There are many times that I wonder why (and how!) I do it all, I sometimes question the value of what I bring to my family by being a working mom, but then I realize (call me crazy) the main reason I feel so nuts really has to do with me.
“I thrive at being a working mom”
This post aims to tell you why I believe working is best for me and my family. Sometimes I feel like I am convincing myself, but at my core is my truth…I really enjoy working and wouldn’t have it any other way.
After reading this, you might be thinking that being a working mom sounds like it takes a lot of effort- and don’t get me wrong, it certainly does. There are endless lists, dirty dishes, unmade beds, commute and travel time each day, but upon reflection, I feel that I wouldn’t want it any other way.
So why do I feel so strongly that being a working mom is the best thing for me?
Let me start by being selfish and admitting that the main reason has to do with me.
First and foremost, I [on most days] love my job! While I missed my son dearly when I went back to work the first time, it felt so good to be myself and interact with other adults again. I started to feel human again: taking showers in the morning, putting on makeup, sipping my coffee in peace, making small talk, getting to eat lunch at a regular time, etc. The simple things…grocery shopping alone on the way home!
I will admit, being at home can be tough, even on weekends – there are some moments where the my son is playing nicely alone and I can glance at my phone or pour myself a cup of coffee and savor the taste before it gets cold or just sit or times that I simply let the madness unfold.
Speaking honestly, I have only one child, but his demands on top of an exhausting week, can sometimes be trying.
Whit, my son, is constantly saying “play with me, play with me” while jumping from activity to activity…toys cars, play school kitchen, building legos, and drawing all in an hour’s sweep. I’m trying to simultaneously be the “firm, but gentle” mom with my discipline techniques and keep the house from becoming a complete warzone. “Blippi Songs” are playing on repeat on the iPad until my brain feels like jello and I am singing to the melodic tunes about garbage trucks or recycling. I’m trying to remember if we had breakfast this morning, and at the same time, I’m wondering where the dog is because I realize that I didn’t let him back in from the backyard (it’s fenced!). My husband is amazing and together we divide and conquer the management of these days. Our secret to success? We do it together.
The selfish part in me that likes being at work is that it gives me a break and allows me to have quality time for myself. It also helps me be a more patient mommy to Whit because I appreciate the time we have together that much more- even on the crazy weekend days that turn into Disney World Trips.
Working provides me with the balance I need in life.
I felt like my life centered around my baby after he was born as I cared for them throughout the newborn stage. My son was born a little early and spend some time in the NICU before we could come home. I was, aside from being a first time mom, terrified of him picking up illnesses so my husband and I sequestered ourselves in our cute beach house until we felt comfortable to start going out and doing more. Not six months after giving birth, I had to have major back surgery and wasn’t able to lift or pick up my sweet boy for 16 weeks, so I really cherished the times that we could play and have fun and just simply be together watching him develop.
But as babies grow up, they need their independence starting at a young age and my little one was very independent…what we call “a leader” if you know what I mean.
As a mom, I needed to make sure that as my son slowly gained freedom, that I started to regain aspects of “me” – the part of myself separate from my child: my career, my relationship with my husband, my social life, etc.
While Whit is an incredibly wonderful and important aspect of my life, he is not the center of everything.
Also important to me are things like my husband, my family, my friends, hobbies, and also my work life. My career, which I spent years preparing and educating myself for, stimulates me intellectually and allows me to continue to develop as a person, apart from my son.
I believe that my working (and therefore my small absence) benefits my son socially as well.
At preschool, my son gets interaction with his peers and educators that I alone would be unable to provide to him. I love seeing him at his school finding him laughing and playing with his friends, discovering how to problem solve, and learning how to behave in an educational setting by listening to and following directions.
School gives him the stimulation that even if I was the best of parent, he wouldn’t get with me (and I work in education!). I love hearing about his day from him, him telling me what he did with his best friend and how he learned something. His preschool sends me updates in the day so I can guide our conversations at the dinner table about topics that they covered. He is happily exhausted at the end of each day and we haven’t had an issue with him not sleeping through the night since he started in school.
I love the example that being a working mom sets for my son.
For my son, by working, I am showing him that family roles are not assigned by gender and everyone is responsible for taking care of both the home and family. Even though he is young, my husband and I are teaching him about responsibility and prioritizing our time together.
A 2015 study (well, a social study) from Harvard Business School reported that “women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time. Men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members.” Hearing things like that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and reinforces the belief this is best for my family.
Even though we spend hours apart throughout the week, I still feel very close to him. We have a great routine in the morning and afternoon. My husband and I always find a way to be together at the dinner table without distractions to talk about our day. Our night time routine consists of Whit playing the in bath and brushing his teeth (we help after!) while my husband and I enjoy a glass of wine. We learn new things and read stories before going to bed. Once Whit is in bed, my husband and I have special time together to just relax, watch our favorite shows and talk about the week.
In fact, I believe working allows me to feel even closer to both my husband and our son. It grants us the opportunity to become the best version of ourselves by allowing us to grow as individuals as well as a family.
The time we spend together is very special and the time apart allows us to all be more rested, calm, and appreciative. My small family finds ways to take trips together and trips apart with our closest friends to rest, recharge and reset to be the best that we can be.
“Working and momming” is not for everyone and it’s okay to feel like you are struggling to do it all, sometimes you just have to reach out for some help or simply communicate what you need….find your life balance.
Some of you reading this may not agree with how I feel about enjoying my working time away, and that’s okay, as women (working away or at home) together we must support each other and lend a listening ear…judgement free.
Related: How To Stay Sane As A Working Mom