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Any working moms in here?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I've definitely noticed a correlation between my ambition and my pregnancy/young child status.  Before having my son I was very focused and ambitious.  Then during my first pregnancy it seemed my entire being and thoughts were consumed with being pregnant.  Sadly I returned to work 6 weeks post-partum (DH is a stay-at-home-dad so I am our primary source of income.  With the lovely U.S. custom of zero maternity leave and zero short term disability we couldn't afford for me to stay home any longer).  I was pumping 2-3 times a day for that first year and honestly couldn't have cared less about my career.  I just wanted to get home at the end of each day.

 

DS turned 2 in September and sometime in the last 6 months or so I've noticed that old ambitious and career focused person slowly returning.  But now, BAM, pregnant again and it's TOTALLY gone.  A few months ago I joined a mentoring program through my job and so have been having meetings with a mentor.  Earlier this week I had the chance to interview a senior executive in our company.  He was very gracious with his time, and was giving me pointers on how to advance my career and how to 'play the game'.  I felt like such a fraud to be there listening to this stuff.  I don't give  a sh** about any of that right now!  (For instance, I'm at work typing this post instead of getting work done on my project)  Before getting pregnant I signed up for an intensive 2 week leadership course in next January and now I wish there was some way for me to back out of that commitment.  Maybe in another two years I'll be glad to have taken it?

 

The family arrangement DH and I have is a reversal of the traditional roles. I've always hated anything that reeks of traditional male/female roles anyway. For us, it was the only thing that made sense financially (and still does).  We thought it very important that our child/children be raised by us and not a daycare.  DH would have to work 2-3 jobs to bring in the income I can get by working 40 hours a week.  All that stuff is still true.  The reality, however is that it is FAR HARDER for me to leave a baby and go to work every day than it would be for DH.  And I think he struggles more with the mundane reality of daily childcare than I would.  Maybe there's more to those traditional roles than I would like to admit.

 

I really just wish I could stay at home with my babies! mecry.gif (Dang these pregnancy hormones, thinking all this stuff makes me want to cry)

 

Anyone else have thoughts to share?

post #2 of 22
Thread Starter 

OOPS!  I meant to post this in the July DDC.  Honestly I could belong in either (depending on what calculator I use I'm due 6/28 - 7/2) but I've mostly been hanging out in July.

redface.gif

I don't know how to change it.  Oh well.  This is just yet another silly thing I've messed up today. 

post #3 of 22

I work full time and go to school full time at night. I've been a straight A student up until now. I'm usually really dedicated to my schoolwork, but now I'm pretty much just trying to actually finish the semester. I blew off the SAT's and I'm not applying to any 4 year schools. 

I'm totally ready to be a stay at home mom. Luckily the timing works out that my husband should be getting a post doc job right about the time I run out of short term disability. I'm planning to be a stay at home mom and figure out the school stuff later. Since I've been in school to get out of my career (I've been doing it for 15 years I am over it now) its not a big jump to just stay home and be a mom. 

But yeah, all that crazy driving ambition I had pre-prenancy? Totally gone.

post #4 of 22

i hear you, my ambitious has gone way downhill since i found out i was pregnant.  i just got a job as a lawyer about a year and a half ago, have been totally motivated, and now it's like i've hit a brick wall.  this is my first pregnancy, so i don't have any kiddos at home, but i still find myself dreaming of traditional roles where i could nurse my morning sickness in bed rather than at the office :)  then i remind myself tons of other women have done this--somehow....

i haven't told my work yet, but i'm dreading any long term cases or trials around my due date.  i think you should totally do the leadership training, you'll be glad you did.  any tips on how to break the news to your boss?  anybody have horror stories on that situation going badly?

post #5 of 22

Yes..totally get it, I think. I waffle between wanting to be ambitious again, and on the ball, and totally ready to take on the world and deliver amazing work to clients--and wishing I could close the door to my office and just snooze for a few hours, and then maybe walk over to the stores and do a little shopping (and I *hate* shopping). I guess there is a third wish, which is that I were part-time SAHM mom/urban homesteader and part-time something-else-having-nothing-to-do-with-what-I-do-now. It's unclear what, but it is clear to me that I need to be working outside the home and communicating with other adults at least a little bit each day or week.

