Working Mom

 

“My husband and I both work full-time. Our daughters go to daycare. I’m thinking of quitting my job. What do I do? How do I find balance as a working mom?”

- Anonymous, Rhode Island

Thank you for writing in. I have to hand it to you. You are a super mom! I have to start by saying that there are no right or wrong answers. It all depends on you and your circumstances.

My first piece of advice? Don’t rush into anything. If you are unhappy with your job, it wouldn’t hurt to dust off your resume and start looking for something that offers more flexibility. But don’t quit your job just yet. Give it some time. Talk to your husband. Weigh your options. Talk to your friends. See if there are any positions available in your field that can give you more flexibility. Something that could offer mommy hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or a freelance position where you can work remotely.

I’d also recommend looking into career and job boards on LinkedIn and posting a professional representation of you and your resume online. You can do as many job searches as you want, but keep the searching away from the office. You don’t want to jeopardize your current position.

If you want to quit your job completely, make sure you have enough money saved up first. It’s also smart to simplify your life. For the next six months, see if you can stop spending money on lattes, shoes, clothes, and other extras. It sounds silly, but it really helps!

Recently, some friends and I chatted about the work/home decisions you make when you become a mother.

“Should you go back to work full-time?”

“Should you stay home?”

“How do you balance it all?”

One friend admitted that when her first child was an infant, she felt like there was something missing at home. She decided she was a better mother when she worked full-time. (Later on, she was able to work part-time.) Another friend said she adored those hibernating infant years, but when she eventually went back to work full-time, something didn’t feel right. “Seeing the sitter take my daughter everywhere killed me.” She eventually started working from home part-time.

Another friend worked as an attorney for years. She told me that had she not quit for good when she started having children, there would have been no way she could balance it all with her two kids. But the only way she could do this was by cutting back on frivolous things and living on her husband’s income.

After working full-time my entire career, I decided to start a public relations consulting business when my son went to kindergarten. When I worked full-time, I was stressed all the time and the commute was awful. It took me years to even convince myself that consulting was right for me. But it was a risk I had to take.

That was in the summer of 2006 and I haven’t looked back. I started by sub-consulting for other pr agencies and within a few weeks, added my own clients. In the first year, I was able to make the same income as I did working full-time. But it took a lot of sweat and hiding in the pantry during conference calls so clients couldn’t hear my kids. Eventually, I only worked with clients that respected the fact that I’m mother. It has taken a long time, but I’m happier now than I have ever been. And I have a feeling you will be happy too if you give it some time.

Although I feel much more balanced working from home, I still have my days. There are weeks when I feel like I have things under control. Others, I’m on a deadline and I have no idea what to make for dinner, plus five loads of laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband and kids who are often OK with simple meals.

Nothing is perfect! But I sure am happier now.

I know a lot of women who are lucky enough to find jobs with mom-friendly hours. And I also know women who launched their own businesses and have followed their dreams. I also know a lot of women who are still trying to figure it all out. The bottom line is you have to do what’s best for you!

Jackie is a local writer and pr professional who blogs about her take on motherhood at www.ventingsessions.com and writes about it in her book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker.