Our goal is to provide information, ideas and support for working women who are also full-time mothers.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Why I work (addendum)

I just wanted to see that my last "Why I work" post was written on an extremely lucid day. Today I'm having a hard time remembering why I work! The last couple days of my maternity leave have been wonderful and I just want to stay home with my girls forever!!

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Why I Work

I guess I pretty much always thought I would be a working mom. It is the "norm" in my experience. My mom is a working mom, and I never felt that I lost out because of that. I don't feel that she was anything less than a full-time mom to me...sure, she worked, but she was mom first and foremost. She went to my games, my concerts, etc. She managed to do special things for my brother and I. And I strive to do the same for my daughter and stepsons.

For the most part, I enjoy and appreciate my job. I have a lot of flexibility. I start early and am done early, so I still have a good chunk of the day to spend w/my girl. If something comes up and I need to take a day off at the last minute, or leave early, its generally not an issue. My daughter is in excellent hands during the day and she loves to "go see [her] friends and teachers". She learns so much every day, and is a well-adjusted and well-behaved little girl (relatively...she is very much a 2-1/2 year old!). If I'm in the right mood, I would say that I have darn near the perfect gig for a working mom, minus my excessively long commute.

That being said, its hard to be a working mom. I love nothing more in my life than spending time with my daughter. Its hard to get up so early every morning to go work, then come home & take care of all that goes with running a household. I have to work out of financial necessity, though, and really, even if I didn't, I think I'd still want to do some sort of work, at least part-time.

I think my experience is similar to the dilemma of many working moms. Full-time mom, full-time employee. I enjoy both aspects of my life, but at the same time, I often feel overwhelmed and stretched way too thin. I wonder how my mom did it, seemingly with such grace, and why I'm having such a rough time of it. I have those days that I feel completely inadequate in all areas and am spinning my wheels, getting nowhere. Doing too many things, but none of them very well. Days when I'm missing my baby tremendously.

But I live with the ups and downs of being a working mom, as do millions of others in the same position. To me, that's what RWM is about...we're all in the same boat, so grab an oar and let's row!

Why I work

When I had my first (Aug '03) I really thought I would just rush back to work and it would all be ok. It was much harder than I thought. But, the reality is, I make more than my husband and I need to work or we need to move. We live close to his family, and that means a lot to me.

I wish I could work part-time or sometimes I wish I could own my own business, where there would be more flexibility. I know I need the stimulation of work and I like my job. I am truly blessed with a very family-friendly work environment.

When I had my 2nd (July '05), I thought it would be easier than the first, the reality was, it isn't. I kept my first home with me while on leave, and I had so much fun with both of them. I really had a harder time going back that time than the first time.

Both kids really thrive at 'school'. My two year old learns so much that I don't know if I would teach him. The other day he just randomly started singing the days of the week. And my little one loves her teachers and gets totally spoiled at school. So I know they are doing well and happy.

Next Week's Topic

Check back next week to when the topic will be "Moms over 35 and working."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why I work

Like all the women that have posted on this subject already, I have many reasons for being a working mother. Yes, it is necessary for me to have a paying job outside of the home. My husband works in the construction trades and the small company he works for cannot provide health insurance to our family. Well, they can, but we would be paying hundreds of dollars per month just to have the insurance and it wouldn't be good coverage. So that is my number 1 reason for working. I work for a company that provides excellent health coverage for the entire family and in this day and age, that's worth having a job alone. The company I work for is also incredibly family-friendly, so taking time off for illnesses, doctor appointments, school functions, etc. is encouraged! I am lucky in that regard.

Beyond the financial necessity, I enjoy working. I did not have my first child until I was 30 years old and I had spent my 20's building a career. I get a lot of satisfaction out of going to work everyday, getting personal fulfillment in a job well done, and contributing to the household. I always knew I would be a working mother, that staying home was not for me. I believe I am providing a lot of value to my children by showing them you can have a career and a family and enjoy both. My mom did it, and I am not damaged by the fact that she worked outside the home! Looking back, I admire her for being able to do both successfully. I hope I can do as well with my children as she did with hers. Besides, we need good females in the workplace. Not just single or childless women, but women with life experience and motherhood provides a lot of that. Some of the best managers in business are also moms! This is no coincidence--the jobs are very similar as you all know. Being a working mom is not an easy job, but it's rewarding in so many ways. I think it's time we celebrated that!