 

A few years back it really seemed like I was on track to being--who knows?--something or someone important (that seems so lame when I type it, but I think that was part of the draw), and then I had DD. It took me a good year to get my groove back at work, but even so I feel like even when I try my best, my work is middling at best, and my results for clients are just ok (sometimes not even that). I hear you about feeling like a fraud. I feel that pretty way pretty much every day at work these days--presenting myself as knowledgeable and competent when inside I'm so worn out and feeling so out of synch with what I'm doing that it seems there's no way I'm fooling anyone, least of all me. And it's mostly hard to work up the energy to care, but some days (today happened to be one of them) it hits me pretty hard that I'm not doing any of my jobs--my outside job, being a mom, being a wife (and let's not even get started on being a friend)--very well.

 

I don't know what the solution is in my case (or in anyone's, I suppose). We're a two-income family in an expensive part of the country with no reasonable move away on the horizon. It's hard to imagine we could make it if I quit, but perhaps it wouldn't be impossible if I worked part-time. The thing that really hit home recently was my SIL saying "You can't have it all. It's just not possible." (this was in response to my railing..albeit really weakly, about feeling mommy-tracked). The first thing to roll off my tongue was, "Well, I could have a nanny for 60 hours a week" (not really, of course, not unless I made the leap to a much higher paid job)... to which she rightly respond, "But that's not what you want, so you wouldn't be having it all."

 

I think she's right. I want to be an attentive, loving mom who is not constantly checking email on my Blackberry and shortchanging my daughter by responding to work issues when I should be focused on her. And I kind of want to be a high-powered muckety muck...but only kind of. Not enough to work up the energy and commitment to do it. Not so much that when I'm at work, I don't spend lot of energy wishing I were back home with my daughter. But on the flip side, I don't want it so little that I'm not afraid of walking away. I am pretty afraid of how things will change (presumably for the worse, at least in this regard) when #2 is born.

 

Anyway, whoa! Sorry for the long, whiney reply. The short response is: I think I understand what you're going through. Hang in there. 

post #6 of 22

I am right there with you ladies.  I am working full time and going to school.  It's hard!  I feel so bad on the days where I only see DD for 2 hours :(  Just makes me want to roll up and cry.  I am working until DH finishes school in 3 years and then I get to stay home with our babies.  And let me tell you, being in your first trimester and being a manager in a retail store is HARD!  

post #7 of 22

I always wanted to be the full-time worker and hubby was going to be the SAH parent, but he got a full-time appointment, which threw a kink into that, and lately I just don't even care. I would like it if I could find a fulfilling PART-time job. Right now I am finishing up my degree and should be finished right before the baby is born. I just don't like the idea of us both working full-time and having kiddo in day care... I know it works for some people but I do not think it would work super-well for us, based on our personalities and the way we tend to run our home. I'm slightly miffed that hubby forced my hand such that I have to be the part-timer (and I'll make 2-3x as much as him when I finish my degree, hence it would make sense for him to be a SAH parent but not for me) but I almost don't care at this point. I think I could still have a fulfilling job 3 days a week. I just need to FIND one.

post #8 of 22

I feel your pain mama..I am a full time employee and full time student.

I am blessed to be able to work from home but sometimes feel that it is a double-edged sword..I am home with Traftyn (3.5) but cant' spend time playing or teaching him because I have to "work" on the computer.  Seems as if I have to ignore him when he gets home from Montessori and that just breaks my heart.

I long to be able to give up the work thing and devote all of my time to him (and now also the new little one that will be arriving next year).

I have zero motivation for work and it's such a stressful position...lately I feel like there are black clouds surrounding me.

gloomy.gif

It's a shame that we live in a society where both parents basically have to work to make a living...I guess one of us could stay home but we'd have to sacrifice A LOT..perhaps it's worth looking into, but a roof over the head is nice and we love to go on camping trips/travel, buy organic when we can, and be able to have spending money.  So I guess in part I feel a bit of guilt for not finding ways to make it work..but then I am more the breadwinner in the family, so how does that work in allowing me to stay home anway *sigh*

post #9 of 22

Up until last week I was a social worker at a therapeutic riding program, teaching lifeskills and employability skills to young women. Then my SPD got too bad and I had to get off my feet.

