So we’ve talked about the big “question” in Part 1. But more than priorities and finances, what about our emotions? I feel like this aspect gets ignored in most discussions about working because we’re too busy fighting about which is better and which is worse and where the “super mom” lies in the mix. But let’s set aside the competition and be honest. Any decision is going to be a tough one. Any decision is going to have its challenges. Any decision is going to have opposition. So what is the decision that we want to make?
This past week I had to work a 50hr week at a job I absolutely love for a company that I adore. It was way more hours than I normally work, but even working part time I’ve had the same struggles. Too tired to truly enjoy my kids, too grumpy to be a happy, enjoyable person. Both staying at home and working away are exhausting positions, but I would rather be exhausted from living life with my kids than away. Everyone seems to think that working is great for me since I need a “break” from my kids (especially with 3 special needs kids, oh and homeschooling them, oh and as a single mom). And, yes, I need a break at times, but not an 8-13hr/day break. A trip to Starbucks and shopping at Target alone would do just fine! By the end of the week my kids were behaviorally acting out, clingy and emotional, and crying for me not to go to work the next day. And I laid in bed crying too because I missed them. Luckily, I had made the decision before I took this job that I would work around my kids and not my kids around my work. I had prepared for this one crazy, hectic, long opening week knowing that the weeks that followed would be spent much differently.
The comparison. Which is more demanding: working or motherhood? This is really just a chicken vs. the egg thing. Do not just get a job thinking that it will make life “easier”. Can we squash that myth? Since when does adding something that takes even more hours out of a day that already doesn’t seem to have enough make life easier? You can deal with your children or you can deal with clients and employees/employers and whomever else you come into contact with in the professional world (and a lot of them will actually act like children). You can spend hours dealing with toddler discipline problems, teenage drama, and not peeing alone, or you can spend your day dealing with adult discipline problems, office gossip drama, and not being able to pee at all. Since I’ve worked in several different fields (childcare, real estate, banking, salon management, and marketing) I feel I can safely say that it is not just one particular field that has these issues. It may look different than motherhood, and someone that has held a career long before having children (like most working moms have) will probably fall into a false sense of comfort in their work environment when faced with the new, unknowns of parenting (yeah going back to work seemed much easier than figuring out what to do when motherhood didn’t exactly look like I thought it would!), but both are pretty packed with the same obstacles hiding under a different set of clothes (yoga pants vs a pants suit, obviously).
There are days as a SAHM you will want to stab your eyes out with a blunt object and hide in a closet eating chocolate. You will feel like a failure, you will cry yourself to sleep (and your kids will too), and you will think you have made the wrong decision. You will have the same exact days as a working mom. So how will you know you have made the right decision? The only real answer is just making sure it is a decision that you have personally made, that you have carefully thought out, and that you can stick by it. That’s all you can do. Realize that you are never stuck in your situation and that life can change from moment to moment. Just because you are a SAHM today doesn’t mean you can’t become a working mom tomorrow and vice versa. The only title you’re stuck with is mom. Whatever titles you add on top of that are up to you. So, how do you make it all work? We will find out…
The series will continue tomorrow! What do you think about the work or not to work dilemma?