Why I work

The question of why I work has many answers. To be honest, I always expected to be a working mom. It wasn't until my first daughter was born, and I was faced with the prospect of going back to work after my maternity leave, that I realized I would love to be a stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately, it's just not practical. Could we survive without my income? Probably. Although I do think we'd have to sell our modest 2-bedroom house and live in an apartment, sell one of our cars, etc. There are people out there who think less of me for not being willing to make those sacrifices. To me it is not worth it. I hate the misconception that all working moms work for extravagances. We do not live extravagantly. We don't have cable or satellite TV, our house is small, we buy our cars used (one is a 1995), we have one cell phone with the cheapest package possible which we use for emergencies, etc. We worry about bills and money. But we are able to provide our girls with little things we wouldn't be able to do without my income such as a zoo membership, camping trips, outings to a drive-in movie, etc. Oh yeah, and of course our house and yard, which is important to me.

What I did do when I went back to work was go down to "part-time" (30 hours a week). I was extremely lucky to work for a company that was willing to accommodate me rather than lose me. I still have to be there 5 days a week, but it's only 6 hours a day. My oldest daughter loves her daycare and her friends there. We are home on maternity leave now and she misses it. We use a small in-home daycare with only 4 kids besides mine. She's basically there for two meals, nap time and a play session with her friends. I can't feel guilty about that. I do not feel like anyone else is "raising" her, she has never forgotten who I am, etc. (These were the things I was worried about when I first left her there.) She just has more people that love her.

And I can't lie, I do like getting out of the house, having adult interaction, contributing to our income, etc. While I dream at being a stay-at-home mom sometimes, I have no regrets. We don't have a lot of money, but I think my kids have a good life and I'm setting a good example for my girls.

Whatever you do, don't assume I'm not a "full-time mom" because I work outside the home. When that phrase is used to describe moms who are able to stay home with their kids, I feel a tightening in my gut. I do not hang up my mom hat when I walk into my office building. I am always a mom, first and foremost. It's the best job I could have ever asked for.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Why I Work...

I work because we need two incomes, not because we live extravagantly, but because we made some decisions a few years ago that are causing me to need to work. We bought a home (ok, a doublewide) and a new car that were technically out of our budget, but we can squeeze the payments on my husbands income. However, that doesn't leave us a lot of wiggle room, therefore, I work.

Do I enjoy working? Yes, it gets me out of the house and gets me some adult interaction. Currently I'm technically between jobs, though I am babysitting for a friend to bring in some extra cash each month. I am actively looking for a full-time job though, as we are ready to be out of debt and provide more for our children.

I am blessed with a wonderful husband that is supportive of me and my decision to not just jump into another job after my last job fiasco (another post, another time). Luckily we have been blessed with my husband receiving wonderful raises and opportunities in the past couple of years that have allowed me to stay at home (more or less), but it's time to step back into the working world.

Why I Work.......

Like the other working mommies this is not an easy question for me to answer. I suppose the first and foremost thought of why I work that comes to mind is money. We need the money. But to be honest my husband and I could make drastic changes to our life style (smaller home, older cars, less shoes...GASP) and we could make it on his income alone. But we need my income to support the kind of lifestyle we want. Does that make us shallow?? I don't know......I don't feel like I'm shallow.

I also enjoy the adult interaction and the sense of accomplishment I get from working. I guess some would say that the one greatest accomplishment in the world is raising your kids. And while I would agree with them completely I also need the sense of accomplishment I get from meeting my deadlines and having someone send me email saying what a fantastic job I did on something. Does that make me selfish?? I don't know....I don't feel selfish?