Oddly enough, this baby has interrupted plans to go start another degree in midwifery in another province next September.

post #10 of 22

I stayed with DD until she was 3.5, and since then she's been in preschool for 40 hours a week while I am back at work. I feel a bit guilty about it, but we moved back to my hometown so that I could go back to work for my mom and work towards ownership of her store. She is way supportive of me taking care of kids, but now that I'm 12 weeks along, I'm not sure how it will work. We don't need my income specifically, but I need to work to earn equity in the store. The long-term plan is for me to earn more equity in the store, so I need to continue with involvement. Right now DH earns 75% of our income. So my motivation isn't tanking, per se, and it's not really an option to stop working since DH tanked his Army prospects when we chose to move back here to put my family business plan in motion. 

post #11 of 22

I work, but just to keep us comfortable. Dh could support us independantly. I work 2 12 hour shifts overnight sat and sun night. It is perfect for our family. When this baby is in school I plan to return to school full time and become a social worker. Once I am done that, dh will probably take early retirement since he will be 50ish by then (he is 43 now).

post #12 of 22



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by staryla View Post

I've definitely noticed a correlation between my ambition and my pregnancy/young child status.  Before having my son I was very focused and ambitious.  Then during my first pregnancy it seemed my entire being and thoughts were consumed with being pregnant.  Sadly I returned to work 6 weeks post-partum (DH is a stay-at-home-dad so I am our primary source of income.  With the lovely U.S. custom of zero maternity leave and zero short term disability we couldn't afford for me to stay home any longer).  I was pumping 2-3 times a day for that first year and honestly couldn't have cared less about my career.  I just wanted to get home at the end of each day.

 

DS turned 2 in September and sometime in the last 6 months or so I've noticed that old ambitious and career focused person slowly returning.  But now, BAM, pregnant again and it's TOTALLY gone.  A few months ago I joined a mentoring program through my job and so have been having meetings with a mentor.  Earlier this week I had the chance to interview a senior executive in our company.  He was very gracious with his time, and was giving me pointers on how to advance my career and how to 'play the game'.  I felt like such a fraud to be there listening to this stuff.  I don't give  a sh** about any of that right now!  (For instance, I'm at work typing this post instead of getting work done on my project)  Before getting pregnant I signed up for an intensive 2 week leadership course in next January and now I wish there was some way for me to back out of that commitment.  Maybe in another two years I'll be glad to have taken it?

 

The family arrangement DH and I have is a reversal of the traditional roles. I've always hated anything that reeks of traditional male/female roles anyway. For us, it was the only thing that made sense financially (and still does).  We thought it very important that our child/children be raised by us and not a daycare.  DH would have to work 2-3 jobs to bring in the income I can get by working 40 hours a week.  All that stuff is still true.  The reality, however is that it is FAR HARDER for me to leave a baby and go to work every day than it would be for DH.  And I think he struggles more with the mundane reality of daily childcare than I would.  Maybe there's more to those traditional roles than I would like to admit.

 

I really just wish I could stay at home with my babies! mecry.gif (Dang these pregnancy hormones, thinking all this stuff makes me want to cry)

 

Anyone else have thoughts to share?

 

All of this entire post, except that it takes BOTH of us working (me f/t at a well-paying job, him p/t at 2 crappy-paying jobs).  DH stayed home with dd#1 for the first year and hated hated HATED it.  We'd be better off financially if he did stay home with the kids, but it's just not happening.

