When it comes to my kids’ emotional lives, I’m an extreme empath.
I have little tolerance for my childrens’ anxiety, discomfort or sadness.
I have to rush in and swab the decks. Hospital corner all the beds.
Polish the brass to a blinding shine.
And basically paint them like Michelangelo’s freakin’ Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.
I feel confident that (with a few missteps) I’m a good mom.
And I’ve felt, smugly I must confess, that I’m a better parent than my parents were. They didn’t linger over my every emotion.
They didn’t get me a therapist when I was in distress. They didn’t, they didn’t, they didn’t … treat me like I was the center of the universe.
I’m kind of getting there as a parent.
My eldest daughter will be starting middle school in the fall and I’m going to get a full-time job.
But I harbor fears that when I do she’ll go off the tracks. That I’ll be abandoning her at the crucial moment when hormones meet opportunity.
When the DRUG PUSHERS will descend with their dime-bags and gold teeth and we’ll end up on INTERVENTION in five years.
Newsflash: I’m parenting and living from a fear-based position.
The fear is that if I’m not vigilant at every moment in my children’s trajectory to adulthood and self-sustenance that things will go afoul.
I’ve assumed famous breadwinners like Katie Couric and Kelly Ripa must be bad moms. I’ve judged from the mountaintop of stay-at-home bitchery.
But I feel a shift inside, an opening for the possibility of career fulfillment alongside family life.
So here’s what I want to ask, working moms, how do you embrace a challenging job and parenthood at the same time?
I’d so love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
17 thoughts on “I Need Advice From Working Moms”
You know how when they’re toddlers and happily playing and you sneak off for a moment of privacy in the bathroom, two seconds later they’re banging on the door, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” This will happen. I found that every time I was in a brand new job, trying to make a good impression, my son would get sick or the school would call in the first few weeks.
The first month or two of the new job will be exhausting and stressful for EVERYONE in the family; the new routine, learning, “Gee, I can’t run to Mommy, and it’ll be hours before she gets home. Maybe I can figure it out for myself…”
But it gets better. Kids feel proud of being more self-sufficient. The new job will stop requiring as many brain cells just to do simple things like using the phone and email systems. Until that time, stock up on as many pre-prepared meals as will fit in your freezer (use the weekends to make them, cut up celery and carrots or other healthy snacks & put in containers for snacking), get as much sleep as night as possible, nap on the weekends if you can, and drink lots of water during the day.
Beverly I love the notion of them learning to solve problems on their own. Both Henry and I have been completely available for the last 11 years of their lives and have been able to make them feel secure and supported and sometimes I wonder if we’re almost too readily available to step in and solve all of their problems. The job isn’t just for financial reasons, but also for my own self-development. I am realizing it’s time for me to challenge my fears and evolve just as my kids are doing. I want them to be proud of me and see that I’m willing to do things that will make me grow as an individual.
#1 biggest thing is to trust the people you will be leaving them with while you are gone. Make sure if they are ‘alone’ during the day there is a trusted adult that can check up on them or that they can run to if there are problems. Keep an eye on the friends they keep, as that will be a great indicator of the activities they will be involved in. Talk to them when you have time at home. Give them responsibilities so they know they are members of the household, especially now that you won’t have enough time to do everything. And pray that your guidence thus far has made great young adults that can be responsible even when you aren’t looking.
Hi Sarah — Great advice.
Parenting = Guilt
(also joy, sorrow, disappointment, pride, despair)
But guilt is right up there too.
It’s hard not to second guess everything you do or don’t do. Just do your best on any given day, and trust that you have great kids who will make some really big mistakes (no matter what you do or don’t do), and they’ll be just fine.
Hi Sharona — I suppose what this means is that I have to relinquish some of my control freakiness.
Of course not! just know that it’s “Illusion” of control freakiness, and remember that all cosmetics/fashion/lingerie with the word “Illusion” in the name are good.
It’s all good. It’s going to be fine. Really. My two children now have a combined 6 tattoos, only 2 of which could be seen in church (if they still went). It’s ok. They’re good kids.
Do you have any wine? I need to come over.
I always have wine Sharona. It’s part of how I can be a good mom. Just don’t tell my sponsor that. Actually I don’t have a sponsor. Yet.
I work part-time, so I straddle both worlds. But most of what I can tell you is from experience as the child of mother who had to work a very demanding job.
Your girls will learn to be self-sufficient. They will gain strength. And they will learn that it is OK to find something that is just for you.
For your part, you will struggle at first, but you’ll all find a way. As long as you know what is most important to you, you’ll do fine.
Having your mother at home doesn’t guarantee that you will turn out just fine. It greatly depends on the kind of mother you have, no matter where she spends her days.
You’ll be awesome. And you’ll suck. It’ll balance out in the end.
Megan thanks. It can be liberating to accept the suckage aspect as just part of the package. My guilt muscles, I think, are over-developed.
I did that whole full-time job and parenting a kid and it was tough. Girl, it was tough and it never got easier. BUT… your kids are older than mine was and they’re at the point where they don’t need you THAT much. Let go of them a bit, trust that you did your job raising them to make good choices and you’ll do great. *hugs*
Hi Pattie — I think I need to keep my expectations low and be willing to accept a little chaos in my life. I’ve been lucky for the last 11 years to have part time work and to have had a lot of quality time with my girls. But it’s time for me to branch out and take on professional challenges.
We are tasked to raise children to be self sufficient and self reliant as adults. If we do it all for them, they will never be capable of independence. Do you want to be responsible for a fifty year old living with you because they “can’t” take care of themselves? My nephew is that person. He moved back in with his 70 year old mother when his wife got tired of supporting him and wondering where his backbone was. Mommy did it all for him, then his wife. Now mommy again. Not a healthy situation.
We need to teach them the skills to be wonderful, confident adults. Allow them the gift of learning to do things for themselves. It makes them proud of themselves. Spend time with the girls and make sure you talk with them when you’re not at work, keep the lines open.
Enjoy your new job!
It’s not easy to be a working mom. The best advice is to IGNORE other people’s opinions of how you’re doing, and decide for yourself. If you worry too much about what your boss thinks or the soccer coach thinks, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Those people aren’t you and you simply have to do the best you can.
Here’s some advice for why we should all look the other way. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katherine-wintsch/working-moms-dont-give-governor-bryants-comments-a-second-thought_b_3402641.html
You can do it!!!!!!
Katherine thanks for the encouragement. Will pop over and read your article.
I just found your blog and I think its pretty great 🙂 I just wanted to say that your girls will be just fine and so will you. I have a 5 year old and another one on the way. I worked up until the day I went into labor and went back to work 4 weeks after birth. My son is well-adjusted and pretty self-sufficient for a 5yo. It’s difficult at times, but my son knows that Mommy likes to work and I think it’s important for him to see me doing something I love. Good luck 🙂
Hi Emily, thanks for the encouragement.
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