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StorkNet Home > Parenting Channel > Working Mothers Cubby

Motherhood and Working Outside The Home
by Kenyatta Thomas
Being a Mom is a full-time job within itself, so really, moms working outside the home work two jobs. The first job is a 24/7 odyssey of diapers, burp cloths, breast pumps, formula, bottles, tears, diaper rash, daycare and more. It is also the LONGEST held job you'll ever have. A lifetime.

Our second job is where we go after we leave the house - and baby behind. And THAT is where the journey really begins.

We face so many challenges in our day-to-day schedules, trying to achieve a perfect balance between boss and family. Almost always, the scales are always tipped more in one way or the other - never balanced.

Working full-time and being a mom isn't just my story - it's a story that can be written by anyone of us, who choose to work and be a MOM.

I'm Christian's Mom of 17 months, Kenyatta. I'm 34 years old, and I work a full-time job and care for a husband and son. The first challenge for me after Christian was born was finding daycare. I never KNEW how expensive it could be, or how hard it would be when it came time to go back to work.

For me, I had to ease myself into it. After four months on maternity leave, I decided that the best way would be to start back working half days, and then after two weeks, full-time, but I changed my hours from the standard 8-5, to 5-2 PM. This way, my nursing schedule wasn't interrupted, and I still got to spend the majority of the day with Christian, since he slept most of the morning and early afternoon.

Returning to the Workforce

Here is what other moms at StorkNet are saying about Returning to the Workforce:

storkHi everyone! My son is 10 months old and I've been considering going back to work. He would have to be in daycare, but I'm not sure if I can do that. My sister-in-law has a daughter 1 1/2 months younger than my son and has had her in daycare since six weeks of age. This kid has been SICK so many times I have lost count! My aunt had her son in daycare but decided to stay home with her daughter, and she feels that it made a big difference. And my mother is completely AGAINST it! We are getting by financially, but we are JUST getting by, and with his birthday and Christmas coming I'm worried. I would like to know how anyone here feels about daycare, and whether or not he or she HAD to do it. If I went back to my career, would I be sacrificing something so much more important? I want to do what's best for Tommy. Any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks! ~ Tabsmom

storkReally, no one can answer your questions except you . . . But I can tell you that I chose to go back to my career, not because I had to, but because I love my career and wanted to go. It does allow us to provide Mason with a few luxuries, but that isn't why I went back. Your baby would be fine in daycare, still know you and love you. Yes, they do get sick more, but that is simply because they are exposed to more germs. The same thing happens when they go to school. All the kids that have been home will get it all then. Your baby is going to be the happiest when YOU are happiest. You just do what you think is best, stick to it, and don't let anyone tell you you aren't doing what is best! (Regardless of your decision) Good luck to you with your decision! ~ Susan, Working Mom to Mason

storkI think EVERY Mom who works has this fear, but it's a normal fear. I think if you stand firm, DON'T explain your decision to return to work, but tell them WHY, Tab will be okay. Because YOU are Tab's Mom, and YOU know what's best. Like Susan, I have to say that the ultimate decision is yours. Tell them that it's support you need - not criticism. I returned to work when Christian was younger, four months, and I felt awful. I didn't want to leave my baby. Period. But you know what? He was fine! And the daycare we chose has been WONDERFUL! It's a smaller daycare, more intimate, and we are happy with our decision. Yes, kids get sick, but they get sick when they stay at home too!

You know the positives I see? I see his socialization skills soaring. I see his capacity for learning and grasping new things and ideas AND people expanding every day. He's an only child, and I LIKE the fact that he is around other children during the day. I have adjusted my working hours, to early hours, so he doesn't spend ALL day in daycare, but enough so that I can provide for him. You have support here, whenever you want it.


storkI just want to thank you all SO much for the kind words and support. I haven't been receiving too much of that lately. I think I may try something part-time for now. It's hard because I was an executive admin, and my skills are geared towards full time jobs. I truly think Tommy would do wonderful in daycare; he loves other kids. He is my first, and we don't have any neighbors. I also think that if I don't introduce him to daycare now, it will be near impossible later. He is starting to get VERY attached to me!

