When we relocated to Columbia from Connecticut I had a new vision. I was giving up the morning rush of a working mom and going to immerse myself fully in my transitioning family. I would become the model supportive wife and pinterest-perfect mother. My days would be spent managing the house, teaching the kids, volunteering and engaging our family in outdoor and invigorating activities while I magically got the cooking, cleaning and laundry done. Oh, and playdates. Lot of playdates with my new found mom friends.
I was going to love it. Except I didn’t.
In retrospect, I failed because of the pressures I put on myself. If a meal was less than stellar, I wondered why I thought I could even attempt to cook and why I had wasted so much time of my day trying to even entertain the idea. Inevitably the house was a mess by the time my husband got home, and although he didn’t mind, I felt the need to present him with a list of all the things I had done that day in an attempt to justify my time. I was trapped in the house in the afternoons because if I dared travel more than one-tenth of a mile in the car, my daughter fell asleep and was up partying like a sorority girl waiting for last call at 2 a.m. I would make half of the bed and then throw in laundry, leaving the other half lonely and unattended for hours at a time. I was trying to teach my daughter her colors but she would shut down at the smell of anything remotely academic.
I was doing everything, but accomplishing nothing.
Then, one inclimate weather day, I went to my friend Abbey’s house. Our kids were playing inside and she asked if I wanted coffee or hot chocolate since it was 10 a.m. It was a snow day, so I decided to spice the hot chocolate up with a little Bailey’s. Why not? It was a “snow day” after all. As I sipped the hot chocolate I looked at her and said “oh my gosh, I am drinking Bailey’s at 10 in the morning and I’m totally fine with it. I need more structure, I have to go back to work.”
I submitted my application to the local school district and began searching for daycares. I found the perfect setting for my daughter to get the structure and socialization she needed. I was offered a job a week later and began the process of transitioning my daughter to daycare. After a six month hiatus – I was going back to work. And, I was happy about it.
Here are four reasons why I am happily working outside the home:
Our schedule is set – even if it is crazy. We are all out of the house by 7 a.m. and I’m home just in time to get my son off the bus. It’s a full day with little time to sit and think, but my daughter is no longer up until the wee hours of the morning because of late afternoon naps. She’s engaged in socialization and play all day long, much more than she was getting from me. While our initial separation was difficult, she has come so far in a short amount of time at daycare.
My profession matters. Teaching makes me happier and more confident, and in turn, a better mother. I teach kids with emotional and behavior disorders – it’s not exactly an easy day. Many of these children come from hard places and have endured more in 11 years than I have in a lifetime. My kids have two parents who love them and support them. We will do our best to ensure that they will thrive in whatever path they choose. Most of my students do not. Every kid needs to feel loved, and for 6 hours a day I love them even when they are asking for it in the most unloveable of ways.
It’s a safety net. My family has experienced young and un-timely deaths leaving families in distress. By working and remaining current in my profession, I know that if anything should happen to my husband, I am in the best possible place to maintain a sense of consistency for my children. I realize that is an oddly-morbid way to view life, but sometimes you take away unpleasant lessons from devastating situations.
It works best for us. I work outside the home and our family functions better because of it. I do not desire to stay at home with my children. I will be judged for it, but I won’t apologize for it or be made to feel like a sub-par mother because of it. The best way for women to lift each other up is to support and respect each others decisions as we all do our best everyday for our kids.
Do you work outside the home? Why does it work best for you and your family?