Mothers Speak: Working Moms

{image via 1987 comedy film Baby Boom}

I met a woman and her son on the playground yesterday. While her 10-month-old dangled like an overstuffed pinata on the beginner swing, we made small talk as we pushed our boys back and forth… answering a few getting-to-know-you questions in perfect rhythm with swing’s movement. I learned quickly that she is a single, working mom and business owner who recently relocated to Charlotte to be near family so they can help with the little muchacho while she travelled as a wine importer. I always though that having your own business and working from home would be the ideal scenario…a diapered munchkin underneath the table tickling your toes while you sat in your designer pjs drinking coffee, poring over creative project boards and determining your monetary worth with the stroke of a computer key. In reality, the little one underneath the table is hollering because he’s now tangled in the chair leg. Your designer pjs are actually Target flannels that shrunk in the wash revealing your ankles and the coffee…. well, in all the commotion, it somehow overturned onto your project board which was nothing more than illegible scribblings on one of yesterdays used paper napkins. It is a rare occasion that I can have an uninterrupted phone chat with my mother while the kids are awake, much less have a professional conversation with a client. If you are a mom who works from home, I’d love to know how you do it without duct taping their little mouths shut.

The other option is to work outside the home. But…. wait for it…. here it comes…. the heaping side order of guilt. I knew it had to be around here somewhere. That is why I started the “Mothers Speak” series in the first place… to address the growing trend among moms who live under the guilt cloud be it just a mist or an ominous, looming thunderhead that hovers and brings with it that elephant-on-your-chest feeling that we are inevitably, albeit unknowingly, doing wrong by our children. Is it possible for a mom to prioritize her family while entertaining a job or a career? How does a woman, such as myself, reconcile a traditional set of values {mom stays at home and raises the kids while dad brings home the bacon} when faced with the reality that the family requires she too make some kind of financial contribution? Its one thing if my ankles are showing. I can deal. It is however completely unacceptable if I see the kids ankles peeking out of their pjs.

“Mothers Speak” is meant to be a discussion forum, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. I realize this is a tender topic for some. I know it is for me. Feel free to offer up any thoughts, encouragements, and personal experience.

Those of us with cold ankles are listening.

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa said,

    June 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    As a mom who has done both, I find my personality suits a part time out of the home job best. I enjoy time to myself probably too much, and though I used to feel guilty about that, I realized I’m too grouchy to be a great fun mommy when I don’t get a break… And, the financial benefit for our family having two incomes means we don’t get quite as stressed about money and bills.

  2. Sarah said,

    June 3, 2011 at 1:09 am

    As a new mom who only returned to her full time job a month ago, I can tell you that the anticipation and thought of returning to a job outside the home is far worse than actually returning to work. I cried for weeks leading up to my return…a lot! The guilt of feeling as though I was abandoning my baby was almost too much to handle. We’ve both adjusted fine and the smiles I receive when we’re reunited everyday makes it worth it. Maybe we all run out of clean socks every now and then or eat cereal for dinner once a week, but I’m okay with that knowing that making a financial contribution to my family is better for us in the long run.


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