Post # 1
Hi bees, would love your thoughts on this.
I am struggling trying to reconcile my vision of a successful career and my vision with successful motherhood.
We are in our mid-20s, and got married a couple of years ago. We are both well educated, and my husband is on a great career track, which means we could live on one salary in the future (knock on wood, of course). I have been waffling a bit as to “what I want to be when I grow up”, but I do have a pretty good job with career prospects and I make good money.
Here is the question though – what happens when we have a child? Even ignoring the first few years, once your kid is in kindergarten or elementary, you still have to pick him/her up at 3-4, and then there’s after school activities, etc. So the options as I see them are: nanny, DH’s parents, my parents, or me. The idea of a nanny isn’t really my cup of tea – I want my child to be raised by me/my family. For various reasons, neither set of parents is really an option for more than once a week / occasional vacation babysitting either.
That leaves me. Problem is, I am having a hard time envisioning a career I would be satisfied with if I am also properly taking care of my child. Assuming I would be able to get right back into the workforce after taking a year+ (more like 2-3) off (big assumption already), what kind of job could I have if I can only work 9-3? My mom was able to do both because her field is more technical, and you can be a technical specialist and work part-time / from home for a number of years and then get back into it, but I have a business degree, and it’s tough to find a “part-time friendly” career path, especially if you want to say in corporate rather than start your own business (which is true for me). So on one hand, I don’t want to have a mindless job just to have a job, but on the other hand, I feel like I would be wasting years of education and money spent if I were to give up working, plus what kind of a role model would I be for my children?
So bees, could you tell me how you’re balancing (or planning to balance) your career and taking care of your children? Are there options I am just not seeing?
Post # 3
I dont have advice because we dont have children yet, but I would like to see how the other bees balance it all. It’s something I have been thinking about a lot lately.
I’m the breadwinner in the relationship and because of my field, I most likely always will be. However, my Fiance will need to continue working full time so we’ll be facing the daycare challenege in the future.
I think back to the summers when I was kid-my mom stayed home and we spent the days playing outside and swimming in our pool. I worry my kids will be stuck in a day care facility and won’t have all the great memories that I had. It’s heartbreaking and scary.
Post # 4
You have said almost everything I have been thinking over the past 1+ years! I still don’t have a great answer, but I’m working on it!
I love my job but it includes a lot of late nights and travel. Darling Husband owns his own business and is out the door by 6:30 am and usually isn’t home until 7 pm. He makes enough for me to stay home, but I honestly can’t picture myself as a Stay-At-Home Mom. I think it’s the hardest job in the world and I don’t think I would be able to do it 24/7. However, I cannot picture being able to stay in my field once we have children…
So about 6 months ago, I thought really hard about hobbies that I could turn into part time/flexible careers. I really, really enjoy real estate. I have 3 rental properties and am constantly searching MLS in my area for “fun”. My friends also come to me for advice on their purchases since I have so much experience. So I decided to go out and get my Real Estate license. I figure it’s a flexible career that I can do mostly from home and still be available to pick up my kids from daycare or school on time. I’m going to stay at my job until we have our 1st and then I’ll start slowly building my Real Estate Agent career.
The good news is for both of us is that we have the luxury of not HAVING to work, and therefore we can slowly transition into a new career and manage our work/family time so that I think it is possible to get the best of both worlds.
We’ll see how it goes!!!
Post # 5
Darling Husband and I both work and we have a one year old son. I’ve found that I’m more distracted at times during work, and there are days that I have to take off or leave early when he’s sick, has appointments or if daycare closes. Not common, but she’s taking a split week off after easter. Darling Husband is a teacher and I’m a therapist, so we both have limited flexibility in our schedule to accommodate those things. We have to prioritize things, and there is less free time, but overall I think we’ve adjusted well to our new family of three. We don’t travel often, and have to prioritize large purchases or plans for our home. We don’t go to concerts or fancy restaurants, but we didn’t really do those things before either. We have family nearby that we visit often and do a lot of things as a family – running, hiking, camping, just playing and being together. I am getting back into mountain biking this year, as well as amping up my running. Darling Husband is training for a short triathlon, coaches 2 sports, and helps at his family farm.
