The great mother debate

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blair's/My first day of school

A friend was watching my kids the other day while I attended a meeting. She asked if I had always worked (outside the home) My answer was no and then it quickly changed. I said that I guess I had, almost realizing for the first time that I seemed to have always kept a part-time job, noting only a few years here and there when I didn't. It's always seemed so automatic that maybe I had forgotten.

I worked full-time about 8 weeks after Charley was born and up until she was 4 years old. I loved my job and looked forward to work everyday. I considered myself lucky that I didn't find it drudgery. My mom lived with us so she made it easy for me to work and not worry about my girls at home.

But as with anything, change happens. The company was in turmoil after the owners began in-fighting and throwing lawsuits at each other. So ultimately it wasn't fun anymore and the time came to move on so I thought it was the perfect time to have another baby.

I continued with a part-time job just up until we welcomed the baby. I enjoyed the break from work and was loving life with 3 little ones. Jon received a transfer to Washington DC so he flew back and forth every few weeks to see us. When the time came to join him, I realized the cost of living between Utah and DC was not going to let me sleep so I went back to work when Reese was a year old. It wasn't at the same level as before but I always thought that anything to boost your resume or keep the skill set fresh was good.

People often talk about the guilt associated with mothers who work full-time and to make it a balancing act. Worried that I was missing the good mother chip because I didn't feel guilty, I was always hesitant to say that I really liked to work outside of the home. I usually kept silent on the subject because I lived in both worlds and enjoyed them each. I remember being hammered by one person about it after she went on and on about "working" mothers and how they should be home, knowing full well I was working 9-5 in an office.

I finally just said that I liked my job which was the first time I heard myself say it openly, outside of my personal thoughts. Maybe I could say that more easily because I have been lucky in finding jobs that worked around kid's schedules, even taking some where I work in the middle of the night so that I can be available for them in the day. Although I don't recommend that because it is a zombie-like existence.

This balance stuff that is talked about too - for me it's rubbish. I wouldn't say I am balanced at all, anywhere. But you have to go into it knowing something will give and you have to be OK with that. I also think you can choose what gives and I choose everything but family life, kids and my relationship with the hubster and it seems to work.

I've made mistakes along the way, still am, but I learn and am quick to forgive myself knowing that the Lord knows why I work and He is really all I have to answer to.

Why all this? Well, it's just been on my mind for the last however many years, so maybe it's something you're thinking of as well?

I'd like to know your thoughts. Even if they differ from mine, I enjoy hearing them. Selfish purposes I guess, I like to learn something new.

Friday Finds on Monday - hint: charming finds.


  1. I haven't worked outside the home since my oldest was a year old. She just started college this fall. I love being a full-time mom, though there are days I want to pull my hair out. I feel blessed that I haven't been forced to work, but I do find myself wondering on occasion if I shouldn't pick up a little part-time something. I'm amazed how you do it, though. I feel like I never get everything done that I want or need and I don't have the demands of outside employment. I guess it's like you said, you go in knowing that there are certain things that have to go and just plan on them going. If you feel ok about working, then go for it. I may join you or head back to school one of these days. Until then, that's the part of my life that needs to go and I'm ok with it.

  2. This has been on my mind. I've never worked since I've had kids, but now I'm looking into going to nursing school. It is a debate in my mind and your experience has been helpful. You have an incredible, well-rounded family and lots of kids. That's what I want.

  3. I was able to stay at home for many years and enjoyed that immensely.
    Unfortunately, life and it was necessary for me to work.
    I loathe the self righteous attitude of so many that have been so hurtful concerning this issue.

    I work hard and we try to be very self sufficient. It ticks me off when I work and we have health insurance and NO big toys and yet I take care of so many in the ER who brag about being at home mothers and yet have welfare and medicaid and fancy fingernails and SUV's.
    I need to shut up now.

  4. Such a good subject. My kids are 14, 11, and 6. So I have no babies anymore but they still need me there. But my mom worked and I turned out pretty darn good. It's a very personal decision. Sometimes it is a need and there is nothing you can do about it, and sometimes it is something you need to do simply for you and it is right. But no one should ever judge.

  5. I'm a stay at home mom and wish that I could work. Hubby is a boilermaker and he does contract jobs so his schedule is so different all the time so I can't work. But what I wouldn't give to work. I love being able to see my kids grow up, but I miss having a life outside the house. I feel like I've lost myself as a woman and am only a mom. When I say that, people look at me like I'm crazy and then proceed to tell me how lucky I am and how good I have it. I always just say that it takes a true woman to admit what she feels! LOL Gotta laugh it off sometimes. I think it's good thing to have such a balance in life. I'm jealous! LOL :)

  6. Shannon - I love that the working outsidr of the home is the part of your life that needs to go,( so you can be home) wonderful!

  7. Carrie,
    There is never anything wrong with an education and motherhood. You would make such a great nurse! And even if you didn't start working right away, it's the best field to get into for job security. My friend Janet was a nurse and is now in the administration side of things for the trauma care for the Univ of Utah and she loves it, and has 3 great kids and a great husband too.

  8. G of E,

    Life got life-ish for us too, every few years it seems so you gotta do what you gotta do! We have no extras and I wonder how all those people do it!

  9. Lourie,
    You're right the kids still need you there, maybe even more so now! And no one should really even care if someone works. If I could get paid to stay home, I mean I do - but I mean, stay home and do mom work, I would prefer it! But my mom work doesn't pay some bills - boo.

  10. Kim,
    I understand those feelings too. The grass is always greener it seems but there is merit to finding something personal to do so you don't "lose" yourself. I'll be brainstorming something you could do around your husband's tricky schedule!


Let's hear what you have to say