Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Challenges faced by working moms
I'm curious, how many of my readers are working moms (working outside of the home), PT or FT, it doesn't matter?

What are the challenges that you face as a working mom?

There are times when I feel a bit isolated as a working mother. Many of my female friends are either women with no children or SAHM. And for some reason, it seems to me that many of the Bloggers that I read are SAHMs as well. So, I'd love to hear from some of the working moms out there.

Here are some of my challenges that I face as a working mom:

1. Guilt- I struggle with the guilt of not being at home with my child, for spending more time at work than with Snuggle Bug. Don't get me wrong, I have a good job. I work typically exactly 8 hours a day, rarely any overtime, and I don't have to take work home with me. I do have to travel about twice a year, but I'm allowed to invite my family to join me on my business trips and when we can afford it, I do that. But during the week, I often leave the house at 6:30 a.m. and get home at 3:30 p.m. Snuggle Bug goes to bed at no later than 7:30 p.m. in most cases, so that means I only get a maximum of 4 hours with him each weekday. For the 3 months that Snuggle Bug was in daycare (5-8 months old), I felt an enormous amount of guilt that a stranger was raising my child. I'm not saying daycare is evil, I'm saying that I struggled with feelings of guilt when Snuggle Bug was there. It didn't help that the daycare we picked turned out to be not so great.

2. Not enough hours in the day- After working 8 hours, I get home and I'm immediately on-duty with the care and entertainment of Snuggle Bug. I wouldn't have it any other way and I try really hard to devote my entire energies to Snuggle Bug when I get home from work until it's time for him to go to bed. But, if I get him to bed at 7:30 p.m., that leaves me about 3 1/2 hours time before I go to bed. Do I spend that time frantically cleaning the house, giving attention to my husband, or trying to find some relaxing time for myself? Let me just say that my house isn't as clean as it should be.

3. Jealousy- I think most of you know by now that Oronzo does contract work from home and cares for Snuggle Bug during the day while I'm at work. He does a fantastic job with this and I'm so thankful that this arrangement is working out for our family, but I have to be honest and say that there are times when I feel jealous that Oronzo's type of work allows him to be the SAH parent and mine doesn't. I know being a SAH parent isn't a cake walk, I understand that, but I also know that the rewards far outweigh the difficulty. Oronzo gets to take Snuggle Bug to swim lessons and story times, he gets to make new friends with the SAH parents out there, he gets to be the first to see and hear all the cute things that Snuggle Bug does (he's good about calling me to share those milestones). When school starts for Snuggle Bug, it'll be Oronzo that walks him to school and probably picks him up. He'll have more time to volunteer in the schools than I will.

4. Fear- I fear at times that I'm not doing enough. Children don't care what job you have or how much money you make, they only care about the time you spend with them. I work so hard at making the most of the time that I have with Snuggle Bug during the weeknights and on the weekends, but is it enough? Will he know that he's so much more important to me than any job I'll ever have? And if I worry about this with one child, what's it going to be like with two or three children? I also fear being judged. For the longest time I was afraid to admit to others that I worked FT outside of the home because I know there are some SAHMs that strongly disapprove and have a tendency to judge. I even fear that an expectant mother will look at our situation and not pick us to adopt their child because they'd rather have a mother, instead of a father, that stays at home.

5. Longings- I long for things that are not to be, at this point in time anyway. I long to be independently wealthy or at least financially comfortable enough to be a SAHM. I long for the opportunity to not feel so rushed all the time. I long for the confidence in knowing that I'm doing a great job raising my child.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this post, except to get these feelings off my chest because my heart just aches with these challenges sometimes. I hope to learn that I'm not alone in my struggles. I'd love to hear how other moms are managing and perhaps what works for them in trying to balance work, family, and personal life. And I can't help but wonder, do working dads faces the same challenges, pressures, and fears?

