I am a working mother. I provide for my family, especially right now, while my husband in unemployed. I was told by a few people when I was pregnant with Liam that I should stay home with him, because that’s what good mothers do, and I was going to “miss a whole lot if I worked”. My response (in a sarcastic way) was always, “I didn’t go through 4 years of hell to become a well-educated stay at home mom.” That, I felt, always hit my point home. Plus, these damn bills aren’t going to pay themselves! I LOVE my child, and I will kill you over my child, but I also like to work, and honestly, there are days that I don’t like Liam enough to want to stay home with the little tyrant. Here are some things that you need to remember, whether you’ve been a working mom this whole time, about to be a first time mom, or if you are switching from a SAHM to a working mom or vice-versa.
- Understand that you will miss things. But guess what?!?! They’ll continue to do those things over and over again, (like walking, talking) so you’re really not missing a damn thing. They’ll always be doing new and exciting things throughout their whole life, I mean, you do as an adult, right? RIGHT? If you have a family member watching your child through the day, make sure they know that you expect lots of pictures and videos to be taken. Make sure they have access to your digital camera. Trust me, you won’t miss everything. If you miss a few things, it will not be the end of the world. I promise.
- On the other hand, try to be as present as possible for important/special events. So your child’s day care is putting on a Mother’s Day tea? Go! Make time to enjoy these kind of moments with your baby. I don’t have a lot of PTO at work, but even if I am not getting paid, I’m not missing these special moments. I bet that the daycare gives you at least a week’s notice of any celebration that they are doing. I think that is more than enough time to be able to request off. If not, fake sick… Don’t act like you’ve never done it…
- Leave work at work. Easier said than done. Especially if you have to deal with assholes all day. All you want to do is vent and yell. Try to get it out of your system. Your child wants you undivided attention when you get home, until they go to bed. Wait to bitch then. Drink yourself into oblivion at that point; whatever you have to do, just be present for your kid for the few hours they have you in the evening. This makes more of an impact than you think. Don’t work on projects for work, either. That’s the main reason my husband quit his job. He wasn’t really “home” when he was home. It was aggravating.
- When you go to work, leave home at home. Do this, so you can fully concentrate on work, so that it’s done at the end of the day and you can go home at a decent time. See #3. If you’re focused on issues at home, etc, it makes for a very unproductive day, which will put even more stress on you, and then you aren’t able to enjoy that family of yours. Be present at work, and get that shit done!
- Never take the weekend for granted. DUH. You get two full days with your loves, so you want to make the best of them, even if you just stay at home. See my Pinterest board here for lots of fun things to do with your kiddos. These are the things they are going to remember.
- Be prepared. Illnesses, school closings, plenty of diapers, etc. Nothing puts a damper on plans like being unprepared. I’ve been there, where I didn’t pack enough diapers, wipes, bottles, etc. It’s pretty embarrassing and counter-productive. Illnesses that keep your kid out of daycare/school, also means a day out of work for you, Be prepared for that, so you can let your employer know ASAP that you will not be in for the day. Have a plan if there are closings due to weather, etc. If you’re lucky, you have a family member or close friend that can watch your child in such events. BE PREPARED. That’s all.
- You are no less of a mother that your SAHM counterparts. Sure, it would be nice to be at home with them (sometimes), but I couldn’t do it all the time. Some women are cut out for this, and some aren’t. I happen to be one that is not cut out for the job. But don’t ever feel guilty that you can’t be home with your kid. He’ll understand why you go to work one of these days, and he will be thankful that you did it all for him.
- You are no better than your SAHM counterparts. I commend any woman who can do this. Keeping the kids alive, cleaning the house, cooking, baking, and shit… Those can be pretty daunting tasks at times, and that sounds too much like work…
- Keep your child on a routine. Just because you have a crazy schedule, and can handle it (questionable), doesn’t mean your kid can. Keep them on a routine they know, and they’ll be all the more happier when they see you in the evenings, and the weekends. It’s amazing what a schedule can do, for sure. They like to know what is coming up next. It makes them feel safe.
- You are not the only working mother out there. You aren’t the only one sacrificing your time to take care of your family. And not every mother has the same problems as you. We are all fighting our own battles. It’s okay to admit failure. Just like it’s perfectly fine to brag when things go right. It’s life. And even bigger than that: it’s life; with a kid, a job, a mortgage/rent, car payment, spouse, family, etc. We’ve all got a lot of shit on our plates!
Whatever your situation, you shouldn’t have to feel “bad” for working. Feel blessed that you are able to work to provide for your family. And thrive in knowing that you do get to spend time with them. Some moms don’t have that luxury. Those bills are NOT going to pay themselves, and that college fund doesn’t grow on trees!!