Are You Cheating
Kids need us most for the mundane days. Our children need someone to speak to them kindly so that their first word is Mama or Dada. They need us to hold their hands so that they can take their first steps. They need us for homework help and car rides home where they tell you about their days in ways that are more raw than at the dinner table.
You wouldn't be a world class physician if you didn't show up at the office. You couldn't be an attorney if you only came to trial two days a week. Parenting really isn't something that you can do effectively part time either.
That all being said, there are plenty of good working mothers. There are women who achieve wonderful balance and find a way to get it all done while working a job (or two), and the kids are fine -- they excel even. My mother worked from the time I was in Kindergarten until I was out of the house, and for many of those years she needed to, and then for many years I think she didn't know how to stop.
The decision to work or to stay home is an incredibly personal one, and of late it has become a loaded question. Do you work? Is how I typically hear it posed to me, and the subtext is huge. Sometimes I hear it as "Do you have value outside the home?" and other times I hear it as, "Is your husband successful enough for you to stay home?"
The reality is that I hear the question differently on different days. See, even as a stay at home mom, we never really feel like we've given our kids 100 percent. There are moms who are so involved in every moment of their children's development (even now at twelve) that you can't help but flinch when they ask you if you stay home.
I guess I would ask you, "What are your career aspirations?" Is it to make more money, or is it about personal satisfaction? If you're there for the money and you don't need it, perhaps it's time to rethink. Also, if your sister-in-law is making you doubt yourself, maybe part of you agrees with her. Maybe upon reflection you'll find that working outside the home is the right thing for you regardless of income.
At some point you'll have to tell your sister-in-law that she's just droning on.
When she brings up your career for the eighty bazillionth time, try gently reminding her that you've already discussed that with her, and move onto something else.