I’m not sure what will happen when he reaches school age, and we do plan on having more children. I don’t have a problem with daycare, and once DS is in school, I’m sure he’ll go after school until we get there to pick him up. Darling Husband doesn’t work in our home school district.
I don’t think it’s really feasible to “have it all” but I do think you can have what you want. We want to work (and have to to pay bills and such), we wanted children, and we make sacrifices in different areas to have both. I think certain jobs would be more difficult, especially with traveling or working long hours. But Darling Husband and I are both happy and our son is happy, healthy and well adjusted at daycare.
Post # 6
I think it’s totally possible. I was a nanny….both parents worked from home. I was very close with the family and even though I haven’t been their nanny for several years, they are invited to my wedding and we communicate often. I wouldn’t rule that option out.
It takes compromise. Many schools have after-school programs. You could work flexible hours. I was always car-pooled from school to swim practice by another mother and then my mom picked us up, etc.
You CAN have it all, but ultimately it depends on what you envision for yourself and what you feel comfortable doing.
Also, my mother worked part-time until I was about 10 and my brother was 8. Then both my parents worked full-time. I never felt like I missed out on any quality time at all…we spent all evenings together and weekends, etc.
Post # 7
I’m interested in this topic as well. My company is very flexible when it comes to family so I know I would be able to work a part-time schedule, but then we will lose my benefits. My husband has the potential to make a good living, but he is considering a career change that would possibly make me the higher earner by a lot. In that case I would need to stay on full time and he’d also probably be working full time.
For us, day care and/or a nanny is probably going to come in to play. I know many people are reluctant to do this, but I personally don’t see it as a negative thing at all nor is it not “properly taking care of my child”. My good friend is a teacher and nannies for a family after she is done school each weekday until his parents are done work. She is considered part of the family at this point and has been caring for their 4-year old since he was born. I wouldn’t have any problem with having a nanny like this in my child’s life and we will probably go with some combination of one of us having a modified schedule, nanny, and/or daycare.
I think working mothers are set up to feel guilty no matter what we choose to do! The best we can do is try to identify our priorities and act accordingly. I figure if we try this and it doesn’t work out, we can always make some changes.
Post # 8
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
You just do it. I really don’t know how to explain it. When DS was in elementary school, he went to before & after school care. I dropped him off at 7:30am and picked him up at 5pm. We went home, I cooked dinner while he did his homework, we chilled for the evening, and then I put him to bed. I was a single parent at that time. Career and motherhood had to co-exist because there were no other options.
Now that he is in middle school, he comes home on the bus, calls me to check-in, does his homework and chores, and I get home around 6. I also get to work from home twice a week, which is awesome. On those days I start work super early and am pretty much done by the time DS gets home from school. I schedule all doctor/dentist/etc. appointments on the days that I work from home so that I can take him after school ends. If he is sick, I just work from home that day. The crockpot and my Pampered Chef deep covered baking dish are my allies for making dinner a bit less taxing on me. Mr. Lk, DS, and I all share the household chore load. We make it a priority to have family dinner together every night and to plan one family activity every weekend. It’s just life.
I think the key is for one parent to work in a family-friendly environment. Since I was a single parent when I was in the job market, the family-friendly policies of my future employer were crucial in deciding between job offers. I’ve been offered several positions since then that I have turned down because the management was not family-friendly. Turning down those positions did delay my promotions, but I got them eventually. For me, more money was not worth more hassel and less flexibility. Before I accepted my most recent promotion, Mr. LK and I spent weeks discussing the pros and cons. We ultimately decided that DS is old enough to spend a bit more time on his own, and that the offer was too good to pass up. I will admit that moving up has impacted our family, but I would do it all over again. I am finally in a position where I am 100% fulfilled by my career, and any guilt that I feel about missing time with DS is more than made up for when I hear him talk with pride about what I do. DS values my work and can see first hand what it means to succeed in a career. I think that sets a good example for him and makes him proud of his Momma.
