I’m a career woman.
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.
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.
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?