It’s no secret that working moms often feel guilty for one reason or another, whether it’s wondering if you’re away too much or if loving your job more than staying at home makes you a bad mom. Some handle it better than others. I handle it, but not always very well. I feel torn between what I must do and what I want to do.
From the beginning I struggled with returning to work after maternity leave. I do very much enjoy my job and I’m good at what I do. But, what fuels my soul is writing, and I can do that anytime, anywhere, and even with a tiny persistent hand tugging at my sleeve. So, if given the choice of being a stay-at-home mom (or rather, a work-at-home mom) over returning to the office, the choice for me is clear: I’ll stay at home, please and thank you.
Alas, staying at home full time isn’t feasible from a financial stand-point; at least not right now or not until my paper-backed ship comes in, and believe me I’m trying. Someday…
I’ve been lucky with the flexible work options I’ve been afforded with the provincial government, like a 4-day work-week, working from home one day a week, and working outside typical hours to accommodate my commute and bus schedule. Pretty lucky, right? Sure, but there are always trade-offs. All the perks in the world can’t make being treated poorly ok. Without going into great detail, inter-office conflict is very demoralizing. Being unhappy makes leaving Meebs each day even more difficult. I’ve always said if I must work outside the home then I need to at least enjoy what I’m doing so it doesn’t feel like punishment. So, what’s a working mom to do? Do I choose to lose those much-loved Mondays off with Meebs and find a full-time job where I’m valued, or do I stick it out and feel bad about myself 4 days of the week. Choosing to leave feels like I’m choosing ME over Meebs.
After some soul-searching and much needed reassurance and advice from my two long-time career mentors, I came to the realization that I will be a better mom if I’m happy all the time instead of just 3 days a week, and being a productive, successful working mom gives Meebs a positive role model.
I recently received an offer from another Ministry—they were impressed and really wanted me to join their team, so much so that I’m able to keep my off hours and work-from-home option. I won’t have Mondays off anymore, so I lose a little time with Meebs, but in return I am joining a team that already seems to value me and my work. Plus, several of my coworkers-to-be are breastfeeding moms with babies in the same age-range as Meebs. I’m looking forward to being in the company of others who not only understand the struggles of a working mom, but are living them along side of me.
Oddly enough, I’ll be a Strategic HR Planner, focusing on employee engagement. Not only is this an area that I love to work in, but I’m a poster-child for being the orchestrator for self engagement in the workplace. I guess it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. I just needed the courage to take a leap of faith that things would work out.
I’d really like to know how other working moms are fairing out there. What’s your tug of war entail?