Lindsey was our guest interview on Moms @ Work (Part 1) – #11. We loved having her on the show and we know you’ll love her post today!
The alarm goes off, but you’re sure you just laid back down 5 minutes ago. You glance at the blackberry by your head (because that’s where it remains) to check the time (and the emails). It blazes 6:30 at you and you know that you have precious 60 minutes (when lucky) to get up and get ready for work before the hubs and the baby wake. Here is the moment of truth…when you roll out of bed, determined to start your day, do you take time to get really ready, or decide that today is going to be a “curly” day (also known as the ponytail day) and fall back into bed to snooze for another precious 15 minutes. Your mind is a juxtapostion of details, for both child and office. You find crayons in your laptop case, you hum SuperWhy (“Hip, Hip Hooray! The Super Readers saaaaved the daaaay”) in your meeting, you keep a spare blouse in your office, just in case of that leaky left boob or stray banana hand from a kiss bye bye…And as you slip on your strappy heels (after removing the hot wheels car from the right shoe) and glance lovingly at your flats, (and some days at your slippers) you remember why it is you do what you do. It’s all for them.
You, dear lady, are a working mom.
Almost every mom has to make a significant choice a few weeks after the baby comes home. To return to work, or not to return to work, and ultimately what kind of mom you will get to be. The choice is never easy and, regardless of how much we as women like to compare with one another, it’s never the same for any one momma. For one mother, maybe you want to fall headlong into the world of child care. For another you really love what you do for a living, plus you know that it provides immensely for your child. Then there are so many moms out there, that, despite what they truly feel about staying home, financially, it’s just not in the cards. So where is your balance?
Let’s clarify the misconceptions first. There is no wrong decision here. Whether you are a Working Mom, a SAHM, or a WAHM (if you just read those as “sam” or “wham”, that would be Stay at Home Mom, or Work at Home Mom…don’t feel bad, just a lil’ blogspeak here!) what is important to remember is that your child or children come first. Your family remains central to your decision making and that almost always requires some give and take. Working moms should never feel guilty that they have to (or like to) work, just as a Stay at Home mom should never feel like they are inferior for staying home to care for their children.
For the working mom, this may mean taking a “Mommy and Me Moment”. This is one of those days where ::looks around to check for employers:: you actually play hookie. That’s right, you call in sick, call off, take a PTO day, whatever the situation calls for. You stay home, turn off the cell phone, check the email once (or not at all) and have a day just for you and the little ones. Maybe you get Daddy to call off too and make it an entire family day. This may also mean that sometimes the laundry doesn’t get done that night, or maybe the dishes sit until morning, because you are on a rockin’ round of Toy Story 3 Memory game, and Spidey comes on next.
Working parents aren’t any more or less head over heels in love with their children than stay at home parents. We just have a different balance. When you are a working mom, don’t compare your life to those who get to stay home, because that is like oranges and apples. It’s not going to equal out, because the dynamic is totally different. Especially if you are one of those moms who really doesn’t choose to go back to work due to finances. When you keep longing for something that just isn’t possible right now, that is going to suck the joy out of the time you do have to spend with your little ones. Don’t let “what could be, or how it should be” ever rob you of a moment of “right now.”
So how does it work, you ask? How does all this happen?
1. Plan. For everything. And by all means, ask for help if you need it. A lot of times our Husbands don’t know we’re overwhelmed unless we tell them, because in their eyes, we’re Superwoman already.
2. Keep reminders for yourself of WHY you work so hard all over your office. In pictures, quotes, art projects, pictures with Santa…whatever. My office is covered in pictures of my family, my hot hubby 🙂 and my baby, and crayola scribbles with Cars stickers. And when your co-workers step in to talk to you, they may complement you on your family or ask about your children, and through that, you know you’re not alone. Chances are, the mom right next to you is thinking about her kiddos too. These moments of inspiration can get you through the tough days.
3. Keep a Mommy Journal. This is my HIGHEST recommendation. Write down everything. Write down funny moments. Write down stories. Most importantly, write down how you love them and miss them. Then, as your children get older and wonder why you didn’t stay home with them, you can show them, your heart was with them the whole time.
Live in each moment you have with your little ones. Hold on to their laughter when you are apart. Remember that the work you do is always a work of love.
Lindsey Leach Simpkins is a guest blogger from Hamilton, OH. She graduated from Kentucky Christian University and maintains a full time career as a Learning and Development Manager. Lindsey is also a wife to one awesome husband, Gary, mom to one amazing toddler, Gavin, and all around balancing act of Mom-ness. She may not always get it right, but she laughs along the way! You can check out her words of wisdom at her blog, Moment of Selah!