Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Girl Talk--The Mom/Work Situation

When I first had JaiseAnn, I thought I would return to work. I felt I had to return to work. When she was born, I couldn't handle it. I felt like I could not leave her. I prayed for part-time work or an option to stay home. Both came my way, but I chose to work from home a little to make ends meet, and my husband working a lot more.

In my mind, I ran through my day and life as a teacher and tried to blend it with my life as a mom. I was already overwhelmed just thinking about it. Staying home would be ideal. But I was home without working for over three months with JaiseAnn while I was on leave and that presented it's own set of challenges. Now that I'm working from home (which I initially thought was the "perfect solution") I can say that none of the solutions are "perfect." At least not for me.(For more on my decision to stay home see here).  They all seem to come with their own set of challenges and benefits. No matter what women choose, they still have to prioritize and nobody can do it all. The purpose of this post is to bring women together in this endeavor rather than divide them by their working status as a mom. 

This is a sensitive topic for some women and that's why I chose to take a more holistic approach and cover all bases with the different situations. It is also why I specifically chose Lauren to cover the working mom situation. I know there are a lot of working moms who do not want to work and wish they could stay home. Lauren is happy with her situation and is very fulfilled as a working mom, as you can read below and in her posts on her blog (links below).

Meet Laura--A Work from Home Mom


 What led you to make the decision to ________(work from home, stay at home, work out of the home). What factors did you consider? 

 I commuted at least one hour each way to work each day. Sometimes, I'd get home as late as 7:00/7:15. That was too long a time for me to be away from my child. When my boss offered the option to work from home, I jumped on it, and vowed to make it work. Had that not been an option for me, I probably would have looked for some sort of part-time work closer to home. My husband and I had long discussed the fact that when we had kids, we would try very hard to make sure I was home with them at least part-time. That had always been something I wanted very badly for me and my family.

What is the most challenging thing about _______(staying home, working from home, working out of the home).

 My answer to this probably has changed every three months, and will continue to change over the course of the next few years. In the beginning, it was hard because it was winter, I had a newborn, I was working from home, and I felt like I never left the house. Now, I have an extremely mobile child who needs to really be watched constantly, which presents its own new set of challenges. Some days, work isn't too busy for me, but then all of a sudden I'll get asked to do a project or make some phone calls and my day gets completely shifted in that direction whether Natalie is cranky/teething/happy/crying/whatever mood she's in. 

I also don't feel like I ever get a break. When she finally goes down to bed between 8 or 8:30 each night, it's not usually "Oh good, now I can relax" it's "ok...time to do some work for 3 hours before bed" I miss reading books for pleasure!

 What is the greatest benefit of __________(working out of the home, working at home, staying home)? 

 None of these choices are easy, each come with their fair share of bumps. An area I struggle with is time management and getting things done. How do you manage your time in your situation?

I don't know what I would do if my Mother-in-law didn't live around the block from me. I've finally resigned to the fact that I have her at my disposal and I need to utilize her to help me out. I've been asking her for help more than ever lately, and it's taken a lot of the pressure off of me. I know it's not for everyone, but having family close by, that you trust, and can rely on, has been extremely valuable to me.

When/if she's not around, I just try to do what I can during naps and after bedtime. Wear her in a sling, put her in the high chair with some cheerios while I sweep the floor, play in her crib or the 



Meet Lauren--A Working Mom


What led you to make the decision to ________(work from home, stay at home, work out of the home). What factors did you consider?
Truthfully, the initial decision to work outside of the home wasn't really a decision - the position my husband and I are in truly required me to work. Chris is working full time as well as going to school full time and my job provides Chris was a 50% tuition reduction. So, as soon as I got pregnant I knew I would be returning to work. At first, I was disappointed by this but after spending a few months at home I realized that I really crave the interactions and satisfaction that comes from employment outside the home.

 What is the most challenging thing about _______(staying home, working from home, working out of the home)?
 There are pros and cons to every choice and this is especially true about working outside of the home. There are a lot of little things I'm bummed about missing - for instance, Brielle's caregivers told me she said "Buh Bye" the other day and I haven't heard that yet so I was sad to miss it. But THE most challenging things is the amount of sicknesses Brielle has gotten. I swear, we don't go one full month without some kind of illness. I'm trying to look at the bright side and say that it will help build her immunities and also remind myself that even babies that stay home get sick but when it is 3am and she is running a fever I can't help but blame her daycare.

What is the greatest benefit of __________(working out of the home, working at home, staying home)? 
There is obviously the monetary incentive but beyond that I feel like I'm nurturing who I am as an individual in addition to who I am as a mother. The job satisfaction I have is amazing; maybe if I didn't love my job this wouldn't quite count but I take a lot of pride from my work and feel a lot of joy about my performance and successes.

None of these choices are easy, each come with their fair share of bumps. An area I struggle with is time management and getting things done. How do you manage your time in your situation?
I know I can't do everything 100% and if I remember that I remember that I have to make priorities and stick to them. Date night with Chris trumps time alone. Playing with the baby trumps cleaning the house. Working trumps blogging. But, like any normal person, I still want to blog, I still want to keep my house clean, I still want time alone. For that, I use help. Chris is a great husband and a great father and a GREAT team player - he will help with house chores, watch Brielle if I want to attend the temple, and doesn't get too annoyed when I blog while Brielle naps. I honestly couldn't juggle all that I do if it weren't for Chris.

Posts on this topic by Lauren:


Meet Tanika-A Stay at Home Mom

What led you to make the decision to ________(work from home, stay at home, work out of the home). What factors did you consider? 

I knew I was going to stay at home with Gracie, because to be frank, we couldn't afford for me not to stay home. The cost of daycare would eat up anything I would make at the time. 
But also, my husband and I both know how important it is to be around your children as much as you can be. How important it is for the mother to be with her children. 
We both know how important motherhood is and I am grateful for his appreciation that makes it easier on me to stay home!

 What is the most challenging thing about _______(staying home, working from home, working out of the home)?

I would say the hardest thing is you know that for however many hours the safety and well-being of your child is solely on you. It's a lot of responsibility and completely overwhelming sometimes. 

What is the greatest benefit of __________(working out of the home, working at home, staying home)? 
I have been able to be there for every bump, bruise and every milestone. I have seen her take her first steps, I have seen her roll-over. I witnessed all of her firsts. I have been with her more than any other person in this world and I am immensely grateful for that. 

None of these choices are easy, each come with their fair share of bumps. An area I struggle with is time management and getting things done. How do you manage your time in your situation?

I think that most important thing is to create a schedule and stick to it as best as you can. I will wake up about an hour before Grace, and get myself and breakfast ready, then she comes in and we eat breakfast together. Then we get her dressed and usually we will go outside and play till lunch. Then it's lunch and nap-time. She wakes up and we do speech therapy for a bit, then she has playtime in her toy room while I do stuff around the house and start dinner. Dinner. Bath time. Prayers. Bed. 

A lot of days it doesn't work out exactly as I planned, but in those moments, I remember "Life is made in plan B!" (especially life with children) I try to remember that you can plan all you want to, but really, having kids is a roller coaster and you just have to go with the flow sometimes!




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