One of the questions on the TodaysMama application that caught me by surprise, was to provide relevant background information about the topic I would like to write about. Choosing the topic was relatively easy, but geez why am I qualified? I’ve been a working mom since my daughter was born, so almost 10 years. I stayed home for 3 months, then went back to work part time.
While this seemed like a great idea, it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. My career suffered as I no longer wanted to travel, was afraid of what people would think of the bags under my eyes as I did an oral presentation, and felt unprepared to take on any challenges that might threaten my work-life balance, teetering as it was. On the home front I grew increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t keep the house cleaned, the laundry done and the baby entertained all in the same day (never mind entertaining myself which was also a challenge).
I didn’t fit in with the stay-at-home-moms, as they needed to plan play group around my work schedule (which they did, and I’ll be forever grateful). It was also difficult to leave work behind for a day, when I knew there was so much more that needed to be done. The computer screen peeking, no make that staring at me all day only served as a reminder that I could be working while the baby was napping. Am I really qualified if I felt like I wasn’t succeeding, and most of the time couldn’t give 100% to either side of the “balance?”
There were wonderful things about working part time too, like taking long hikes with my daughter in the backpack, showing her the blue sky, clouds, dogs and anything else we encountered on the trail. My husband was also working part time and so we both became familiar with the role of stay-at-home-parent, which I am thankful for to this day. Financially, the pro-rated healthcare expenses and holiday pay were balanced by (slightly) lower daycare costs. When the inevitable cold turned the girl’s smile to a frown, she usually had an extra day or two to rest before the inevitable return to daycare. And of course the time with my daughter which I loved.
Again, am I really qualified?
The other scary thought I had, what would I write about? Every working parent faces challenges and feels guilty, but in the end we all make it work because we have to. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to admit is that I’m not good at being a stay-at-home-mom. Through this admission came a learning process that I don’t have to be perfect at everything, and neither working nor staying home is best for everyone. So, I’ll cover the joys, the pride, the ups and the downs of being a working mom, and often how our weekends are very busy with activities, as I give the dad a break, and try to keep myself from going crazy.