Thanks for listening.
7:55 AM
23 comments


23 Comments:
At 9:50 AM, Blogger SalGal said...

Funny story... I bookmarked you last Wednesday when you posted that WFMW thing. I thought. I've been checking and checking for new posts and then it hits me... I've bookmarked a permalink to that post, not your full-on blog!! Anyway, I'm a super-huge fan now, I simply MUST make the carmel-apple butter and now I have to make a blog especially for these themes!!

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Stacey said...

OW-
I am a SAHM but I babysit other peoples kids in order to stay home with mine. It is a blessing but also very challenging. You have encouraged me to perhaps write about these challenges at some point.
I just wanted to say that I did work outside the home after my son was born. He was 6 months old and my daughter was 18 months old when I went to work. I taught fulltime at a local private highschool. It was the HARDEST thing I have ever done (working while juggling a family and a house, and a husband, and any "me"time!!!)
Kudos to you for your honesty and your positive attitude. I think the things you are feeling are SO normal. I hope and pray that you find peace with your decision. This prayer comes to mind:
St. Therese Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul
the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger momteacherfriend said...

I shed a few tears reading this one. I can hear your heart and see your struggle.
You are an incredible mom and the love you have for your son is more than evident in your writings. Mommy wars are annoying. Don't let others opinion and way of life bring any self condemnation on you. You are exactly were you need to be. God has provided for Oronzo to be there so that a stranger is not raising your boy. And if things are to change God will bring about that change. In the meantime, let not satan discourage you. Love your husband, love your son, work hard while away and play hard when our home.

Loving you more today. Thanks for your honesty.
Sarah

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Karla said...

Oh yes. I SO identify with this. All day, every day.
I know another lady who works full-time while her husband watches the baby all day. She is rather jealous of him. I'm jealous of my MIL, who keeps our little Bean every day.
It's tough.

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Suzy said...

You are definitely not alone in this one. I could have written much of your post myself.

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Munchkin Land said...

Oh, my heart hears your fears, guilt, etc. and feels the same! It's the hardest thing in the world to be in one place while your heart belongs is longing for another. =)

Take comfort in this, YOU were selected to be his mommy! YOU were selected out of the billions of people in this world because someone thought YOU were a perfect fit. Snuggle Bug is loved, wanted, and cared for and it shows in every corner of this blog!! =) It is hard to be a working mom but we do the best we can!!!

 
At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Helena said...

I was looking for some working mom blogs - I am glad I found yours! I identify with everything you wrote. I also experience some feelings of anger that I am in a position that I make more $$ than my husband and if anyone would be the SH parent it would be him and not I. My MIL watches our daughter while we are working and I am insanely jealous of her and am having a hard time dealing with those feelings. My commute is an hour one-way and I constantly battle with that as my work is it a ritzy part of town and I wouldn't be able to afford to live much closer than I do. I often only get 1-2 hours a day with my daughter and it just makes me so sad - I do have to bring work home and usually work a lot more than 40 hours a week. Thanks for your blog and this post!

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Pass the Torch said...

I mostly work from home, but I do consultant work away from home sometimes. I often have a difficult time balancing everything. I think part of my problem is the fact that I don't give my at-home business responsibility the "work" credit it deserves. And my brain seems to always be on "business" because the business is always right there, within reach.

So I guess I feel guilty a lot.

But that's more my own issue than my family's, I think. My husband is really supportive.

It sounds as though we have a lot of the same issues and feelings. It's a pretty universal thing. I often think it would make more sense if we could be "retired" while raising kids, then "work" after their gone? Our system seems to be backwards.

I think it's good to talk about it, though. The beauty of blogging, hey?

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger Magi said...

I'm worried about these things, and I don't even have my child home yet. In a perfect world, I would love to stay home. Unfortunately, however, we need both our paychecks. I wish I had answers for you, but I can say I'll be looking here and at the other working mom blogs to help me when the time comes.

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger Annette said...