One thing that makes me extremely lucky is that I found the best daycare/preschool for my 2 1/2 year old son. He has been going there since he was 7 weeks old and I just adore all the teachers. My sons face just lights up when he see's his friends and teachers. He learns so much more than I think I could ever teach him. Just this weekend he showed me the title page in his Thomas the Tank Engine book. I certainly didn't teach him about the title page. His teachers push his development where I feel myself wanting to hold back because.....well he's my baby. Like some of the other mommies here I just can not see myself staying home every day with my son. There are those mommies who have these great activities planned with the kids, arts and crafts, etc. And I look at them in amazement wondering how they even thought of those things. I am just not that creative.

I also work for my insurance benefits. My husbands benefits in a word are awful. The monthly premiums are ridiculously high and the copays are enough to make me avoid the doctor's office even if I had a temperatue of 102 and couldn't get up off the bathroom floor for 3 days. My insurance benefits are absolutely wonderful. Extremely low premiums and low copays. The sense of security I feel by providing that to my family of 5 is priceless.

I think the decision to work or not to work is as complex as we women are to the core.

Sam

Why I work...

Why I work…
This is a tough question. Truthfully the reason I went back to work after having my daughter (born Nov. 2000) was because I made more money than my husband. We had some debts; we had only been married 2 years and had recently bought our first house. Neither of us made much so we needed the combined income. In our small town I had found a good small daycare which was reasonably priced. But most importantly the women there LOVED the children!

I had a very hard time leaving her and wondered if I’d ever get used to it. But when I saw how happy she was as she got older I realized that she was just fine and so was I. When it was time to go back to work after having my son (born Aug. 2003) it was also difficult, but I knew right away that he would be fine too. They are now 5 ½ and 2 ¾ and are wonderful children with good friends at “school” who they have known their whole lives.

I know now that it would be difficult for me to stay at home full time. I need the adult interaction and mental stimulation that work gives me. I do wish that there was a possibility of part time work that paid close to what I make now, but I haven’t found it yet. I like my job and feel that I am good at what I do. The rewards are fulfilling for me (both the paycheck and the satisfaction of a job well done).

If I felt that my children were suffering I would quit work today, but I know that I am doing a great job with raising them also. Those rewards are a million times as satisfying and fulfilling! My children are happy, well behaved, very confident and social. I am often told by acquaintances that my children are very sweet and well behaved. I am very proud of them (if you can’t tell already!). I also believe that they are proud of me and have much respect for me. We work together and help each other out in my household because my kids know that Mom and Dad have a commitment to do their job at work. They also know that we still have plenty of time to love them, listen to them and care for them at home.
So, the reasons that I work are many; the job satisfaction and the paycheck probably come in first. But the example that I am setting for my children as a person who can have many commitments and do many things well is also an accomplishment that I am proud of.

Why do I work? (Lois)

I work because basicly if I didn't we'd be homeless. Although my husband is the most fabulous husband and father and person I've ever met, he just doesn't make enough money for me to stay home. I know he feels bad as we watch all his other friends wives stay home with their children. I make over twice what he does so it would be insane for me to stay home. We've talked times about him staying home but he just doesn't think it's something he could do day after day.

To be honest I'm not sure it is something I could do every day 365 days a year. I often look at stay at home moms with envy when I go out at lunch time and they are running errands with their children. But some Mondays I'm just glad to be able to escape back to my desk and away from the constant responsiblity of being mom. Ok, I there I said it. Being a mom is tough and some days going to work is just easier. Plus the challenge and accomplishments of my work are very rewarding. I have the opportunity to interact with my peers.

Don't get me wrong many days I long to roll over in bed and just sleep an extra hour or cuddle with my little ones instead of treking into work. Especially when the little guys are sick and crying for their mommy and I'm not there. Can you say QUILT?!?! Or when the weather gets nice as it's starting to do here and I could be outside playing with them instead of locked into an office.

This is my lot in life: Working Mom, the good and the bad.