I’m a Better Mommy When I’m Working… These Are Facts

8 hours for me... the rest of my life for you.

8 hours for me… the rest of my life for you.

When my daughter was born, I swore that I would spend every waking second I could teaching her and loving her. I wanted to always be present for my children. I wanted to be the one that wiped every tear and kissed every boo boo. I wanted to make sure all my energy went to making them happy, wholesome, well rounded members of society. In my mind, this meant being a stay-at-home mom which has to be one of the most difficult jobs ever (read about that HERE). After all, how could one work and possibly muster up the energy to be a loving and dedicated mother? The answer? Quite easily.

After one week (that’s right, only one week), I have found that working has made me a better mother and wife and given me a new sense of confidence I have not known since becoming a mom. I feel proud to be contributing financially to my family. My husband is a generous and reliable provider, no doubt. But there is something empowering about bringing in my own money and being able to bankroll some of my own desires as well as things for the family.

I have also found a great amount of joy in having a purpose outside of our household. While the clerical side of my job may not sound very exciting, the writing and marketing aspects are thrilling and will allow me to spread my social butterfly wings. I need that. It makes me feel normal again. I need that too. I am rediscovering the adult in me — the adult that exists beyond the realm of motherhood and all things domestic. I am tapping into that part of me I was desperate to know again. And I’m better for it.

So all in all, I was wrong about having to stay-at-home to be a loving and dedicated mother. I considered all the things one must think about before returning to work. I realize while I was fortunate enough to stay with both my babies their first two years, I feel very blessed in being able to return to work. I am not any less loving or caring a mom because I work a job. If anything, I am a better one.  I am morphing into the type of person I want them to see. Not just employed but happy and fulfilled. My truth is that staying at home simply was not enough for me and it was not taking care of myself. Now I can take care of myself and them too. That’s a peace of mind like none other.



Things Every Stay at Home Mom Should Consider Before Going Back to Work

I am one of many women who has been fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my children through their infancy. I am blessed with a husband who was willing to give up some things he enjoyed and a family who also has made sacrifices so our children could have a lot of what our single income household could not provide. But as the children get older and more eager to socialize I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to direct my efforts towards bringing home a little extra bacon. As we get birthday party invites and requests for dance lessons, I find myself biting my nails and pouring over the accounts. Raising happy, involved, well-rounded children can cost.

Going back to work is not something I take lightly. No one should; don’t think most people could… take it lightly, I mean. There’s a lot to think about before you send out that first flurry of resumes — personal feelings, finances, time management. Before you go diving headfirst into the daily grind, these are some things you want to consider.

Is it worth the money?
Yay, you’ll get a paycheck! Subtract sitter for kid(s), gas to get around, doubles of most necessities so the sitter has one as well, lunch for yourself on occasion (cause you didn’t have time to make it) and take out dinners on occasion (cause you didn’t have time to make that either). What’s left in your account after you do all that?! -$232.00? It could happen if you don’t think in terms of all the extra you’ll need versus what you’ll be getting. Make sure the ends justify the means.

Is it worth the stress?
Initially I was thinking, “I’m up anyway.” Truth is, I’m not up at 5:45 which is when I will have to wake up if I want to have myself work ready, my kids sitter ready, everyone fed and out the door by 7:15. And the typical time of getting off at 5 PM lost its luster when I thought of crawling through traffic, picking up kids, and getting home no earlier than 6… only to make dinner. If you are not the type of person who can go, go, go on a DAILY basis, consider that in your job hunt. Part time might be the better way to ease back in especially if handling stress and children isn’t your strong point.

Can you live with yourself?
I was surprised at how quickly the pang of guilt I was feeling dissipated. I was so sad to think of leaving my littles with someone else but I thought about it and realized it could very well make me a better mother. I may be a little more attentive when time is a commodity. I may be a little less stressed when there’s more in the pocketbook. I may be a little happier because I’m shaping MY life and shaping them. That is my reality. Yours may be different.

Can they live with you?
I have to admit my feelings were a bit hurt when my daughter told me she wouldn’t be sad if mommy went back to work. However, the greater part of me felt a relief. I know it seems silly to want a toddler’s blessing but her opinion and happiness matters to me. If I thought that she wasn’t ready for it or that her brother would suffer, I wouldn’t dream of doing it. But they seem as eager to go about their lives as I am to enhance my own. Again, this is my reality. Yours may be different. 

When all is said and done, only you can say when you are ready to get back to the rat-race. We do live in a society that affords all types of flexibility. Virtual work, writing, data entry are all ways to work from home. Telecommuting is a great option. There are also many workplaces that offer perks and assistance for employees with children. Weigh all your options and then step on out there. There’s still a world waiting for you.
*For great work-at-home job leads, I recommend visiting Workplace Like Home. They have solid advice and opportunities in the forums.


Work-at-Work Mommy? Maybe So!

