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I Want to Go Back to Work

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Guest blogger Jessica Katz: I have always felt like being a mom is harder than any job I have ever had -- and I have had some tough bosses. I knew it was tough after I had my daughter and missed my old job, because I hated that job.

mom with baby
My daughter was the toughest boss I had ever had. There was no "hold" button, I could not send her to voicemail and there were no lunch breaks. And, like many past bosses, she was always screaming at me. It was nonstop. At my old job, if I needed a break I would surf the Web or doodle. With my daughter, there were no breaks. I was on 24/7. 

I was sitting with a new mom recently, and she was telling me how she couldn't wait to go back to work. Being home with the baby all day was driving her crazy, and it was so much harder than her job. She was exhausted and frustrated. Another mom at the table who was already back at work was sharing how much happier she was to be at the office. "Work is easier than being home with my kid," she confessed. The fourth mom at the table had found a compromise by working three days a week. She said she couldn't not work because she would go crazy; she needed something else to do besides baby duty. But when she did work, she felt guilty. 

After having my daughter, I knew I wouldn't work, except for the occasional freelance job from home. But after a few months, I missed getting dressed, going to an office and interacting with other adults. It was then that I started my baby group. I met a group of moms who'd all had high-profile careers before their babies. And shockingly, every single one of them was a little bitter to be home, resenting the fact that their husband got to be out of the house all day while they were stuck home with the baby. 

I have to admit that being home is way harder than I expected. I think partially it has to do with the fact that our generation is having children later, at a point where we have a career and an independent life. My mom had me at 23 years old and had yet to really have a career, so there was nothing for her to really give up. I was 31 when my baby was born -- it was a whole new ball game. 

I decided that they are only small for such a short time, and it goes by in a flash; that I am really fortunate to be in a position where I can be home with my baby. As tough as it is, I consider it a gift. Soon enough, she will be in school and I can work all I want to. And not too long after that, she will be all grown up. 

But that doesn't discount how hard it is. My husband can work all day just fine, but two hours with our daughter and he needs a nap. Women have a lot to sacrifice when it comes to being moms. It is a tough choice: You can feel unfulfilled at home and guilty at work. But every mom finds a way to make it through the day over and over again -- even if it feels like it will never end.


next: This Week: Top 10 Stories Moms Are Talking About
15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Heather November 13, 2010, 8:13 AM

Wow, I could cry. I’ve been struggling with this for awhile. Though I was 23 when I had my daughter, I miss the opportunity I had to get a degree and start a career. Thought I might not have had to leave one, I’m still losing out. I don’t even think I have the emotional stability to address the issues you’ve brought up here. As much as I love my daughter…it would be nice to have a little more something for me in life.

Christine November 13, 2010, 11:31 AM

Wow.. I am really disheartened by this article. I have a 2.5 year old and an 8 week old and I just went back to work. I would give just about anything to stay at home with my kids. I have no problem with women wanting to work instead of staying home but it angers me when there are alot of women out there that want to stay home but cant financially and yet you write this article about you and women you know are bitter about staying home and complain about it. You are fortunate to have the option because most women dont.

Christine November 13, 2010, 11:34 AM

Wow.. I am really disheartened by this article. I have a 2.5 year old and an 8 week old and I just went back to work. I would give just about anything to stay at home with my kids. I have no problem with women wanting to work instead of staying home but it angers me when there are alot of women out there that want to stay home but cant financially and yet you write this article about you and women you know are bitter about staying home and complain about it. You are fortunate to have the option because most women dont.

KS November 13, 2010, 11:53 AM

I don’t know why a person sharing their struggles would anger anyone else. We are not all built the same.

I am the stay at home mother to four young boys. I was grateful and still am to leave the micromanaged work force. I thoroughly enjoy and absolutely love (almost) every single aspect of my life. Being the person in our home that keeps things running smoothly brings me a sense of satisfaction. Yet that’s not all of me and I still have interests outside of the home.

With that being said I can understand how another women would see the daunting and tedious monotony of staying at home to be a burden that was to great. Like I said we are not all the same.