 

But the ambition thing ... yeah.  100%.  Could not care less.  bag.gif

post #13 of 22

Thanks for starting this thread. It really helped me to hear that I'm not alone! I'm a high school teacher, and I feel like I just don't really give a damn about what's going on at work lately. It took two years and 4 miscarriages to get pregnant, and I can't help but constantly think that I'm not willing to get stressed out over anything at this point. I've always been really committed to and proud of my work, but lately I kind of resent having to go somewhere and deal with other people's crazy acting teenagers all day! Last year I was working on National Board Certification and developing new literacy programs for my school. Now, I just want to do the minimum to still do well and then get out of there. I feel like a teacher fraud for saying it, but it's true... and teaching comes with a lot of expectations of selflessness and commitment to other. But, I really just want to take care of myself and the little one and forget about everything else.

 

Luckily, we've saved enough for me to take next year off. I know from friends who are mamas that the ambition returns, but it's so hard for me to imagine right now.

 

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bk_hope_2_b_mama View Post

but lately I kind of resent having to go somewhere and deal with other people's crazy acting teenagers all day!


yeahthat.gif

post #15 of 22

When I was pregnant with my first, I was the office manager of a legal department.  So nobody was really managing me.  Which meant I researched pregnancy and birth all day long, answering the phone when it rang, and maintaining a flimsy facade of responsibility.  I think everyone figured I'd snap out of it when I was done being pregnant - but then I didn't come back from maternity leave eyesroll.gif

 

Now I work part time as a massage therapist and love my work, and wish I got to do a bit more of it.  I'm self-employed in a flexible job, I call all the shots, and every time I work I see immediate results of someone feeling better in their body.   Best of all, I'm not away from my family for 8 hours a day, just the few hours it takes for a couple appointments in the evening or to teach a class on a Saturday morning.

 

For me, it wasn't so much that I lost my ambition, but that the direction of my ambition changed once someone was growing inside me.  It was suddenly obvious that my daily work didn't reflect the things that were most important to me - namely, family.  I've done a lot of work around learning about parenting and all the decisions that go with it, which is seriously a job for the ambitious, especially if you want to do it in a way that happens to be different from the mainstream - it takes me a lot of work on myself and preparation/research to be confident and comfortable being in the world while making these choices.  I feel like by homebirthing/unschooling/ECing/nonvaxing/what-have-you, I'm being pretty ambitious in a way that's similar to the long-term view of building a career.  Except we're building a family!  Nothing at all to be ashamed of, in fact I'm pretty proud of my "loss" of career ambition :)

post #16 of 22

I love this last response!

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by staryla View Post

 

The family arrangement DH and I have is a reversal of the traditional roles. I've always hated anything that reeks of traditional male/female roles anyway. For us, it was the only thing that made sense financially (and still does).  We thought it very important that our child/children be raised by us and not a daycare.  DH would have to work 2-3 jobs to bring in the income I can get by working 40 hours a week.  All that stuff is still true.  The reality, however is that it is FAR HARDER for me to leave a baby and go to work every day than it would be for DH.  And I think he struggles more with the mundane reality of daily childcare than I would.  Maybe there's more to those traditional roles than I would like to admit.

 

I really just wish I could stay at home with my babies! mecry.gif (Dang these pregnancy hormones, thinking all this stuff makes me want to cry)

 

Anyone else have thoughts to share?


Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. It's such a fascinating and complex issue and something I am struggling with as well.

 

 I am a nurse and dh is a scientist, we are looking to move (long story, I am a travel nurse looking for a permanent position while pregnant ... awesome). I have so many more job opportunities to choose from than dh, whose work is regional (we want to move closer to the ocean and family).  There is so much wrapped up in me finding a job ... but if I do we will be making twice as much than if dh is working instead, will have health benefits, etc. It does make me happy to think of dh bonding with our sweet baby. BUT there are certain things ... I totally understand the pregnancy longing to just completely submerge yourself in this deep sweet simple maternal love. How am I supposed to be helping bring other people's babies into the world when my baby is at home needing me? I have the sweet homemaking fantasy of being this blissful hippie mother, sewing my children's clothes, growing my own root vegetables and then pureeing them into baby food, raising chickens ... (lol) Lastly, there are certain things I like to do to keep a home, like scrubbing the bathroom floor etc, which I doubt dh will ever be doing.

 

I go back and forth. Today I was standing in the shower and I was like "Sister. Just face it. You cannot be a blissed out hippie mother. You are a control freak. