Friday, February 10, 2012

Show Us Your Life--Working Moms


Stay At Home Mom or Working Mom?

It doesn't matter. 

We're all in the sisterhood of being mothers so we should unite.  All mothers have the most important job in the world--raising our children.

I'm not going to go on and on about how my choice is the "right" choice.  I'll just say it was the right choice for our family, and as you all know, no families are alike.

So, Moms unite and let's learn from each other and encourage each other!

If you are visiting from Kelly's Korner, let me tell you a little about myself.  I've been a junior high history teacher for 11 years.  I've been happily married to Mark for 10 years and he's a teacher, too.  He teaches math and we work together at the same school.  Our boys are Will (5) and Ben (2.5).  Will was born in November during the middle of the school year and Ben was born in June at the beginning of summer vacation.  I wouldn't change a thing about when they were born.  It was perfect timing.

When we decided to start a family, I never considered being a stay at home mom.  I had always planned to go back to work full-time as a teacher, but my ideas about being a stay at home mom changed when I had Will.  You know if you're a mother that once the baby is placed in your arms your heart, soul and mind are changed forever.  Our lives suddenly revolved around this new person, and I completely forgot all of the other cares of the world.   My biggest concerns were my nursing schedule, dirty diapers, diaper rash and staring at our new baby for hours on end.  It was then that I thought it would be ideal to stay at home for the first year with my children, and then return to work after that.  I would have loved to have been at home to see my babies grow and change their first year.  I think it would have been ideal for practical reasons, too.  For example, nursing...moms out there who have pumped at work, I know you understand how much work that it is and what a commitment it is!  The reality of it all is that we don't live in a perfect world and me taking a year off wouldn't work for us.  If I took a year off, I wouldn't be guaranteed my teaching position and I truly like my job and didn't want to give it up.

I was fortunate to have about 10 weeks off with both of my little guys before I returned to work.  The biggest blessing that gave me peace of mind when I returned to work was that my mother-in-law kept the boys.  I'd often joke that they were better taken care of by her than me because she's such a natural with babies and children.  I was blessed to have my boys taken care of by a family member, but I know there are quality day cares out there who care for and nurture children, too.

I was nervous about going back to work, especially with Will.  Luckily when I returned to work the days went by quickly.  I also enjoyed being out of the house and talking with my co-workers.  In a way, my time apart from Will and Ben made me more appreciative of the time I get to spend with them.  The best part of my day is seeing my boys after school.  I love it when we go to pick them up after work and they  run up to us smiling and give us a big hug.

Mark and I value our weekends and make it a top priority to spend time together as a family.  Another bonus about our teaching schedule, is that Mark and I have a long Christmas break, Spring break and two and a half months off for summer vacation.  Will and Ben sort of have a stay at home mom and dad during the summer months, and we all love it!

Here are some struggles I face as a working mom. 

Balance
Oh, the balancing act of working full-time and raising a family!  If someone figures it all out please let me know ASAP!
My family is my top priority but it's a constant struggle to find enough time, energy and strength to love my husband and children, do a good job at work, fulfill responsibilities and commitments at church and maintain a house that's in some sort of order.

Housework
Being gone from the house 40 hours a week is demanding.  Finding time to keep a clean house is a constant struggle. 
When I was younger my wise grandmother told me something that's always stayed with me.  I didn't understand it at the time, but it makes perfect sense now.  I was telling my grandma about visiting some one's house and it was a mess.  (By the way, my grandma always kept a clean house.)  She told me, "Michele, when you work a full-time job and have kids, it's hard to keep a clean house."  I was young, naive and judgmental when we had that conversation years ago.  I'm thankful she called me out for my judgmental attitude and corrected me.  From her experience of working full-time and raising 4 boys she understood the struggle that working moms face. 
I'm very lucky to have a husband who helps out a lot.  Mark is great with laundry, unloads the dishwasher and helps with Will and Ben's bath and nighttime routine.  He makes my life so much easier.  Sorry if you're jealous, he's taken! 

Cooking
I like to cook and bake, but after a long day at work, I'm exhausted.  Coming up with healthy meals for my family is a challenge. And, don't get me started on the clean up after meal time. Ugh!

Me time
I know this might sound selfish, but I think many moms (myself included) are guilty of putting themselves on the bottom of the to-do list.  My blog is my "me time" outlet.  I started my blog in May 2010 when Ben was about to turn one.  Life with two little ones was starting to get easier.  The blogging community has encouraged and inspired me.  Now that the boys are older, I'm getting out more with the girls.  Also, Mark and I are able to spend time together as a couple.  Most importantly I'm able to focus more on personal growth and Bible study now that Will and Ben are older. 

Things that I think have helped me most as a working mom.

Remember that you can't be all things to all people.

Say no.

Ask for help if you need it.

Do the best you now how. (Thanks, Papa Ralph!)

Be in the moment.
Love this quote...
"Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things."

Remember the big picture.  

My ultimate goal in raising my children.
3 John 1:4 (NASB)
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.


These guys are the best!


6 comments:

  1. Love this! I'm so glad there are other working moms who feel the same as me.

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  2. That is so wonderful that your MIL has kept both boys. What a blessing. I give you so much credit. Staying home is HARD work, but I am not sure how I could balance work and then home. I admire all of my friends who have careers and families. What a great post! You wrote this so beautifully.

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  3. Visiting from Kelly's and I loved this post! I too have two boys, and my mother-in-law keeps them as well! I feel so blessed to have her. I could so relate to your struggles, I wrote a few helpful hints in my post, but I still don't the answers to balance, and a clean house and the never ending pile of dirty laundry!

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  4. Hi Michele and happy weekend to you!
    I really enjoyed reading this post my friend.
    I was nodding my head along throughout most of it.
    Even though I work just two days a week (almost 20 hours usually) I still feel like it takes me out of my home a lot and leaves me feeling behind on the cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and laundry doing, and it is hard to spread yourself so thin sometimes. I think we are all constantly working on finding a good balance.
    I love that you blog for you. I do too. I always say, I don't care if anyone reads my blog or not. It's for me. And for my girls to document our life, and so that they can read it one day and maybe learn more about what kind of a woman their mother was as a young mom.

    GREAT topic of discussion and I agree, Moms unite. We all have a tough job. :)

    ReplyDelete

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