The Ups & Downs of Being a Working Mom

The Ups and Downs of Being a Working Mom

Many women do not have a choice when it comes to returning to work after having a baby. Financial obligations and professional commitments can make working an absolute necessity for certain women.

However, some of us are privileged enough to be in a position to stop working and dedicate our time exclusively to raising our children. Sometimes this position can be the toughest of all to be in! At times having two options available can be more frustrating than only having one because it involves having to make a decision that will likely have lasting effects.

Decision making is tough! And even tougher when it involves the most important little person in your life! Perhaps you are torn between the suit-wearing and diaper-changing lifestyle. With that in mind, today we share the advantages and disadvantages of being a working mom. 


The Upside


Extra income

Additional household income from working can come in really handy! Having extra money is always a positive thing, you can afford to do more activities with your children, buy them what they need, treat yourself to something nice once in a while and have a more comfortable lifestyle in general. Not having to worry about every last penny is very comforting, makes life a lot less stressful and, in turn, helps you to be a happier, more relaxed wife and mother.

Maintaining your identity

If a woman is passionate about her career it can form part of who she is. By continuing to work she can hold on to that part of her identity. Women who give up a career they love in exchange for dirty diapers and tantrums can end up feeling resentful towards their family in the long run.

Breaks

You can take a break at work! You can take a whole 5 minutes to drink your coffee in peace without a small person trying to stick their fingers in it. You can savor your lunch and eat it with no one sitting on your knee trying to grab your fork. You can go to the toilet without being followed. You can maintain a conversation without someone screaming in the background.

At home there are no breaks! There is no time out. You are constantly on call. Even when your child is napping, you are listening out for them. Even when your child is playing, you are watching them out of the corner of your eye while you prepare a pot roast, load the dishwasher and fold laundry all at the same time.

Social aspect

Being a stay-at-home mom can be very lonely especially if you don’t know any other moms in the area. Sitting at home all day with no adult interaction can be very depressing. At least in the office you have the opportunity to interact with your colleagues and maintain adult, stimulating conversations with them.

Appreciation

In most jobs hard work is recognized. You may receive a “well done” from your boss, another colleague or a customer; or you may even be rewarded with a monetary payment, extra holidays or other benefits.

Stay-at-home moms, on the other hand, can often feel very under appreciated. The work they do is often taken for granted and not valued as much as a paid job. Although taking care of your family is very rewarding in itself, no one rewards you for doing it!

Your appearance

It’s a fact: working moms tend to take better care of their appearance. You make time for that manicure, that pedicure and that appointment with your hairstylist, and you make sure to have a shower, brush your hair and put on some lipstick before heading out the door for work everyday.

Stay-at-home moms can often fall into the trap of neglecting themselves, not showering, not styling their hair and living in food-stained sweatsuits because they think: “No one is going to see or smell me today anyway, and my kids are probably going to stain or tear any decent clothes I do manage to put on.”

Greater appreciation of your children 

When you have been in the office all day you really do miss your kids and can’t wait to hurry home to see them. That time you do get to spend with them is so precious and you value it greatly. You take time out to talk to them and play with them because you haven’t seen them all day and realize how much they mean to you.

When you are at home all day with your children you can end up taking them for granted and, in all honesty, they can end up getting on your nerves! Sometimes less is more when it comes to spending quality time with your children.


The Downside


Fatigue

Having to go to work after being up half the night with a teething toddler can be more than a little exhausting! Stay-at-home moms can nap with their children after a sleepless night but working moms must perform at the office after only a few hours sleep.

Sickness

Kids that go to daycare are always sick! So sick in fact that they only end up going to daycare for about half the days you have paid for! You need to use up your vacation days to stay at home and care for them, and taking so much time off work doesn’t tend to go down so well with bosses. And then you get sick! And then your husband gets sick! And then you find yourself living in an incessant cycle of sickness! Yuk! 

The guilt

At the end of the day there is no substitute for a mother. Mothers know their children better than anyone else and can therefore tend to their needs better than anyone else. There is a bond between mother and child that is stronger than any other.

Working moms must place the care of their children into someone else’s hands and that can be very difficult. Walking away from your child as they scream “mommy!” is one of the most disturbing, heart-wrenching things a woman can go through. Your instinct tells you to rush to your child, pick them up, comfort them, shower them with protection and love……….but you can’t, you must simply walk away, leaving them to sob as you feel completely helpless and crushed inside.

This is without a doubt the greatest disadvantage of being a working mother: not being there for your child, not being able to soothe them and protect them from everyone and everything at all times. Physical separation from your child can feel so unnatural and distressing and produce an immense feeling of guilt. You can start to doubt whether or not you are a good parent or whether or not you are doing the best for your child. Such self-sabotaging thoughts are extremely dangerous and not good for you, your child, your relationship with your husband or your family as a whole.

You can’t go back in time

Money can be recovered, friendships (if they are real) can be recovered, your career can even be recovered if you work hard enough at it, but those first few crucial years of your child’s life can never be recovered. Those first few years are what mould your child into the adult they will become. Those first few years constitute the foundations of your child’s self beliefs and determine whether or not your child will go on to become a happy, self-loving, confident individual.

Working moms are losing out on that vitally important time with their children while someone else contributes towards shaping the adults that their children will become.


Deciding whether to continue working or not is probably one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to face because it involves a little creature that means more to you than life itself. Ultimately, you need to follow your heart and listen to the voice in your head telling you what you should do. If that voice is not speaking up for whatever reason then hopefully the above points will have helped to lead you in whatever direction is right for you and your family.

Want to read more on the working/stay-at-home-mom struggle, check out Beating Back Mommy Guilt

Photo Credit: Fairfax County, St. John Photography, epSoS.de and Kids Work Chicago Daycare.

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Louisa

Louisa is originally from Scotland, United Kingdom, but has been living in Madrid, Spain, for many years with her husband and one-year-old little girl. She is expecting another baby in October 2015. She loves cooking, languages, making YouTube videos, which you can watch here, and writing her personal blog, which you can check out here. She is currently a working mom but plans on staying at home when baby number 2 arrives. After the birth of her daughter, Louisa's outlook on life changed completely. She now cherishes every moment and believes in following her creative dreams of writing and making videos.

Comments (3)

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    Julie S.

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    This is a great post. The only thing I disagree with is the point about the “extra” income. A working mom is most likely a formerly working non-mom, so the income isn’t “extra” but required to sustain the family. I definitely agree with the identity and breaks at work points.

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      Louisa

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      Thanks for your comment Julie! My post was intended for those women lucky enough to be able to choose to work or stay at home, and to hopefully help them in deciding what to do. For these women the income from working would in fact be “extra” as the basics would already be covered by another source of income. I do realise that many women have no choice but to work in order to put food on the table, but my article was not about that. Although that would make for an interesting article! Thanks again!

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    Diane

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    Good read! true-to-life awareness

    Reply

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