Mr. Lk’s job, on the otherhand, is about as family hostile as you can get. It sucks on pretty much every level, and we are working hard to get him out of there. Beware of places that demand rigid work schedules, question every leave request, and treat you like a cog in the machine. Those places make life much more difficult than it needs to be. Ugh.
Post # 9
@lovekiss: Your answer is so awesome! I love moms that have great examples like you do…so many people believe that it isnt possible but it really is. It’s probably not always easy…but so possible to balance family and home life.
FI’s job keeps him from getting home until after 9pm some nights, so it depends on how many kids we have as to how much I will work. If his job had more normal hours, then we could both work full time. We have talked about this so much…if we have one or two, I totally can balance life/work with his schedule, but if we have more than 2 for some reason I’m not sure if I can do all that on my own…we will have to see.
However, so many women do it now and that’s just the way life is. I think the key is to find a work environment that is flexible and allows you to do work at home or change your hours to suit your family needs. I know that’s why I’m not going to stay at my current job and am going back to school…hopefully with a grad. degree in the field I’ve chosen I can someday set my own hours/own my own practice and do what works best for us.
Post # 10
You CAN have it all. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. I get up, get the kiddo to pre-school, go to work and pick him up after work. That is no biggie there unless your job keeps you past 6 pm you shouldn’t have a problem. Most daycares are open until 5:30pm-7pm so problem solved. Once your child hits school age there are after school programs, daycare etc. School may end at 3ish, but that doesn’t mean you have to find a job that is 9-3. If that were true there would be almost no working Moms because I know of no job thhat quitting time is 3pm.
I also wouldn’t be quick to say you will just stay at home and you don’t want anyone, but family watching your children. If you have always worked then staying at home may well not be for you. I wanted to throw myself off a building after a year of staying home. If you want to have a child you need to accept that at some point someone besides your family will be in charge of your child’s needs- whether it happen at 6 months or at age 5. That doesn’t mean you aren’t raising your child, it means you are doing what you have to do to make it work! 🙂
Post # 11
Ladies, thank you for all the replies – it is very encouraging to hear your stories. Keep’em coming!
I think if I were to continue working, I would be more comfortable with daycare than a nanny (plus it’s good for the kid to have peer interaction, right?) – of course that would mean 10+ hours in daycare a day.
Question for bees with kids in elementary school – how do you do it if your child is enrolled in activities outside of school (soccer team, music lessons, etc.)?
Post # 12
I think the notion of having it all is misleading. There are only so many hours in the day and we each need to decide what tradeoffs we are willing to make.
My husband and I both work demanding jobs with long hours. Mine requires significant travel. Could I stay at my job with a toddler? Sure. Am I willing to make the personal sacrifices to do that? No. I am unwilling to travel multiple days a week and work 12 hour days which means my career will suffer. I am ok with that. I will still have a career but it will look different than if I did not choose to be a parent.
I do have a nanny – something I NEVER thought I would do. But it works out great for us – she has become family to our son, and given that we don’t have family around, it is great for him to have one more person that loves him. For us, it works better than daycare, but I think there are real benefits to daycare. Over time I hope to work less than I do now, and be there for afternoon activites, but we will see how that goes…..
Post # 13
There aren’t many jobs that will be ok with 9-3. After school care is actually really good for kids – they can learn an instrument, learn a language, learn social skills, etc etc etc. It won’t kill your kids to have activities for 2+ hours after school so that you can have a more fulfilling job. In fact, it could be fabulous for them.
Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean that you aren’t a human being, too – one worthy of fulfillment through a career and challenges outside the home. Allowing your kids more adventure and independence is also a good thing.