Friday, February 10, 2012

Controversial Thoughts On Being a Working Mom

I had a planned post about being 16 weeks pregnant and about the fact that I'm already getting excited about decorating a nursery.  But then I saw that this week on Kelly's Korner is "Working Moms," and I just had to post.

This is something very near and dear to my heart. 

I am a full-time working Mom.  I have a 20 month old daughter, another daughter on the way, and a husband who is a surgery resident and works upwards of 80 hours a week.

It is tough at times.  It is trying.  But it is the way I WANT it to be.

I went to law school and after finishing decided to take my career path in a different direction.  I don't currently work at a law firm.  Instead, I am the Academic Director for the Middle School and Upper School of a very prestigious school.  My hours are manageable compared to my husbands and those of an attorney, but on average, I work about 45 hours a week.

People have often asked me things such as: "don't you want to see your children walk for the first time?" or "why do you work if your husband is a doctor?" (yes I've been asked both of these MULTIPLE times)

I used to get REALLY offended.  I think working Moms are usually lumped in to this category of "we only do this because we HAVE to."

Not the case for me.  I WANT to work.  Personally, I enjoy coming to work everyday, and to be COMPLETELY honest, I think I'm a better Mom and wife because I work.

No the balance isn't easy.  Having her in daycare and dealing with dropping off and picking up everyday can be tiring.  When the daycare is closed and I have work, we're always in a pickle.  If we pay for someone to babysit all day that could be very expensive, but then again, I get very little vacation throughout the year (we're talking 5 days total) so taking one day is a big sacrifice.  My husband surely can't cancel a ton of surgeries, so like I said those days are really rough.  When she's sick we have to manage and balance.  But we find a way.  Also, my daughter has the most amazing immune system know to man kind and hasn't had a sickness with a fever since she was about 4 months old.  She got Daddy's immune system.  I'm very thankful for that!

You just rearrange your schedule and have to live very organized.  I HAVE to go grocery shopping on the weekends because by the time I get home from work I wouldn't have time to go grocery shopping.  Yes this means we have quick and easy meals often, but it works for us.

The biggest advice I can give for it all:

(1) make sure your husband is supportive of your working or not working.  I HATE it when I hear husbands resent their wives working or not working.  Fortunately for me, Evan WANTS me to work.  He knows it makes me happy, he think it's what fits US as a family, and he realizes that we can balance it all and be happy.  I know of couples that the husband automatically thinks the wife will stay home and what if she doesn't want to?  I see these things as FAMILY decisions.  I don't see why the woman is always the one that has to stay home.  What if the husband wants to do it too?  I think it's a totally personal decision and I truly support EITHER way of living.  Just make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about it.

(2) make sure to still make time for yourself.  This is probably the hardest part of it all.  Since I do daycare drop off and pick up everyday, this takes another chunk out of my day.  And since I HAVE to be at work by 7:45, I don't get to stay up late. We pay $700 a month in daycare and when #2 comes along, that will double.  By the time you do the math, my paycheck really isn't helping much.  This is very difficult to come to terms with sometimes.  But since this is what I WANT to do and since I am still helping a good chunk financially, it works for us. If the baby has a rough night, I can't just come in later.  It's easy to feel drained in this regard.  BUT, I still make it a point to find me time.  Sure this means that the laundry often isn't done or that the kitchen isn't perfectly clean, but for me, my time to exercise is sacred.  I go about 3 to 4 times a week and yes, we pay more for a gym with daycare, but it's so worth it.  I don't go for long, but while I'm on that treadmill I'm in my zone and by the time I'm done, I am rejuvenated, feeling good about myself, and ready to finish the evening with my lovely girl.

LAST thought on this topic and the most important to me;

DO NOT judge people on whether they stay home or work.

I must admit I am guilty of thinking "what do SAHM's do all day?" before having children.   HA!  I don't think this anymore.  Trust me.  NOT AT ALL.  I know it's consumed with cleaning, feeding, keeping the kids under control, just hoping that nap time comes faster, etc. 

On a different note, don't judge a Mom for wanting to work.  If that's her decision, be supportive of it!  Let her know that it's a different balance.  Let her know you support that.  I think people often say "being a stay at home mom is the most difficult job on Earth" and you know what?  I AGREE!  I couldn't do it!  But on the other token, why can't we give credit to Moms that help provide financially and still take on the Mom and cleaning/ cooking etc. role as well?

Every Mom in the long run wants to do what's best for their family.  And criticizing others for this decision isn't going to help one bit!

I say ... want to stay at home?  GOOD FOR YOU! 

        ... want to work?  GOOD FOR YOU!

Let's all come together and rejoice in the fact that we're fortunate for what we have and support each other while we're at it.


  1. I get the "you're husband is a doctor why do you want to do more school/work/go to law school/etc.?" thing all the time from people. Its because that is what I want people! Of course the luxury of choosing is awesome, but you have to do what is best for you. Also, supportive husband is SO important. The hubby knows I will be a miserable mother and unhappy person without fulfilling my goals and getting some work in, even if his pay check will always trump mine. Who cares?

  2. Kudos to you! I know that I want to work after having kids and my hubs is supportive of this too. I have often wondered about how we will adjust, but I know we will. You are lucky to have a supportive husband, family and friends. People criticize when they are jealous. Take it as a compliment.

