teacher I feel the same way!! I love this post. Thank you for speaking to my heart dear friend!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you so much sweet friend! I know you are working so hard for your kids and to make them have the best life. You are rocking it, mama!

  • Reply
    Jaclyn
    April 11, 2016 at 11:46 am

    All the amens that exist!!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you so much sweet friend! O is so lucky to have you as his mama!

  • Reply
    julie
    April 11, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    This post. ALL THE YES!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you so much sweet friend

  • Reply
    alycia
    April 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    everything yes yes yes!!! i was working full-time outside the home prior to both girls being born, and I plan to go back to it. I love my job. I love what I do, and I’m not going to give it up to be a SAHM. I know, from my maternity leave experiences, that its just not for me. DOesn’t mean I don’t love my kids, or that I’m a bad mom, or that I don’t want to spend time with the, because I absolutely do. I just know that I need to work to help support my family and because I actually like it. Then, after my 8 hours, I can come home to my babies and enjoy my time with them!! its all about balance.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Balance!! Exactly! And we are crazy to tell ourselves we are better parents if we spend literally every second with our children. I’m so glad you can relate!!

  • Reply
    Chasity @ Haute Mommy Blog
    April 11, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    People really say “I could never leave my baby”??? Good lands, I considered dropping off at daycare just so I could shower, pee and brush my teeth. I’m betting these people are probably the same Mommy Martyrs that want back pats and trophies for never leaving their kids with a sitter but in the same breath complain 90% of the time that they never get any alone time. It is ALL about balance – and my kids will grow up and leave the house (well, that’s the plan anyway). I don’t want to have spent 18+ years putting all of my own needs, hobbies and desires to the side. Even before I worked from home, I felt completely unbalanced if I was with my daughter 24/7. To each their own, but I feel both of us are happier and mentally healthier with some time apart every week. 🙂 {ok, off the soapbox now}

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Lol I love your soap box. Balance is KEY!!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    April 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I am not a mom, but I straight up do not understand why this is such a huge deal for people to bash each other about? My mom didn’t stay home (which was, in every way, the best decision for her and us), I have friends who work and those who stay at home, some work-from-home, etc. As long as the kids are loved, taken care of, and have time with their parents, who cares what their choices are? People need to worry about finding their *own* balance in life and making their *own* choices rather than paying attention to and commenting on everyone else.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 11, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      You speak truth!

  • Reply
    tiffanyatouchofgrace
    April 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Such a good post Meg. The funny thing about living in Seattle is that there are very few SAHM’s. I felt like I got looked down upon when I decided to stay home. We all do the best we can as moms and we need to be better supporters of one another.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 11, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Exactly!! Do whatever you want with your time, but don’t pull me into this competition. It’s crazy how you will always feel judged for parenting decisions. But we have to do what makes sense foe our families. I have so much respect for SAHMs because it is very hard work with little time to get balance.

  • Reply
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
    April 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    I love this! I think in general all moms need to band together and support one another. There are challenges with every route you choose; stay at home, work out of home, work at home! Really!

    Plus, to me, present parenting is not 24/7. Seriously, wouldn’t someone lose their mind if it were?! It means connecting with our children when we can. Deep connection, spending time together, loving, cuddling, laughing, playing. That can be done regardless of said employment status.

    So very, very good. Thanks for sharing!
    xoxo

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 12, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      You are so right! We definitely would lose our minds if we had to be ON 24/7!!!

  • Reply
    Shayna
    April 11, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    ALL. OF. THIS!!! Great post!!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 12, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much!!!

  • Reply
    A Beautiful RAWR
    April 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Ahh…I love love love this post Meg! Struck a chord with me because I’ve been on both sides and I’m still trying to find some kind of balance in my life. Now that I’m home full time, trying to run my online shop + blog takes SO much work because the babes are always pulling me away to spend time with them. It’s tough either way you look at it. I agree that we as moms and women should stop bashing each other and support one another more. Going to share this!
    xoxo
    -Linh

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 12, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      Yes! So hard to balance everything and make everything work 100% of the time.

  • Reply
    Walton O.
    April 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I am a work-from-home mother of 2 and when I am asked about my work status, I always say “I’m a SAHM”. I have sometimes gotten responses similar to the one you have mentioned about “I could never leave my kids!”…etc.
    I agree with you completely! Every mother has to find her balance between satisfying herself and contributing to the family rather its staying home or finding a career in a seperate work place.
    To the women who say things like “I could never leave my children”- I believe a lot of it comes from being scared to take a risk/sacrifice that may be beneficial for the family. In a way, you should take it as a compliment 🙂 you’re a strong woman! And you can put a ton on your plate and be present for your children and husband. That’s awesome!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I definitely think it’s hard for people to take risks (sooo hard for me to make changes, for sure).

  • Reply
    tawnyafaust
    April 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Girl, I LOVE this! You are speaking my heart in this post. I HATE the work at home/stay at home/ work away from home competition. It’s not a freaking competition and I truly believe that all of the judgment comes from a place of guilt and insecurity in ones own choices. We are all just trying to do what’s best for our families. and just for the record, I totally throw the TV on and give Scarlett snacks when I have a blog post deadline. Loved this post so much, Meg! XO

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 12, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      I totally agree with you, sister! Thank you so much for your sweet comment

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 11, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Love this. I’m a mom of two boys who works outside the home. It’s hard! Many, many days I wish I stayed home but working is what’s right for my family. I’m pretty fiercely protective of my family time. When I’m home, I’m home. So on the flip side I have to hustle that much more and really work when I’m at work. I’m in this awkward phase where my career is changing and growing and I need to embrace it…guilt free pursue where it can take me, but I’m struggling. So many interesting feelings! It’s almost like I have finally come to terms being a mom who works but I’m not wuite there to be a mom who really, really works. I think I’ll get there. Thanks for your insightful post!

  • Reply
    BeingMrsBeer
    April 12, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I couldn’t say it better. I think we all struggle in our own ways and I wish these dumb debates would just GO AWAY! As long as it works for your family, why should anyone else care where/if you work? All the praise hands, girl!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      April 12, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you so much, girl!!!

  • Reply
    Bre
    April 12, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    I don’t know of a world where a mom is not her own person and is solely there to take care of others and watch the children get to be a full person and not be a full person herself. That just should not be a thing.
    So yes, yes to all of this.

    also hey girl, hey!

  • Reply
    Amy March
    April 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    My friends tell me all the time I’m lucky because my husband does a lot of his work from home. What planet do you live on? i mean he’s here to help if something, say, catches on fire. Other than that he’s not really here. I mean, he’s here, but he’s not here.

    Also can I just say Caroline lights up my snapchat like no other?

  • Reply
    Ashlie Langston
    April 14, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Yes! LOVE this post! Mom have got to stop judging other moms! We are doing the best we can! I’d rather have a sitter come so I could have some me time which would transfer over to me being a better mama!

  • Reply
    uptownwithellybrown
    April 15, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    I needed to read this. Thank you for this! So spot on!

  • Reply
    abbieginther
    April 16, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    All the yes. I’m home with my kids on maternity leave (yay Canada!) but when I’m in the classroom, I get all of my work done there and then come home and am completely present. I am having a much harder time being present in the same way without the structure of being away to work. Finding and carving out time at home leaves me feeling less present. Go mamas. We all work, we all figure it out, we all love our kids. Loved everything about this.

  • Reply
    Cookie Crumbs
    December 13, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Meg, I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this! I’ve really been struggling with some decisions based around being present and there for my daughter. As a working mom who also tries to run a blog and handle everything else life throws at me this is just what I needed to hear. Thanks so much!

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