This is probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make! I also want to go back to work for myself, God help me if I told my mom that - LOL! And the guilt!!!! I'm just so restless sitting home, and we don't have the money for me to do the things I would love to do at home! I will take your advice and make the decision MINE. At least I know I have a place to come after all the griping! LOL! Thanks again! ~ Tabsmom

After making the decision to return to work, sometimes the struggles are just beginning. It's HARD leaving that little one behind, and the brave face at work is sometimes a true contrast to the tears shed on the way to work . . .
storkHi everyone. I "graduated" from StorkClub 2 on May 3rd with the sweetest baby boy. I took eight weeks off after his birth. I've been back to work almost a month now, and it's not getting any easier. My MIL watches Zack, so I know he's well taken care of. I am just missing so much. His happy times are in the morning. By the time I see him at 5, he's tired and grouchy. When I get home from work I just want to hold and play with him until he goes to bed. The same on the weekends. I have to work for financial reasons. Help!! Does it get any easier? Will I ever stop crying on my way to work? ~ Beckye

storkOh Becky, I know it's hard . . .and that 8-5 stretch is a tough one. But it DOES get easier. Is your MIL close to your job? Maybe she can bring Zack to see you or you can shoot to MIL's for lunch once or twice a week? I'm sure, like the rest of us, you have a desk and bulletin board filled with pictures A lot of things just DON'T GET DONE, because when I walk through the door, at LEAST the first two hours are spent playing and cuddling with Christian. And like you, on the weekends, I'm catching up on sleep (my hours are from 5:30-2 PM), and all thoughts of chores and such are really a distant second to Christian. You'll stop crying on your way to work as well, and it will be replaced with the serene knowledge that Zack is being well cared for and that you'll return to him as soon as you can. I think my anxiety in the beginning was much worse, because I don't have any family close to me to watch Christian, and when he first went to daycare, I was extremely sad and depressed. I know that you can at least find comfort in the fact that he's with Grandma. But in the meantime, you can come here, and lean on us. We have mighty big shoulders here on this forum, so you go right ahead and lean . . . anytime. ~ Kenyatta

storkI'm sure that the amount of time you have spent with him makes it harder. I took off six weeks originally but because Sara came six days early, it was seven weeks. Luckily I can come home to feed her. I live three minutes away. The hard part will be on the weekends. When that time comes, I won't be able to get home to feed her so I'll have to pump then. Knowing that she's in good hands makes it easier on me. ~ Marj

storkBeckye, I know how you feel, except you have it harder than I do because you have longer hours and are further away. I would not work unless I had to. My thoughts and prayers are with you. In the long term, is there any chance that maybe DH could get (or train for) a better-paying job (or could you??) so you could work fewer hours? Or do you have any work-at-home options? Maybe if you brainstormed you could come up with some answers, even if they took a while to put into practice. It's amazing how things somehow fall into place - in ways you never imagined - if you focus on what you want long and hard enough. ~ Penny

storkOh Beckye - it is hard isn't it! I still feel sad and get angry that I can't stay home, but I bring home 'most of the bacon' and carry the health insurance for the family. I feel blessed that my parents watch Skye for us and the bond between Skye and my father is incredible. So that helps. If I had the option, I'd be home with my girls. What helped me out in the beginning was when I got home, I took Skye right to bed for a long nurse and cuddle - sort of a reconnect time. Then I'd put her in a sling and carry her around. It does get easier when they can sit up, then crawl and play with toys. So I don't cry anymore but I do get sad. Hey you have a bigger age gap then me! Mine are almost nine years apart, both girls! ~ Gillian

storkThanks so much for the support. It really has helped me a lot. Zack is just five minutes away. I went to see him today. I don't always go because my FIL drives me nuts. That's a whole different story! It was nice to go while he was happy and smiley (and poopy). We are barely paying the bills right now, so I can't even consider working part-time. I do have a shrine to Zack. Everyone in the office ooh and ahhs over him. Thanks again guys. You will probably get tired of me crying on your shoulders soon. ~ Beckye

The answer to having success in returning to the workforce is not always simple. Surrounding yourself with support is one way. Remind yourself that you are not the only one going through this - REACH OUT. Talk to your spouse or significant other about your feelings. Get in contact with other moms, find a support group at a local community center or church . . . or find a wonderful community like StorkNet.

It's not easy - but it is possible, and there are literally millions of women like you in the workforce, caring for their children and making it work. We're not alone out there, and there is definitely a struggle that is worth it.

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