I hear plenty of grumblings from stay at home moms who long for the adult interaction of a workplace, as well as guilt-ridden comments from working moms who’d love to spend more time with their children. Even the moms who work from home— like me— get tired of hearing they have “the best of both worlds” and sick of explaining that they don’t, in fact, “have it all.”
Instead of focusing on the negatives, though, I think we should occasionally remind ourselves of the positives. I asked moms from all walks of life to give us the scoop on what’s great about their employment situations and why how they work works for their families.
Let’s hear what they have to say!
One Day at Home Works for this Working Mom 1 of 9When I had my first baby five years ago I knew I wouldn't be a great 100% SAHM. However, I selfishly wanted the best of both worlds. So I asked for and received a 32-hour/week schedule. This allows me to stay in my career of employee development and also have one full weekday with my kids.
Since I work, I accomplish a lot of errands kid-free during my lunch. Then I usually focus the day I'm home on quality time with my kids. We go to the zoo, the pool, meet other friends for playdates, etc.
However, being home one day a week also lets me catch up on laundry or go to the grocery, etc. so that the weekend isn't so crazy. It's not all roses though when a corporate project requires extra work hours or the stress of a sick child interferes with job deadlines. Sometimes there are rock-paper-scissor mornings to decide which spouse has to stay home and cancel meetings. But it works for our family right now.
Tricia from Take 10 with Tricia, and Leadership Development Manager
Happy to be Her Own Boss 2 of 9When I got pregnant I began to imagine not working for someone. I now own 2 businesses, an advertising agency as well as a retail shop. Life is frenetic and stress is high, but we have grown the businesses as we've raised our 3 daughters (ages 4,6 and 8), which means my kids have always known me as a working mom who can make her schedule bend.
There are times though, when it bends me, but it is a price I am happy to pay for having the flexibility to swap a conference call to another day so that I can go on a field trip to an orchard.
Amanda Magee, mother, blogger and business owner.
Transitioning to Working from Home 3 of 9I never thought I would choose to be a SAHM, but when my daughter was born it was all I wanted. And we were fortunate enough to be able to make it work. I've loved being home with my daughter in her early years. And I've had the opportunity to reconnect with my passion for writing. Now that she is preparing to attend preschool several days a week, I am transitioning to WAHM. And I'm ready for it.
Elizabeth Flora Ross, mother and blogger at The Writer Revived.
A Nurse and a Mother 4 of 9I spent 8 years in college including graduate school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. It is more than a career, it is my passion, my calling. Then, after 10 years of being a nurse, I became a Mother. Which is now also my passion, my calling. I have struggled with juggling both. I have stayed home for periods of time, and I have worked long hours, with amazing pay and benefits. I finally realized, that I can do it. I can work 50 hours and be a good Mom. I can stay home and be fulfilled. However, the catch was, I didn't want either. So now I live a compromise. I work in a women's health clinic from 8-2:30 Monday thru Friday. I drop my kids off at school and pick them up at the end of the day. I work late nights after bedtime to catch up on paper works and research. I took a pay cut. I get to cook healthy dinners and fight over homework. I get to positively affect my patients and my own little ladies because I am happy. I get to do what a love, be a nurse and a mother.
Rebecca, nurse practitioner and mother of 2
Shaping Work around Family 5 of 9I work at a community college that's literally 7 minutes from my house, and only about 10-15 minutes away from my kids' schools. I usually teach two afternoon classes per week, so I can pick them up from school most days, and I can get home in time to get dinner together and spend some QT with my family. I try to fit in the rest of my work--planning lectures, grading papers, responding to students' e-mails, and freelance projects I'm doing-- either before my kids wake up or after they go to bed and sometimes on the weekend (not ideal, but you do what you gotta do). There are times when I miss my magazine job in NYC, but when it comes down to it I feel lucky that I'm able to satisfy the career-girl in me (sans the crazy commute!), and that I'm around enough that my kids don't seem to realize how much time I actually spend working.
Tara Berson , stay at home working mom, adjunct communication and media professor and freelance writer/editor, and blogger.
It’s All about Balance 6 of 9Very early on, I learned to balance having young children with the demands of going to school full-time and working part-time. Being a student, I realized quickly that the academic schedule was actually fairly ideal for raising a family. My work season nearly paralleled their school season, and by happenstance I had both of my children in the late spring, just before summer vacation. Bringing my work home was the tough part, but I stuck with it.
As a full-time lecturer, I have the flexibility to be around when my kids are at home, summers to take them on camping trips, and the ability to cart them with me to class if they are feeling under the weather. I still work a fair amount from home, prepping, grading, and answering emails, which has taught my kids that when I am at work, I need that time and space. Sometimes they grumble about it, especially if I am teaching an online course over the summer. But then, I can hop on my bike and ride them down to the ice cream shop when I am done, in the middle of the day, and I feel very grateful.
Jesse, full-time lecturer, mom of 2 school age boys, and blogger at Buckhouse
Kid-Friendly Workplace 7 of 9My work situation is perfect on a lot of levels. I am close to daycare if I need to go take care of anything but also far enough to provide some distance and give me some freedom.
My schedule allows me to be home in the evenings and weekends and flexible hours at other times. My work environment is kid-friendly and all the folks I work with are parents too so it's nice to have flexibility during the times I need it when my daughter is sick or when we just need a day off together.
-Kelli, full time working mom of one, and graduate student
Pursuing a Passion 8 of 9After five years at home with my kids I decided to go back to university to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health. I love academia. I love doing research, I love expanding my mind, and I love being able to see things I that I thought were static in a new dynamic way, which gives me hope for the future. I can't imagine doing anything else.
Working towards a Master degree is hard work and I won't lie, it is really hard when you have small kids. When does one sleep?
I am one of few students in my cohort who is a parent. I can't come home at night and work on my reading and writing assignments. I help make dinner, put kids to bed, read stories, and then spend some time with my husband.
School has to wait, family comes first. Ultimately it is this last thought that makes it all manageable.
Theresa, blogger at A Mountain Momma
Deciding to Stay at Home 9 of 9Being a SAHM is something I'd always hoped to be able to once I had children. Though I did return to work when my eldest was 11 months old, after I had my second son it made more sense financially for me to be at home with my boys due to daycare costing a small fortune. What I love the most about being a SAHM? That I can kiss them on a whim, grab them for a cuddle, read to them or simply watch them play together as brothers (albeit too rambunctiously a lot of the time). For me, those are the most delicious moments that make the chaotic days of being a SAHM all worthwhile.
January Soden, stay at home mom of two and blogger at The Dawning of January
How does your employment situation work for your family? What would be your ideal situation at this stage in your life? Tell us in the comments!
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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