I’m not a real mom.
A lot has been written about the Imposter Syndrome. To simplify the work of several psychologists, the imposter syndrome refers to people who cannot realize their accomplishments and constantly feel like they are not good enough and are going to be found out. This is especially true for high-achieving women (why do you think we work so hard?!) and minorities (women in tech).
I’m not a real mom like my mom was. To be a “real mom” you need to stay home. How does seeing you child for 3 hours, 3 hours filled with chores, dinner, baths and bedtime, count as being a mother? I always expected to be a stay at home mom – that’s what my mom did. Why have kids if you aren’t going to spend time with them?! It’s funny all the preconceptions you have about motherhood before actually meeting your little one.
The hard part is that I love my job (most of the time) and it fulfills me in a way that staying home with my little one can’t. I feel like a terrible mother just writing that, but it’s true.
I don’t think there is an easy answer; this might be the struggle of the modern day woman – how to succeed at work while being the mom you want to be? Why can’t we have it all? I am lucky – the tech industry is well setup for flexible hours and working from home as necessary. I can truly be there for my son and family as necessary and am lucky to work for a supportive company.
While I’m still redefining my definition of mom, my son reminds me each day that I am a real mom. When he backs up to sit in my lap to read a book. When he walks up to give me a hug. When he says “Bye Bye Mama” in the morning (ugh pulls at my heart still!) This is what I need to remember when that inkling of self-doubt creeps back. When I want to storm upstairs to my bed and cry because I’m not a real mom. I need these reminders. These little moments each day are the moments that matter.
As long as I’m present for my son when I’m home, not stressed and worrying about being a “real mom” that’s all my family needs from me.