Hi

I am a SAHM...and just so you know...we have those same feelings. Guilt.. I"m not "doing my share" paying off some debt load. Judgement "what do you mean you don't work?" Fear "what if we (fill in the blank)" I find it hard sometimes to stay at home with my boyo. Sometimes I'd rather be out there working because his dad works from home.

But I know this is where God wants me right now.

I find it hard and sad that women are judged regardless of what they do. Judged for working, not working. Judged for how you raise your child. Judged for how that child is schooled and so forth. Sometimes I wish people were better able to extend the grace of God to those around them.

You are not alone.

 
At 5:51 PM, Anonymous chelle said...

awwww hugs. I agree with Annette ... I am a stay at home mom and I experience a lot of the same feelings. I do not however have to leave (although there are time I really wish I could leave, not my kid just to be alone for a little while). I am in awe of working moms. They are the pillar of strength and courage. Kudos to you and all of your readers that go to work.

 
At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

First, an apology. Comments are supposed to come from working moms. I’m not a mom; I’m a dad. I don’t go to an office; I stay at home. But here’s a thought:

My wife works full-time. Sometimes, she feels what you and other working moms feel. During those times, I thank her for feeling all the guilt, jealousy, fear and longing so that I could have fun with my kids.

To all mothers, happy Mother’s Day.

Okay. It’s not Mother’s Day. I just wanted to have an excuse to say that.


Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

 
At 7:20 PM, Blogger mira said...

I can definitely sympathise with what you are feeling. Believe me no one has it easy when it comes to parenting in this day and age.

I have had the full gamut, full-time working, part-time working, SAHM, work-out-of-the-home, run my own business. It all has it's own challenges. My biggest frustration was when a SAHM would look down on me for being a working mom. When a full-time working mom was upset that I only worked part time. SAHM's who condemned me for "leaving" my children. The point is we all love our children so much we find ourselves constantly second guessing what we need to do in order to create balance (emotional, financial, etc) within our homes.

My only advice is to be at peace with where you are right now because it can always change. Recognize how fortunate your son is to have two loving parents. And don't second guess someone else's decisions.

Best of luck to you with this.

 
At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Amber said...

Thank you for this honest post. It mirrors closely to what I have been wanting to post on my blog too for a long time.

The guilt, fear, and not enough hours factor huge for me. I only work part-time right now, but plan on going full-time soon. Even though two of those days will be work-from-home, my daughter will still be in childcare (just with less hours). She stays with a neighbor lady who just loves the kids she takes care of. And my daughter loves her too.

Like you, I go in to work early (6 am to 2 pm) so that I can spend more time with Adrianna. I am not a morning person AT ALL, but this is only a small sacrifice since it allows me more time with my family. My husband starts work late (9 am) so that we can lessen the hours that Adrianna has to be in childcare. That helps a bit for the guilt factor.

 
At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Much More Than A Mom said...

Wonderful post. I am currently a sahm but my son is only 5 months old. I'll be back working when he's either 12 or 16 months (depending on the budget). I already feel all of those things just thinking about it.

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Since I don't really work outside the home I don't have any advice about the issues you raised; but I can identify with them - many of the things you are feeling guilty with were many of the reasons I decided to stay home. So I know you're not alone in those feelings. I'm very grateful we're able to live off of Joe's paycheck and I was able to stay home. I do work as a consultant with Discovery Toys, but that's when I want to work by scheduling shows or whatever and it's always arranged when Joe is home so he's with Kayla. Just wanted to send you some hugs!

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Erin said...

I work only two days a week but there are still times when I wish I could be home all the time with Widget. Although there are other times when I'm glad I have a couple of days of "grown up" time ;)

It is such a mixed bag of emotions, isn't it?

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger Brony said...

Hey, sorry to hear that you are having a hard time right now. I think all working moms go through that. I went back to work when Mr. Magoo was eight months old. He is now seven. I lost my job in June and decided that it was time for me to stop with the juggling and SAH. For me though it was about mental and physical energy and health. Working full time was just too much for me. The work politics did nothing for my mental health and the hours did nothing for my physical health. I do miss the routine and the sense of accomplishment.

