The Working Mom’s Dilemma
When I resigned from my secure full-time job last year, I didn’t know what future had in store for me. Commuting and losing interest in going up the corporate ladder were two of my main reasons. Things started changing towards the end of last year when I decided to take the plunge into the online world as a digital entrepreneur.
A Very fulfilling journey so far! Now I get to call myself Stay at home working mom.
I am happy waking up every morning eager to start my day before the kids wake up. Those early hours have been my first friend. But early morning only lasts for few hours and then the day continues as usual. With all that needs to get done during the day, with a little to no chance of taking a nap in the afternoon, the time comes to put kids to bed. Maybe then, if I have some energy left then I would have the possibility to get some work done.
So it’s quite obvious! Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, neither is an easy choice to make. You just have to go with the one that makes sense to you and your circumstances at the moment. But one thing is for sure that being a working mom means you are giving your permission to be interrupted by uncertainties, emergencies, and vulnerabilities.
Winning the mental battle
We hear a lot about the physical struggle of managing both work and house at the same time but we don’t hear as much about the mental struggle that is a big part of the whole puzzle. Our minds get so overwhelmed with what needs to get done that whatever little time we have to actually work, we sometimes spend half of it just worrying!
Working on organizing your life one day at a time can deliver great results if we give it the attention it deserves. I am a fairly organized person but working from home has definitely been an adjustment for me. From finding time for work to what time of the day and where to work took me some time to get used to!
There are many dilemmas that we moms face when it comes to parting with our precious ones! There is no one solution fits all. But if we do this mental workout of sorts before making the decision, life gets a tad bit easier to manage. Just know that you are not alone. This problem has rallied along for quite a while now. It has slowly become a community on its own that we can turn to when we need somebody to talk to, or need some advice.
To Work or Not To Work
I feel like the word ‘work ‘especially when it comes in the context of working moms is very loosely used. In a broad sense, work is considered something you get paid for in return for providing your services or expertise.
But what about the work that we don’t even get paid for! Everything from cooking, to dishes, to laundry, taking care of cranky babies, and everything that falls in between. That somehow never makes it to the so-called work list.
Resolution – Get your pen and paper ready! Start writing what you do on daily basis and how you spend your day. In a week or so, you would have a pretty good idea how much work you do already! Now sit with your partner and figure out if it would be feasible to take on more work. Also, take into consideration, the cost of daycare, how you want to raise your kids, what you want your relationship with kids to look like, and how working (and getting paid for it) as a mom would affect your quality of life.
When you ask yourself smart questions, you tend to get smart answers.
Once you decide the option that works best for you, throw the mom-guilt out of the window and stick with your plan. You can always try out an arrangement for a while and see how it works for you and re-evaluate. Not the end of the world!
Fear of Losing Financial Independence
This one is a major one and the one that kept me up at nights, for the longest time while deciding to continue working or quit work and raise my kids the way I wanted to.
The thing is that we are surrounded by this ‘work culture’ from a very young age. As soon as we are in our teens, and sometimes even before that, we start looking for ways to get some extra cash for our pocket money. As we keep working through that young age, it becomes the norm for us and we become financially independent a lot sooner in our lives. And somehow we start attaching that financial independence to our self-worth.
Later on, when our life changes with kids and marriage, we have a hard time detaching our self-worth from work. If we don’t work it feels like all those years that we studied and learned, are wasted and now we feel anxious to be dependent on somebody else for even the tiniest things.
Resolution – This is what I did and it worked very well for putting my mind at ease while deciding which way to go. I sat with myself and asked these questions:
- What stage of life am I in right now?
- What are my priorities?
- Is Career still my #1 priority?
- Where do my kids and family life fall into all of this?
As you get clarity answering those questions, then ask some more!
- What kind of relationship do I share with my husband?
- Do I feel comfortable being dependent on him for a while for financial matters?
It’s always a good idea to share your fear of losing your financial independence with your partner and see what their response is, so you know you are not alone in this.
The point is to make sure you sit with the idea, ask yourself all these questions, get comfortable with the answers and then make a decision. Whatever decision you make then, it would be the one you would feel satisfied with and it will give you joy on daily basis.
Mom guilt (fear of being an inadequate mother)
Whether you decide to go back to work or stay at home with your kids, just know that no choice is an easy one. Each choice has its own challenges. You just have to pick which kind of challenge you are ready to deal with.
Resolution – If you have thought through and asked yourself good questions then you would have gotten your best answer by now. Asking yourself is the hardest part, once you get past that then things start to slowly fall into place.
And if you still feel like you are not able to get all the answers you are seeking then reach out to someone who has done it before! In today’s day and age, we have the internet to connect us with anyone sitting anywhere in the world. There are forums, websites, and coaching available to help you make a decision that you are satisfied with.
Which working mom‘s Dilemma was the most difficult for you to overcome, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!