Hi! Kiara here from The Buechler Heartbeat. Amanda asked me to write a bit about something her and I have in common. One thing we have in common is our toddlers were both born on the exact same day, but if you want to read about them, you'll have to check out most of the other posts on our blogs!
Today I am going to share a bit about my perspective on being a working mom.
I am finally getting around to writing this post after just completing a year long project my office has been working on. I worked from home this afternoon to finish it up, something I don't usually get to do, because I have been fighting a cold, so my boss said it was okay. My son, Dane, is upstairs napping, which is really the only time I can get work done when I am home, otherwise he is grabbing papers, trying to type, wanting to sit on my lap, etc.
My feelings about being a working mom have run the gamut from "This is the absolute worst thing ever, I just can't do it!" to "Look how great this is, I can do it all!" When I went back to work half time at eight weeks post partum, it was absolutely devastating. Starting when Dane was four months old, I started a normal schedule of four days a week, with Fridays off. When I use the phrase TGIF, I really mean it, I don't know how I would get by if I didn't have Fridays off, I would go crazy! I would say the intense yearning to be home with Dane didn't subside until he was a little over a year old.
It took a long time for me to get into a groove I was happy with in regards to work/family balance. for a long time, on weekdays, I would work all day, come home and do baby care until Dane went to sleep, then I would do housework until 9:30pm or so. I didn't spend much time blogging, or watching TV, and much of my Internet browsing was on my phone during breaks at work, or just in quick snatches of time at home. By the time I would get into bed at night, I would often feel bitter about how tired I felt from my "fifteen hour work day". Because unlike my SAHM counterparts, I had to do all the mommy/housewife duties like them, but squeezed into the evenings and weekends. My husband saved most of his housework duties for the weekends, so he would relax in the evenings when he wasn't working on grad school homework. And I was bitter that he didn't see how hard I was working during the evenings. On top of that, I was/still am dealing with the sadness of being away from my little man. I realized that being a SAHM had challenges of it's own, but it sure seemed to be much more ideal than being apart from my favorite little person in the whole world.
While I am at work, two days a week my mother-in-law watches Dane here at my house, he goes to my dear friend Kara's one day a week, and my sister comes here one day. It is so nice to have people I am so close to watching Dane, but at the same time it creates a whole other problem that people with kids in daycare don't have: what happens when a caretaker is sick/on vacation. My nephew has Cystic Fibrosis, and has spent some time in the hospital, so I had to figure out coverage for Dane's care. Also, whenever someone in our immediate family is sick, it is too risky having Charlie come to my house with my sister, so I have to figure out an alternative. My in-laws go on lots of vacations, so I have to find coverage for those days too. Chad is pretty good about trying to split the coverage duties with me if one of us has to stay home, but the stress of getting other coverage rests on me. My friend Michelle has covered for us a few times, which Dane loves because they always go do fun things.
As much as I appreciate having close family and friends watching Dane, the fact that I am not personally here taking care of him really bothers me. While they try to follow our philosophies on child rearing, they can't follow what we want all the time. There have been a few instances where I have said "What the heck were they doing???" or "Why in the world do they do things that way?" But in the end, I have to let it go, because they really aren't harming him in any way.
The biggest challenge is coming this next Wednesday, when we begin potty training Dane. I will be doing the first full day (schedule change at work to make this happen), the next day will be my sister, the third day will be my mom and sister tag teaming, then the two weekend days will be Chad and I. We are bound and determined to not use any diapers during these five days, and to be diaper free after that. I worry though, that the next week when things go back to our normal schedule it will be hard. My mother-in-law likes to take Dane out and about during the day, I hope she is prepared for possible accidents! I guess I am really going to need to stress no diapers, as I don't want to regress after the progress we make over the five days.
My latest mantra is that me working is what is best for my family's financial future, so I will keep working...for now. My husband is up for a possible big promotion at work, and he keeps saying he wants me to stay home if he gets it. It is very tempting. But then I think about how I've worked five years for a great employer, where I like what I am doing most of the time, and how in just a few short years I will be fully vested in my pension. We live what I would call a very comfortable lifestyle, and have been able to pay for some of my husband's grad school out of pocket. Ideally, I will keep working my current schedule, until we have another child. After that though, I would really like to cut back to a twenty hour work week, maybe a few seven hour days.
I do want to keep working though. For the most part, I like my job, and it is in a place where I can see myself staying for the remainder of my career. But I definitely don't see myself working full-time. I want to be there to take my kids to school, and to pick them up. I want to still be able to go to play dates on Fridays with my SAHM friends. I want the best of both worlds, a career as a mommy, and a career in HR. Both are satisfying, but in very different, very valid ways.
Thanks Kiara for such a great post.....some of these thoughts could have been taken right out of my own mind about being a working mom! Kiara is a hard-working, loving mom, so go check out her blog here. Her son Dane is adorable, and I love how open and honest Kiara is! Yay for bloggy friends ;)