more than a job

I’m a working mom.

Yes, it’s difficult.  You can find a slew of blogs by and about being a working mom that will lay out all of the trials and tribulations we face each day.

From sending our children to someone else all day long to the exhaustion of parenting after a long day of being “on” for adults.

For the most part, I can usually nod my head and think, “preach it!  don’t I know it!”

But in truth, I like being a working mom.

At first I felt incredibly guilty about liking it.

When Eddie was three months old, I went back to teaching after having the summer off.  In my head I was so excited to get up, shower, and leave the house to be around people all day.  I was looking forward to planning and teaching and problem-solving and talking to people.  I was hungry to put my degree back to work and teach literature and writing.

In my heart, I felt immense guilt.  I didn’t think I could tell anyone how excited I was, because being happy to leave my baby?  Probably meant I was a terrible mother.  And the truth was, I did miss the little guy.  But shortly after I went back to work, Cort lost his job.  Cort being home with Eddie suddenly gave me permission–at least in my mind–to enjoy being gone.

I had peace of mind.

But I also felt smothered under people when I was at home.

I was never alone other than after school in my classroom with the door closed.

It’s taken a couple years of therapy and writing about it for me to realize I can love work AND love being a mom.

It’s OK to love to work outside the home.

In fact, I am pretty sure that my going to work every day is what make me a better mom to Eddie, and soon to Charlie.

I know it’s not for everyone.  I do.  And I know there are some of you shaking your head at this post (if you are even still reading) wondering how in the world a mother can choose a job over her kids.

But for me, I am choosing my sanity…which means I am choosing my kids.

And it’s not just a “job” to me.  From the time I was five, I was already teaching my little brother and making him sit in front of my play easel and learn his letters.  Teaching is something I have always wanted, and education is something I feel very deeply about.

And I think if your job is something you have poured your heart into, making the decision to stay or go is not a light one.

For me, staying home wasn’t an option due to the fact that we needed the income and the slam dunk awesome insurance.

But there are other things that keep me there…

  • The routine.  Working gives our whole family not just a daily routine, but a weekly one, a monthly one, and because I am a teacher, a yearly one.  We know when my time off will be.  I can schedule appointments and playdates and everything based on my work schedule.
  • The routine.  Wait.  Did I already say that?  Oh yeah, well I can count it twice because putting our family on a routine means there are starts and stops to things.  Beginnings and ends…especially with being a teacher.  It’s not an endless day or week or month of the same thing.
  • The adult interaction for me.  I am a pretty good combo of introvert and extrovert, and while I need alone time (specifically naps) to recharge, I also need social interaction.  I need to talk to adults about things other than diapers and nap times.  I need to discuss professional things.
  • The kid interaction for my kids.  Eddie was born to love daycare.  He is a social little bug and staying home with me day after day…no matter how many fun things I can come up with for us to do…leaves him crabby and buggy after after a while.  He thrives on getting to play with other kids.  Daycare gives him all the social interaction he needs plus it teaches him things he can’t learn at home because there aren’t other kids here (yet):  sharing, turn-taking, group play, etc.
  • The distance in my mind from home things. My job doesn’t just get me out of my house, it gets me out of my town.  It’s a 40-minute commute from my suburban, super safe friendly small town to an urban school district.   The minute I walk into the school where I teach, I am miles away both in my mind and in physical distance, from anything that is going on at home.  Potty training and bills and the laundry  are out of sight and mind while I focus on other things.

All of these things are awesome, but the biggest benefit of my working has yet to be seen.

I believe the biggest thing I am showing my sons (and any future children) is that as a woman, I can do anything I want.  I can stay home with them OR I can choose a career.  Either way, I can be an awesome mom.

*************

Disclosure:  This post about the benefits of being a working mom was sponsored by Global Response, and inbound call center. Agents for Global Response work with brands and companies via phone and chat…a great job for a mom who is looking to help with the family income.  While Global Response has sponsored this post, they did not provide my opinions or experience.  Those are all my own.  I really do love being a working mom.

 

Comments

  1. I hope you don’t get any haters here bc I completely understand how you feel, and I think it’s important for you to feel fulfilled. If being at home leaves you missing something, then it’s best for everyone to have you working and happy. I have a 3 yr old and 8 week old and I went back to teaching piano lessons and tutoring a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was shocked I started back so soon but I needed it – for me. For my sanity. I feel “in the zone” when I’m teaching…and I need that to feel like myself and ward off the PPD this time.

    At times I feel guilty that my “in the zone” time isn’t when I’m patenting…but it isn’t. Parenting is hard and I’m muddling through it, just like everyone else. But I’m a great teacher. It’s nice to feel completely competent for a little while each week.

    Anywho… I’m glad you have found a balance that works for your family. I totally get where you’re coming from!

