“I thrive at being a working mom.”
This post, part 2, aims to tell you the why. Why I believe working is best for me and my family.
After reading my story, you might be thinking that being a working mom sounds like it takes a lot of effort- and it certainly does.
So why do I feel so strongly that being a working mom is the best thing for me?
Let me start by being selfish and admitting that the main reason has to do with me.
First and foremost, I [on most days] love my job.
While I missed my child dearly when I went back to work the first time, it felt so good to be myself and interact with other adults. I started to feel human again: taking showers in the morning, putting on makeup, sipping my coffee in peace, making small talk, getting to eat lunch at a regular time, etc.
Being at home is tough – there are some moments where the kids are playing nicely and I can glance at my phone or pour myself a cup of coffee.
But most of the time?
The kids are fighting over the same toy, even though they have a million toys in a bucket beside them. I’m trying to simultaneously be the “firm, but gentle” mom with my discipline techniques and keep the house from becoming a complete warzone. “Purple People Eater” is playing on repeat on the stereo until my brain feels like jello. I’m trying to remember if we had breakfast this morning, and at the same time, I’m wondering where the cat is because I didn’t realize the older kid opened the front door 5 minutes ago…
Being at work gives me a break and allows me to have quality time for myself. It also helps me be a more patient mommy because I appreciate the time we have together that much more.
Working provides me with the balance I need in life.
I felt like my life centered around my babies after they were born as I cared for them throughout the newborn stage. But as babies grow up, they need their independence starting at a young age.
As a mom, I needed to make sure that as my children slowly gained freedom, that I started to regain aspects of “me” – the part of myself separate from my children: my career, my relationship with my husband, my social life, etc.
While my children are an incredibly wonderful and important aspect of my life, they are not the center of everything.
Also important to me are things like my husband, my family, my friends, hobbies, and also my work life. My career, which I spent years preparing and educating myself for, stimulates me intellectually and allows me to continue to develop as a person, apart from my children.
I believe that my working (and therefore my small absence) benefits my kids socially as well.
My daughter, who is watched by family at this age, gets dedicated one-on-one time and teaching from a different perspective than mine.
At preschool, my son gets interaction with his peers and educators that I alone would be unable to provide to him. I love sneaking into his school and to find him laughing and playing with his friends, discovering how to problem solve, and learning how to behave in an educational setting by listening to and following directions.
I find that after my son turned 2, providing enough stimulation for him at home was very challenging – he naps better now and is often happily exhausted at the end of the day. Plus, he’s learning faster than ever before – his ABCs, numbers, and colors.
I love the example that being a working mom sets for my children.
For my daughter, I am showing her that women really can accomplish anything and have it all. I work in the sciences – and being that it is currently a male-dominated field, I love being that role model for her.
Additionally, by working I am showing my son that family roles are not assigned by gender and everyone is responsible for taking care of both the home and family.
A 2015 study (well, a social study) from Harvard Business School reported that “women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time. Men raised by working mothers are more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members.” Hearing things like that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and reinforces the belief this is best for my family.
Even though we spend hours apart throughout the week, I still feel very close to my children.
In fact, I believe working allows me to feel even closer to both my husband and children. It grants us the opportunity to become the best version of ourselves by allowing us to grow as individuals as well as a family.
The time we spend together is very special and the time apart allows us to all be more rested, calm, and appreciative.
So that why I feel working is best for my family. Want to hear the other side? Read why Rachel feels staying at home makes her a better mom.