Thoughts From a Soon To Be Working Mom

I've been thinking about writing this for a few days now, but I haven't because I know it's a touchy subject for many people. It's a touchy subject for me and I'm afraid of judgement, criticism, sympathy, and offending someone. The last thing a working mom wants to hear is "I don't know how you do it. I could never work". I promise that doesn't make anyone feel good. You would work if you needed to. I doubt the majority of working moms do it because they just love it so much more than spending time with their kids. We do it because it's what we feel is best for our families.

I know people that live off of one income equal to mine or Mark's and they still have a house in a safe neighborhood, go on vacation, drive a dependable car, etc.... I seriously don't know how it's done though. I tell myself they either have a lot of help from their parents or they are swimming in debt. Perhaps they are just better at budgeting than we are? It's important to me that we avoid being in debt, have a savings account (that isn't empty), travel once in a while, and that we are comfortable and not stressed about being able to pay our bills. I definitely do not think any child out there is happier because they had more "things" and less time with their parents, but I want Beckett to be able to experience things, go places, play sports, ski, have good health care, and I don't want to have to depend on other people to make that happen. At what point does the benefits of being financially comfortable outweigh the benefits of staying at home?

There are other options. Mark and I could try to have alternating work schedules, or Mark could look for a part time job on top of his already very busy full time job. Some people do that, but I don't know that it's worth it to me. I love the fact that we will have every night and every weekend together as a family. But again, at what point does the benefits of having time together as a family outweigh the benefits of one parent always being at home?

I have so many emotions when I think about returning to work, but if there is one that sums it up it's guilt. Guilt that I'm leaving my baby. Guilt that some days I can't wait to get back to work. Guilt I'll probably feel when I'm at work and I'm not giving it my all because I'm thinking about being home with my son. Guilt when I'm at home because I'm thinking about what is going on at work. I have days that seem like nothing but a blur of spit up on sweat pants, diaper changes, and nursing endlessly that I can't wait to get back to work. Then I have times that the thought just brings me to tears.

I've said this before.... I love my job. I can't imagine a better job for me and I can't imagine a better job for a working mom. The only problem is it will be "perfect" in 5 years once he is in school and our schedules will always be the exact same. Until then it's going to be hard, but it's not an opportunity I want to pass up.

One thing that puts my mind at ease is the fact that he won't be at daycare, but he'll be spending 4 days a week with a good friend of mine whose daughter goes to my school. Fridays my Mom will come to our house and he gets to spend the day with Grandma. He will always be in good hands getting lots of love and attention! Then I'm done at 4:00 and the rest of the day is ours.

As you're growing up you always think that adults have it together and they know what's best. Now that I am an adult and a parent, I'm realizing that no one really has any idea what they're doing. We're all just trying to do the best we can! Like any parent I want to do what's best for my family, my son, and for me. I want to give him the best life possible, but I'm still learning and figuring it out.


BetsyDixon said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are the only one who knows what is best for your family - and it certainly sounds like it. I'm a working mom - I now have teenagers but I have worked since they were 6 months old. We needed a little extra pay & frankly I needed a little time that was solely mine. I know I am a better mom because I work. But I get the guilt thing. Know your children will be phenomenal people. They will be loved by so many people around them. I love the confidence boost that gives my gang!! Thanks again for sharing.

Chaton Turner said...

I returned to work when my daughter was 3.5 months old. And it was tough. Being away from your baby, being pulled in many directions, being sleep deprived and trying to work AND breastfeed is not for the faint of heart. Still there are benefits from working beyond financial (although, as the primary breadwinner I couldn't afford to quit anyway). Those benefits involve the self-improvement and gratification that comes from work and getting relief from the housework. It seems selfish, but it's true. I also think that it's important for children to know that both parents contribute financially lest one parent become more highly valued. Working FT is the tough part for me, but working is not. If I had the option at work to work a more flexible schedule I would jump at it. Here's to dreaming... :-)

Leslee said...

Thanks for sharing. I return back to work full time on second baby boy will be three month's only harder the second time :-) kind of dreading it...ok completely dreading it. But like you said, we just do our best. Good luck to you. And don't tell your self you won't cry....just embrace the fact that you will the first day....or week.... :-)