I'm going to email you an article I wrote for our local paper. There was a huge debate about WM vr SAHM. It got pretty heated.

Know that you love you kids. Know that they too know that you love them.

At home or at work, there are never enough hours in the day. Working mom's just need to decide how clean they want the house versus how much time they want to spend with the kids.

Guilt - that is an interesting one. Now that I am at home, I feel guilty that I am not helping to bring in money, but still I spend the money. I feel guilty that I worked so hard to my education and now I'm not using it.

Fear - as a parent, working or not, we all fear that we aren't doing enough. There is always more. Time is about quality not quantity.

Hope that helped a little.

 
At 11:30 AM, Blogger Kathleen Marie said...

I did work outside my home for a few years. I was a Hospice Coordinator meaning you are on call 24-7. At times volunteers cannot be there so you step in. Several times I found myself trying to find someone to watch my kids when I got called to the hospital at 10 p.m. or so. Once I just had to take the kids and leave them in the car. That was the ice-breaker for me.

I also taught (which worked much more nicely around my kids schedules and worked in Pastoral Care at a hospital.

Eye Opening Incidences:

Another time I went to pick up my kids are a very reputable daycare and was told by my then 3 year old that "The Daddy came home for some food and was really mad because "Ms. Dummy" had a man in her bed! No kidding. The divorced soon after the incident.

Another time I went to pick up my two middle kids at the sitter and the sitter was sleeping in bed with her son, my daughter was running wild with some other kids and my son was laying in a playpen and he had thrown up grape juice all over him.

Aside from these incidences I didn't like not being home when my kids got home from school. I like to volunteer in the school and no exactly what was going on. For me it was just extremely important to be at home for my husband and children.

Yes, we went without the new car, the new furniture and the vacations at times but I have NEVER regreted staying home with my kids and when my eldest was about 23 or 24 she told me "thank you for staying home and always being there". That is all I needed to hear.

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Ladies, thank you SO MUCH for your kind words. Most of the time I can handle the juggling act, but every now and then I have "one of those days" and your kind and supportive words and prayers were soothing to my aching heart.

I appreciate it!

 
At 11:43 PM, Blogger Dianne said...

I am not a mom (I wish I were but chances are getting slim). I admire mom's who are able to juggle work and home - I don't know how you do it. So you have my utmost respect. I would be a SAHW if I could but I'm learning not to put such high expectations on myself to do everything.

 
At 7:52 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I cried when I read your blog. It hit home really hard. I have the same feelings.I have a 5 yr old son, work f/t, attend college p/t, coach soccer and married. I am always on the run. A month ago on vacation my son threw a penny over a waterfall and made a wish. He then asked me to bend down to share his wish with me. His wish was that I would stay home everyday with him. I cried as I told him thats just not possible right now, but I wish the same.
I work full time 40+ hours during the day. My Teddy stays with my husband. My husband also works 40 hours a week, but starts at 6pm at night. When I get home I take over caring for our son all evening. I do have the comfort of knowing my son is in good hands while I am at work, and my husband knows the same. The problem is my husband and I have a weekend marriage with this schedule.
Most of my classes are online so when I am at home I am behind my laptop. When I am running my son to Saturday morning swim lessons or evening karate and t-ball practices; I am the Mom that has her lap top with her and trying to accomplish an essay while not missing my sons big moment.
When I feel down and feel like I am not being the best parent by juggling so much, I try to think of all the things my son is learning from me.
He is learning education is important and you can do anything you set your mind to. He is learning that when he becomes a working parent that he must make time for his kids too. He is learning that spending time with your family should be cherished. He is learning that in todays society life is busy and you must work hard, but play hard too.
Wether you are a WM or SAHM, we all love our children and do whats best for them. The important thing is our children know we love them.

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

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It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)


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Adjusting to three 3 and under!
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CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
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Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
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The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
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Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
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