I’m a working mom, and I love/hate it. My husband went back to school for a career change and is a full-time student, so staying at home with our daughter isn’t an option for me at this point. I don’t know if I would want to if it was. Like most other things about parenting, I’ve found the answer to the question to be complicated.
There are things I hate about being a working mom. I hate that I miss so much time with my daughter every day. The time together we have is quality time, but there’s something to be said about quantity of time, too. I hate that it’s so hard to get out the door in the morning and that I always feel like I’m rushing to get home. I hate that I don’t feel like I get enough time at work or at home. I hate that sometimes my daughter has to go to child care even when she’d rather be with me. I hate that I spend most of my life now feeling totally exhausted and like I’m not pulling my weight in any area of my life.
There are a lot of things I love about being a working mom though, too. I love that I’m setting an example for my daughter that a woman can have a career and a family. On days that I successfully balance it all, I feel like a superhero. I love that because we don’t have much time together, the time we do have always feels really special. I haven’t felt yet that I needed a break from being a mom. The upside to not having enough time together is that I can’t wait to see her at the end of the day and have to ease my foot off the gas pedal on my way to pick her up. I love that she’s being cared for in a positive environment by people experienced in early childhood education. We’re partners in her development and I think that she’ll be better off because of it. For myself, I love that I have the opportunity to interact with adults all day and still snuggle with my baby at night.
Right after Elliot was born, a friend gave me some advice as I was agonizing over the thought of returning to work. What if her teachers didn’t love her? What if she didn’t get enough attention? What if there were things that I didn’t like about her program? “It will be just fine,” she said. “Because it has to be.”
I don’t know if I would choose this if my family situation was different right now. To be honest, I haven’t allowed myself to explore that possibility because it isn’t a real possibility. I think that I probably would because most days, what I love about being a working mom outweighs what I don’t love.