What I’d basically be doing… 

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine contacted me about a job opening at her office. A pure case of good karma and great people had thrown opportunity on my doorstep. Though I had no experience in this particular field I was more than familiar with what the position was basically about. The more she told me about the job the more confident I was that I could do it. So, I threw caution to the wind, grabbed a quick “power” outfit from Macy’s, printed out my work-related goodies and headed off to meet the boss. 

Interview Day Bandana bib — can’t cheesesteak up my blouse

After meeting with the owner/founder of the company (no pressure, right?) it was decided that I would come in and shadow then work a day to see how and if I fit. I read up on the parts of the job I was not familiar with and did as much research as possible on today’s most relevant issues. I was determined to come in and be ready to go. As shadow day approached I found myself visualizing success — and that is what I had. 

I read this and think, perhaps I oversimplify. I neglect to mention that I was a big ball of nerves for days, wrought with doubt and fear that I’d lost too much over the past 3 years to really make any type of decent showing. I neglect to discuss how tempted I was to just run back home and crawl into the comfort and understanding of my sweats and (really tired and beat up) robe. I forgot to bring up the hand wringing over finding a sitter and the possibility of leaving my children with someone else. I cried, for sure. But I put my big girl pants on and I did what I had to do. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am by no means sure of whether or not I got the job, but I can say that I am confident that I did well. I am proud of my end product and I am pleased with the work I did. Regardless of the outcome, I pulled myself together and got back out in the world. And I must confess it felt good. I held my children a little tighter when I came home. I thanked my husband with more sincerity. I fell asleep with a different sense of accomplishment; one that was all my own. I am hoping for the best but even if this isn’t in the cards, I know that I’m ready for whatever else may come my way… and something is definitely headed my way!


I Don’t Get No Respect! A Stay-at-Home-Mom’s Perspective

I don’t get up at 5:45 am and stagger into the kitchen in need of coffee. I don’t attempt to entertain a baby while curling my hair, applying make-up and playing tug of war with a one size too small pair of Spanx. I don’t dash out of the house only to get in the car and find I left my purse… or my coat… or my crying kid, waiting by the door. I don’t place her into the hands of a kind but “not really my family” type person and ride away feeling just as bad as my babe. I don’t go put in a full day in a cubicle and get stressed by deadlines and downsizing and corporate culture and the like. I don’t rush to the sitter to arrive 15 minutes late and end up writing a check for an additional $40.00 due to an overtime charge. I don’t rush up to my front door only to realize I left my purse, or my coat, or my crying kid sitting in the car.

I have nothing but respect for those that do… but I don’t, and I make no apologies for it.

First things first, that kind of rat-race routine was never my thing. Even before I had my daughter, I was the kind of person that felt dampened and dimmed in the confines of office walls. The life would literally drain from my body as I entered what felt like fluorescent filled daytombs. I could survive in that world — but I couldn’t thrive.

And then the economy happened which made getting work difficult… and then I was blessed with Addy. And while I know that the modern woman can do it all, I DON’T. And I’m not sure I could as I know myself and my limits. And I don’t think I should since the ends would not justify the means — breaking even to be exhausted and have no time for family is hardly “winning.” And I refuse to feel bad about it. And I’m so tired of being made to feel like I am inadequate, or lazy, or slacking. I mean, I’ve had my years of slacking don’t get me wrong, but the last two years do not, by any means, fall into that category. I have taken a little time to re-evaluate and replan. I am not sorry for taking pause to make sure I point myself in the RIGHT direction this time. It’s not just me anymore, after all.

I am GRATEFUL to have spent the first year with my daughter. I know that there are many that say they would have if they could have, but the truth of it is, a lot of women wouldn’t make it. There ARE sacrifices that are made when there is only one income. For example, going out and indulging in the little pleasures like manicures or movies (things that are already difficult with a child) becomes virtually impossible and happens only through miraculous acts of god. The walls DO start to close in and the park nearby does get boring… for both me and baby. I officially refer to smelly things as “tink-tink” and hum the theme song to every PBS show ever made while in the shower. I don’t remember what adult conversation is like. It does sometimes seem like Mama is all I am. I feel as though I am viewing the world from 2 feet tall all the time — and the world in return makes me feel about two inches high.

All I’m saying is show a stay at home mom a little respect. I don’t judge the working women of the world. I commend them and in many ways admire them. Sooo don’t judge me because I don’t do the 9 to 5 shuffle.. Whether you think so or not, I work damn hard. I wake up at work — go to bed at work. I get no pay or promotions and please know there is no union or guaranteed one hour lunches. My boss yells and screams at me and is never satisfied so she turns to a bottle. She never says thank you and probably won’t until she is headed out on her own. It’s a job I do strictly for the love but it doesn’t make me any less than any other woman, any other mom. If you think it does, then shame on YOU. It’s your problem. Not mine.