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I left my kids to go to work today. Not with their dad or grandma… with a sitter. This is something I swore I would never do. I’m a stay-at-home mom. That kind of mom. I’m not a go-to-work and leave my kids kind of mom. If I only go once a week does that really count? And when I work at home and I can’t cater to my kids every need and they are sitting in front of the TV what kind of mom does that make me?

When my oldest son was born I had very clear ideas of what attitudes and behaviors warrant placement in the good mom and bad mom categories. Good moms, I ascertained, are excited to stay home with their kids all the time. They sit on the floor and engage their kids in stimulating cognitive activities, shape sandwiches with cookie cutters and plan arts and crafts to foster those fine motor skills. Good moms don’t need hobbies or distractions or any kind of personal fulfillment because their kids are fulfillment enough… top priority at all times. Good moms never complain about motherhood or anything attached to it. They don’t need to get away from their kids, ever. Moms that do, of course are selfish and unenlightened. Right?

As usually happens in any aspect of my life where I have things “all figured out” I turned out to be oh so very, very wrong. It is true that good moms do many of those things listed above. And many feel very fulfilled doing just that. Other good moms go to work every day to teach children math or build airplanes or enforce the law. Good moms love their kids. They love them wherever they are every where they go.

When good moms must leave their kids, they take great pains to make sure they are safe, well cared for and enriched. Good moms take care of themselves. They chase dreams. They teach their children to do what inspires them, to work hard and never to give up. When good moms go home, they snuggle with their kids, learn about their day, and make up for lost time.

Do I have to be a particular kind of mom? Don’t make me choose. Can I just be a good mom because I love my children, pray for them and do everything in my power to raise them right? I want to be a good mom. But I also want to be a good me. A happy me. Can the two co-exist? I like to think so.

What do you think?