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.