Tuesday, January 7, 2014

From Mom Work to Mom + Work

This week, I started a part-time (10ish hrs/wk) job, with the potential for additional hours/responsibilities. The challenge for me is that we aren't sending Hayley to a daycare or parent's morning out program. The morning out program may eventually come to pass, but for now, I am still staying home with her for financial and logistical reasons. Also, she can be pretty fun to hang around with.

The great thing about the new role is the ability to work any hours, from home. That said, I am feeling the challenge of balancing play time, work time, other work (additional side project) time, house duties time, meal time, errand time, and oh yeah, maybe me time. With everything else we have going on (more on this later this week), it is definitely filling my plate. Lucky for me, I love a good challenge.

I posted this article on Facebook this week. It's a fantastic (and quick) read. I encourage you to take a few moments to look at it. But, if you don't, the gist is the author working through "owning" being a mom. Just a mom. Because as progressive as we like to think we are as a society, there is still a stigma around staying home with your kid(s). My good friend, Niki, did her master's thesis on women opting-out of the workplace (taking a break to focus on family). Bug her for a summary of her paper and results...maybe an upcoming post for The Take3??

Anyway, when you do choose to be a parent at home, it is an emotionally taxing decision. As is choosing to work. I don't want to marginalize either choice, so I'm just focusing this post on the choice to stay home. But, both choice deserve equal respect. For me, it was incredibly challenging to find an internal justification for staying home. Even though I worked remotely (mostly from home) for 18 months before Hayley came along, dropping the external work role felt...awkward. Almost wrong. I kept a side work project as a contractor, partly to give my mind a reason to stay sharp in the working world, and partly to feel like I was still contributing, both to the workforce and to the household income.

The thing is, I was trying to justify a decision we made. I know I don't watch TV, binge on junk food, and shop all day. My family knows it. My mommy friends know it. But, I still felt the need to justify what I was doing, if only for myself. The article really speaks to me in needing to completely dedicate myself to my mommy role. Because it is my full time job. The difference is I know the employers pretty well and I don't have a blood-pressure-skyrocketing commute. Sure, the pay is pretty awful, but I've had jobs on the outside that weren't all the great in the check department.

Maybe it would have been easier to own if I had interviewed with my husband and a few other people. If I had prepared to discuss the ways in which I would enhance the organization and support my coworkers. If I had negotiated days off (really wish I had done that!). If I had waited to receive an acceptance email or call, welcoming me to the new position. Maybe then I would have mentally acknowledged this as a job. One that is recognized in the world, and one that I can claim at any event and in any group, without having to quickly say I also kept up my contracted clients. That I also volunteer. Yada, yada. My title could simply be Mom, and I would be okay.

My office/playroom (from Instagram...follow me here).
After much reflecting at onset of the new year, I truly can say I am proud of what my husband and I chose to do, and I am blessed we had the choice as an option. Sure, it's been unbelievably tough at times. But, all jobs have their challenges. Mine just has a way cuter boss. And better office. And stress-free commute.

So, even though I am adding more to my workload with a new job, it is really more for the mental sharpness, resume updates, personal passion, and bank account assistance reasons. I may not even mention it to every person who asks what I do (unless it helps the company to do so). Instead, I think I will say I started a small enterprise about 2 years ago, and for the past 15 months, I have been in charge of leading and shaping the primary product for future growth. While juggling day-to-day operations of the facility, balancing the budgets, vendor negotiations and ordering, and human resource functions. Or, I could just say I'm a mom.


  1. You had to mention the thesis didn't you! Ugggg... Seriously though balance is still a hard thing for me and I have been doing the mom thing for over 7 years. You are a fabulous multi-tasker and will figure out what works for you guys!