  2. Part of what took Joel and I so long to be ready to have kids is my job. Being a flight attendant is my passion and I can’t imagine giving it up. Not being able to travel would make me feel suffocated.

    When people have asked me about it they seem shocked that I plan to continue flying after our baby is born. I know Joel will be an amazing father and I think he’s totally capable of handling things while I’m away on trips. I’ll be home more than most women who work 40 hour weeks but when I’m gone it could be for days at a time.

    Maybe things will change when this baby is born but I doubt it. If I continue working after our little one is born we will be able to give him or her so much more of a rich life than if I quit my job and stay at home. I’ve felt a little guilty that I can’t imagine staying home all the time with my child but I know I shouldn’t. It’s nice to hear from someone else who feels the same.

  3. If I had it to do over again, I’d have chosen to be a mom that works outside the home. For sure.

    So I’m envious, believe it or not!

  4. When I was pregnant with my first son and planning on staying home, several moms that I worked with seemed to “justify” working to me. Women with plenty of money who had husbands who made plenty of money would tell me they couldn’t afford to stay home. That bothered me because I chose to stay home because it was the right decision for ME and MY family. Not because it’s the right decision for everyone. I was in a career field that I enjoyed, but was not especially passionate about. Every mom (and dad) should be able to choose what’s best for their family without judgement. As Dr. Phil says, “If momma’s not happy, no one’s happy.”

  5. Very well said. Being a working mom makes me a saner, more patient, fullfilled, complete mom and wife. I was laid off 9 months ago from teaching at-risk early childhood and while it was a blessing given the craziness of our current living situation (hubs lives 1200 miles away so I am acting as a single parent) I look forward to going back to work.

  6. I am a firm believer that there is no right and no wrong answer to this type of situation. It is a TRULY personal decision that nobody can make for someone else.

    I’ve been on both sides of the fence, but I have to tell you, I was READY to go back to work when the time came. Spending days at a time with all of zero adult interaction (husband was military and gone quite a bit) got a little old.

    As long as you do what feels and is right for you and your family, nobody can (or should) tell you different!

    As always, great blog!

  7. for me, working outside the home keeps me sane and i also think louise enjoys going to daycare and socializing with other kids her age. i know that opinion would be met with a lot of conflict, but it’s the way i feel.

  8. I thought when I had my children, I’d be the working mom. My mother was a single mom and I think I turned out ok. When I had my first, I was back in school in two weeks (yes, two weeks, school would drop me if I took more time) and I commuted about 70 miles each way. I didn’t think twice because of all the reasons you stated. But then I started working, pregnant with my second child (born in December) and I can think of nothing but staying home and hating the idea that I have to go back to work. I never thought I would feel this way. But the decision is personal.

    I don’t understand how you don’t feel pressure to “do it all”. And maybe it’s because my husband works far and is home late and I can’t imagine doing it. But that isn’t to say I don’t admire those who don’t feel those pressures. I would feel a lot more ‘free’ if I didn’t feel the pressures. But I do, and I can’t help it. Considering I have a graduate degree, sometimes I feel guilty about it, and I’m sure that I’ll find something at home that will make me feel “worthy”, but for now, I’m just mom and I love it. And I’m so glad that there are HAPPY moms out there, regardless of whether they work or not.

  9. I love working to some degree but in my perfect world I could work a very abbreviated schedule and spend the rest of my time with my kiddo. In the real world I am the breadwinner and the provider of insurance so without winning the lottery I will be working a very full time schedule.

  10. Since having children, I have run the gambit of working full time, working part time, working from home, or being home raising my children without a separate job.

    And guess what?
    They’re all hard.

    If you care to do it right, raising kids is supercalifragalistic hard.
    So no one should judge what works for another mother who is simply doing her best.

    Ever.
    I really do mean ever. (Unless there is some kind of abuse or neglect going on, of course.)

    Most of us are just struggling to balance our responsibilities with our loves in this life. Some of us are directed because of finances or issues of physical or mental health; some of us are motivated by an extreme drive toward career or mothering.

    No person, no child, no family is the same. And what’s MOST important is that the specific players in each situation in each generation are happy.

    That. Is. It.

    So good for you for finding your balance.
    That’s what will ensure that your family thrives…

  11. Oh it’s perfect and exactly how I would write it. I love working outside my home, I love the time my sons spend at daycare/preschool and how much they are learning. I enjoy getting dressed and doing my hair and using my brain to help other people ..I find it all a win/win.

    The words you used, the emotion you evoked just spoke to me..thank you for hitting publish Katie!

  12. I have decided to give up the working mom guilt this year. I do love working. And I love my family. And because I have a good support network, I can do both. And everyone should be able to make that choice without being made to feel like a horrible parent.

  13. I see pros and cons to both, one simply has to do what works best for herself and her family.

    There are some days that I would LOVE to have my old 50+ hour a week marketing job back and then there are days I wouldn’t trade staying at home with my son for all the money in the world.