Career meets family – I’m a work-at-home mom…

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I’m a career woman.

Back when I had to go in to the office from time to time

In college, I had clear goals of getting an advanced degree and pursuing a career.

And while keenly aware of the challenges for working mothers, I have always wanted kids.

In fact, I did my senior project in college on this very topic.  It wasn’t until recently, when going back to work after Zoe was born, that I began to experience the challenges for working mothers on a personal level.

The big picture

First of all, I find it completely ridiculous that women (myself included) feel the need to decide between a career and a family – men do not face this same scenario.  No one ever questions whether or not men will go back to work after having kids.  Women shouldn’t have to feel the need to choose either.  If a woman or a man wants to quit the workforce to raise children, then great.   But let’s remove the assumptions.

Secondly, it frustrating that our government isn’t more family friendly.  For instance, it would be nice if our country had a paid maternity leave program.  Right now, it’s left to the company to decide if the time off is paid or not.  My maternity leave seemed to fly by.  I definitely wish I had taken more time off; however, after the six to eight week allotted time, the leave is no longer paid.  At that point in our lives, we couldn’t afford to go without my paycheck.

My situation

Since I work from home, easing back into things was much better than if I had to get all dressed up to go in the office.  Thankfully, I could stay in my pajamas and be near my baby to nurse on demand.

My husband also worked from home back then so we had a great system going on.  He watched her during the day when I was busy.  And I had her when he was busy.  I thought that set-up would last longer than it did, but then he got the call from Hollywood.

Initially, I was okay being back at work.  But after the move, I had to adjust to my husband leaving the house for work.  I got very upset.  Our former system was no longer…I now had to find childcare.  Daycare wasn’t an option; so I looked for babysitters.  It took a while; I wasn’t in a rush.  In the beginning, I was relieved when the potential sitters didn’t work out.  I kept thinking, Why do I want to pay someone else to spend time with my baby?  I want to be the one to play with her!  I complained often and loudly to my husband.  I repeatedly asked him when I could quit my job.

The revelation

It wasn’t until months later that I realized: I really DO want to work.  I LIKE my job.  Beyond motherhood, I enjoy being involved in interesting projects; being challenged; and helping people.  And just like that, the complaining stopped.  I was at peace.

It helped to find a very sweet babysitter.  Zoe loves her.  I’m pretty sure it would be a different story if I had to leave Zoe the whole day.  I am thankful that my company promotes working from home.

I love that I can have lunch with her and still be close to breastfeed.  Right now, I have the best of both worlds; and I can’t complain.  I get to have a fulfilling career and be home with my baby.

Being a mother is tough enough – and adding a full-time job on top of motherhood is ridiculously challenging.  But it can be done.  It can be done well.  It means you have to really prioritize what needs to get done on a daily basis.

Hopefully, our country will move towards a system that makes it easier for families.  Easier to pursue our passions for career and family.

What do you think?  Are you a working mother?

 

2 Comments

  1. Been there, done that. I have done the full-time work in an office (and driving around half the day for clients) and the work at home and the stay at home. All are equally challenging, in their ways. Being a SAHM was easy when Kian was a baby, now, at 5 and 3, it’s a new challenge with the mental, intelligent, constant questions and very independent ways. Working full time I had a lot of guilt leaving my kids in someone else’s care from 7:30-4:30 each day, and I know other parents have to work longer than that! These days I find I have no guilt, but less patiences as we are always together 24/7. Glad you found a system that works! WhenI was working 2-3 days at home, I could not afford a sitter, so I would have to maximize my time around naps for a 4month old and a 2.5 yr old, way too challenging! Sounds like you have the best of both worlds, very lucky!!

    • I hear you. I can’t help but wonder what it will be like if and when we have another baby. Right now, I’m fortunate enough to have this set up. It’s not always easy, but she’s more independent now… We’ll see if and how things change.

      It’s also frustrating that most career decisions come down to the financial situation of the family… some women work because they can’t afford not to, while other women stay home because they can’t afford childcare or they aren’t making more than they are paying out. Which doesn’t make any sense! This, again, is where I wish the government and businesses would step in!

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