By: Jessica Aldred
As I delivered my first son, some 6 ½ years ago, I quickly realized that I couldn’t bear the idea of going back to work full-time and only being able to spend mere minutes of quality time with him each day. Fortunately, I was able to leave my full-time corporate job for a part-time job closer to home that allowed me to bring my baby along too. Over time, I often wondered how one went about landing one of those coveted work from home mom jobs. Even more so, I wondered, are they real?
As the years went by I met an amazing group of mothers that I’m proud to call my friends. Every month, we make time to meet for dinner (kid free!) to catch up. This is the group I’ve shared many of the trials and tribulations of motherhood with. We’ve supported each other as each new baby arrived, as each fundraiser came and went, and as each of our children entered school. As I got acquainted with these mothers, I came to find that one of them seemed to have found the coveted work from home opportunity I was after. For all intensive purposes, I stalked her for the job. While she knew me as a mother, she didn’t know me on a career level. Regardless, she took a leap of faith and recommended me for a position. I jumped on the opportunity and landed the job. I had found the holy grail of jobs for mothers of little ones!
Three years later, with three little boys tugging at my legs, I’m happy to say that I’m still employed by this amazing company that allows me to keep my career moving forward while putting my baby down for every nap, making it to every soccer practice and getting dinner on the table by 5. That said, I do have a job and the concepts of stay-at-home mom and working mom are not so easily combined.
While it’s great that I can be there for just about every moment of my children’s lives, or be available to let the repair man in, or cook a turkey on a week night, it’s not so easy to maintain good quality standards, timeliness, and attention to detail to my work while refereeing a wrestling match. As a mom, I’m the go to for many things that occur, so even when I’m “working” there’s still the natural inclination for my children, or even my husband, to distract me. What’s worse is that I make my own hours. I can work while the kids sleep, while they’re at school, or anytime I have some child care assistance. It’s amazing! However, I also sit at my desk mulling over a difficult situation while staring at a basket of unfolded laundry, watching dust bunnies roll across the floor, or listening to a fight breaking out downstairs.
It’s the ultimate struggle for work-life balance. How do you balance working 25-30 hours a week while still maintaining all your duties as a wife, mother, housekeeper, chauffer, chef, nurse, etc.? How do you balance this amazing opportunity to be there for your family as only a true stay at home mom can, while still contributing to your household financially? I’ve faced this balancing act for years now and have found evolving ways to make it work. There are days where I’ll work into the wee hours of the morning, or others when I will hide in my room typing away while my family thinks I’m “sleeping in,” or when I’ll enlist the help of family members so I can steal a few precious moments of quiet to productively get my work done.
There’s pro’s and con’s to my current work status that present themselves daily, however each day as I ask myself “Is it worth it?” the same answer resounds in my mind. YES! YES! YES!
Are you a working mom? If so, how do you balance these day to day struggles?