  3. Totally agree- we should all do what makes us the happiest and works best for our families. Why do we need to criticize others' decisions on this topic? They do not affect our lives at all. I am a SAHM by choice and I often get comments such as, "Oh, your husband is a doctor...lucky you, you get to stay home," etc. and those comments bug me, too, because they are just assuming that's why I stay home. I stay home because it is what I have always wanted to do...and my husband is an intern right now...I mean HELLO...we are NOT making the big bucks AT ALL! We make it work because it makes me happy and we think it is best for our family. We would make it work regardless of my husband's job if at all possible. I cannot imagine not having a supportive husband. Thank God for good hubbies! ;) I think it is awesome that you continue to work outside the home because you enjoy it and I'm sure that enjoyment and fulfillment does carry over into making you a better mom. To each their own!

  4. Coming over from Kelly's Korner and you said this perfectly!!!

  5. Saw your link from Kelly's Korner. Couldn't of written this out better myself.

  6. Great post!!! You know what I say "Being a Mom" is the hardest job on Earth. A job or no job has nothing to do with it.

  7. Glad you are doing what works for you! I work too, though if I could choose, I wouldn't (or maybe just not FT)! It's frustrating when people are so judgmental! Kudos to your family for the support and you doing what you enjoy!

  8. Thank you for writing this. I’m also a wife of a surgeon and pregnant with our first child. I’m planning on working after our child is born. I too feel that I will be a better wife and mom if I do this. Great post!

  9. Amazing post. I have nothing to add to it (you've covered it all) so I'll just say "Go you!"

  10. This is the BEST post I have read regarding working moms (outside of the home). You nailed it! Love this message, thanks so much for sharing!

  11. People can be very insecure which brings out jealosy and comments like you have received in the past. I believe you are showing how organized you truly are because you have to balance your time, family and you and you do it beautifully. I received an e-mail from a friend who saw this post from a lady who worked in hospice. She talked about the 5 regrets from the dying and the one fits perfectly here: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me". So many live a life of what others feel they should do or are expected to do and then they have these negative and sad feelings. Many people will try to undermine your beliefs or ways and the most courageous is to live the life you want...and you are doing it. Good for you to post your views! The others who judge....should learn to live their own life and just go away:)

  12. Oh my goodness!! I agree 100% with what you have said. I was let go from my job almost two years ago and have been a SAHM ever since. It is hard. Very hard. I love how people assume since you stay home you watch TV all day, go on lunch dates, sleep in, play with the kiddos all day, talk on the phone, shop, etc. The reality is I NEVER wake up and go to bed on the same day. NEVER. Since I am home I feel a need to have the house cleaned, meals cooked, we homeschool so papers graded, help my husband with his business, take my mom to her appointments. I usually go to bed around 2-3am, wake up at 7:30 and start all over again. I have NEVER been this tired. I was just offered a job with an amazing company and I snatched it up. For me, working is also a choice. I see that as MY time alone to myself, my chance at grown up conversation and dare I say it, lunch dates! And the bonus is that I will be bringing home a nice income, contributing to my family resources and hopefully we will enjoy and appreciate my days off much more than we do now. 5 days off a year...that's pretty tight. This company starts off with 32 days a year, but that includes your sick time as well. My husband is a jeweler and I hear all the time, "Well, I'm sure you don't HAVE to work..." It's true, I don't. But I WANT to and that is something that should be respected.

  13. Came here from Kelly's Korner,and you stated it perfectly!! Thanks!!

  14. Thank you for your post! I, too, am a working mom and I love my job as a nurse! I get asked all the time if I stay home and when I say no, they give me this look of judgement. I totally agree with everything you wrote. I wish I could print your post out and hand it out to everyone!

  15. Great post! Exactly what I was thinking and posted about...but KUDOS to you for writing it better than I did! :)

  16. This is absolutely PERFECT! Thank you!!

  17. I like how you pointed out that it is perfectly normal for a husband to stay at home too, I actually have several friends whose husbands have taken on the job of being full time daddy all day and love it. I know men who can't stand to be away from their children for even 24 hours and i suspect that a lot more men would want this than we know because it simply isn't accepted. My husband and I have this conversation all the time, he couldn't stay at home, he is very career driven and competitive and his personality wouldn't be a good stay at home dad. I on the other hand is far from this way at all and initially wanted to stay at home for 1 year (because that is the norm in norway with maternity leave) but have found now that 2-3 years is much more fitting, this of course isn't as accepted at home and much more criticized than those mothers who go back to work (deviating from the norm and all). I have gotten comments of the other sort as to how am i going to financially support myself and that I am loosing out on retirement and all that. Which is a valid concern for some SAHMs, but you just have t be aware of those problems and if you truly regard your marriage as a team effort and share money and responsibilities then it shouldn't be a problem I think. Of course right now none of us are making money and we are both in school,with me at home. And we decided to have me go back to school because if he is going into JAG then we will be moving everywhere and all over for the next few years and there wouldn't be much of a job for me to make a career in anyways, so in the meantime I might as well get more education. ok now I am just rambling...those are just my thoughts about all of this:) I did however read a study that said the happiest moms overall-generalizing- are those that work part time and that I can believe because you can get the best of both worlds.

  18. I found your blog from Kelly's Korner and I just wanted to say this is a great post! I'm a working mother and I have definitely felt both judged (you don't want to stay home?) and pitied (you can't stay home?) for my decision, which is one that my husband and I made together and that I'm really comfortable and happy with. Thanks for writing this!