The other day my daughter and I were talking about what she might want to be when she grows up. Most of the time when we have this conversation she tells me that she wants to be a mommy when she grows up. She usually follows that up with saying that she wants to be me. It is so sweet and flattering, yet sadly, it often makes me feel guilty.
More Than Just a Mommy
It’s kind of a conflicted guilty. She sees me as just a mommy, yet that’s exactly what she wants to be. To her, just being a mommy sounds like the best job in the world. I know that in her four year old mind, she doesn’t really understand the concepts of career and work and even “growing up”. I understand that I’m kind of over-thinking this at this stage of life. I really think she just likes me and wants to be like me.
But still, it bothers me that she doesn’t see me as a working mom. This, I think, is where my guilt comes from. Does she wish that I was a stay at home mom? Does she want me to be just a mommy? Does she understand that when I leave her at daycare in the morning I don’t just go home and play all day without her? I currently telecommute for my position, so she knows that after I drop her off, I come back home and work in my basement office. Has this made her think that I’m no longer “really” working?
I kind of realize that these are silly questions. She is four. She doesn’t yet think this deeply. I think I’m probably putting my own thoughts and fears and guilt and insecurities on her. The fact that she wants to BE ME should simply be telling me that I’m doing a great job! If my child wants to grow up and be a mommy then I’m probably showing her that being a mommy is a pretty awesome job!
Part of me worries about the fact that she just sees me as mommy. I want my kids to know that they can be whatever they want. I want her to know that I am a working mom. I want her to see that I love my job. I want her to realize that I am helping people, providing hope, and changing lives during the 9 hours a day that we are apart. I know that this is far too much for a four year old to understand. But still, it’s important to me that if I’m going to make the sacrifices required to be a working mom, then I want my kids to benefit from it. Not just financially. I want her to see the value in being more than just a mommy. I want her to know that she really can be anything she wants to be in the whole wide world…and a mommy, at the same time.
I hope that she grows up and has the option to decide whether she wants to stay at home with her children or work, to decide the type of work that she does, to decide when she works and how. Whatever she decides though, I hope that she sees herself as more than just a mommy. I pray that she realizes that she was made for great things. And motherhood is a great and mighty thing, but it is only one part of who she can become.
Being an Example
I want to be an example to her of what it means to be a great wife. I want to show her how to serve God faithfully. I hope she learns through me how to be a loving and amazingly fun mom. I pray that she gains a heart of compassion and searches for ways to help people. I hope that she becomes a strong, passionate woman who pursues every single one of her dreams. I want to be one of the role models that teach her how and why to do this. I hope that she someday looks to me for inspiration on how to be great, how to change the world. I don’t know that I quite measure up to the task, but I hope for it anyway.
I’m so thankful that I’m doing a good enough job as a mom that my girl wants to grow up and be me. I’m grateful for the chance to be her mom and her role model and example. And even on the hard days when I’m not so sure that being a working mom is the best choice, I’m thankful that I’m able to teach her the value of hard work. The value of doing the right thing. The value of sticking it out through the tough times. The value of making sacrifices to meet your ultimate goals. The value of pursuing your dreams even in the face of adversity.