Last week, I was sitting nice and tall in the driver side of my kid-toting SUV.  It was 7:45 and I had already showered, put on make up, ate breakfast, got dressed, pumped some milk, fed and dressed three kids and got them out the door to get my oldest to preschool on time.  It felt good to already be leaning toward the victory column before the clock struck 8:00.

A day like that doesn’t come around often. But I was grateful it did that day.

Because it was one of the two “busy” days in my week that I balance getting kids to school and daycare while fitting in a work day for myself.  It includes a baby getting in and out of a car seat 16 times and me praying that I can somehow focus long enough to get my work to-dos checked off.

So yes… gratefulness was all through me to have had that kind of start to my day.

So there I was in my “feeling good” vibe … hoping that the people driving toward me in the other lane could see my awesomeness oozing out of my rolled down window.

I decided I needed some tunes to add to my vibe…  so I turned on my local radio station.

The problem was… there was no music.

It was a debate instead. A debate about motherhood.

And I instantly slumped in my seat and felt my joy oozing out my rolled-down window the minute I heard the topic.

In short… a woman (didn’t hear her name) wrote a book (didn’t hear the title) about how she believes that there’s no way that mothers who stay at home can be happier than mothers who work.

(I’ll let that sink in for a second)

What resulted was a bunch of women calling in. Some defended themelves. Some defended the author.  All having different reasons for it.  But the point was… people were deciding for each other whether or not they were happy.

And there I was as a listener … in FULL stay-at-home Mom mode that morning, feeling joy and happiness in the moments prior… suddenly wondering, “Am I really joyful and happy? Is this lady right? Would I be happier if I worked full time? This joy I’m feeling now doesn’t happen every day.”

Within seconds I shook myself out of it.  Because I reminded myself that I know better than to let that affect me.

And then I just got angry.

WHY are we still debating this topic?  Why are we still trying to pit working mothers against stay-at-home ones?  Why are we deciding FOR each other how high our level of happiness is or how each of our decisions affect our level of good mothering?

Because every time we choose to engage in THAT debate, we are ignoring a more important one…

Like why we have become a generation of mothers who have completely lost confidence in ourselves and our own maternal instinct to the opinions of authors, bloggers and other moms.

And how we have completely abandoned working on ourselves and being the best version of “us”… and simply giving in to conforming to be the people that everyone around us is saying we should be… even though deep down we know better.

THAT’S the real debate.

Because no working mom is the same as the one four cubicles down from her.  And no stay at home mom can have an “apples to apples” comparison to the woman down the street.  Why?

Because WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. Have we forgotten that?

Each of us views happiness differently.  Each of us has different pasts and different influences growing up.  Each of us has different passions.  Each of us has different “things” that make us tick.  Each of us has different struggles. Each of us has a different family dynamic.

All of these things affect our decisions in life and motherhood… and our overall happiness.

Can we agree that it’s time to stop engaging in debates about our choices in career… and start engaging each other instead? To understand each other’s struggles, to learn about each other’s pasts, to figure out what makes each other tick and to learn about what dreams we each have for ourselves.

And to do all of that not with the intent to pass judgement… but to instead understand each other better.  And support each other in whatever dreams we seek. Whatever struggle we silently endure. And whatever decisions we make as a person and a mother.

So that we can all move forward in our pursuit of happiness with a heart that feels supported, and a skin we feel confident in.  Whether the world around us tells us we should be or not.

Written by Brea Schmidt

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