The thing is it doesn’t have to be all one or the other. You can still take courses at your local college. You can get a part time job working your local farmers market on the weekend. You can volunteer for whatever organization you feel passionately about.

Giving a little bit of your time back to yourself will mean that you are giving the best to your family.

It also means your husband will have blocks of time to figure out how to parent in his own way too. Which I have found to be such a benefit to our marriage I can’t say enough about it. There is no reason to feel guilt about wanting to be more than a mom and wife. Let the guilt go and go find your happy medium.

Anonymous November 13, 2010, 3:38 PM

Interesting point of view. I am a teacher and when I had my third child by age 40 I was overjoyed to spend three years at home with him. It was one kid vs twenty all day so naturally staying home with him was a piece of cake compared to teaching. I guess it’s all in your perspective.

Anonymous November 14, 2010, 8:03 AM

I think you might want to consider adoption. There are many couples out there who are unable to have children of their own. It causes them real heartbreak to know that there are babies like these who need the time and attention of a devoted family to truly thrive. I hope you take the time to think about it.

Nancy November 14, 2010, 9:04 AM

I have been a stay at home mom since my daughter was 6 months old. She is graduating from high school with highest honors this year. I also have an 11 year old son who also is doing remarkably well his first year in middle school. My daughter is a well grounded young lady with good morals, compassion for other people and genuinely a nice young person to be around. I believe this is all a direct reflection of my choosing to give up my 14 year career at 32 years old to raise my children. It has been a financial struggle, but in the end well worth the sacrifices we made and continue to make. Do I miss working, absolutely! Especially now that they are growing up and it’s time for me to get back in the work force. It’s going to be hard to do with my turning 50 this year but I’m going to try. I have no regrets because when I chose to have children my task was to raise them to be good, happy people and I believe that happened because I was able to be there round the clock. People say to me, “your so lucky to get to stay home” Luck had nothing to do with it, it was a conscious decision and we had to give up a lot of material things to make that happen and my husband has worked two jobs the entire time. I understand that it’s not possible in all cases, but there have been people who say that to me that make quite a bit more money then we do. It’s all about the trade off and what your willing to do and what you want that truly makes you happy, whether its staying home or working you have to do what makes you the happiest because in the end it only you that you have to live with and answer too!

Christina November 15, 2010, 11:22 AM

Anonymous - that was hateful and you should be ashamed.

Michelle November 15, 2010, 8:44 PM

I am currently struggling with this very issue. I have been a SAHM for almost nine months. Before the baby was born, I was completely dedicated to staying at home for at least a year and possibly until all my kids were in school. Now, I find myself twiddling my thumbs during naps and asking myself, “Is this enough for me?”. I, too, feel like this is a very special time in mommyhood, but I feel like I am issuing a complete surrender of myself and that will only last so long.

I think it is harder for our generation, because unlike our mothers, many of us do have options. In many cases, moms didn’t return to work after baby, because the work wasn’t fulfilling or didn’t pay well enough to cover child care. But, when you take those obstacles out of the equation, it becomes more about whether or not you are suited to be a SAHM. And, of course, that is a question each woman should ask herself.

Thanks for sharing.

Kara November 16, 2010, 12:02 PM

Staying home with my 13 month old and new born twins is FAR EASIER than any of the high pressure jobs I had. SAHMs - let’s please be honest - we work on our own schedule and get far more break time and down time than you can imagine at a real job. I’m lucky enough to stay home and don’t for one second pretend it’s hard or that I’d be screwed if I had to work full time AND be a full time mom. This article is a slap in the face to working moms. Makes me almost embarassed to say I stay home.

Anonymous November 16, 2010, 12:05 PM

My husband can work all day just fine, but two hours with our daughter and he needs a nap

Of course he needs a nap - because he has worked ALL week to support you and your daughter!!!

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 9:53 AM

Great article! Good to read. I’ve got one observation to give about funny shirts.

tea length wedding program file March 8, 2011, 3:06 AM

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.

peugeot 1.1 April 9, 2011, 12:23 PM

I cant say Im in complete accordance, thanks are in order for making the effort to put it up


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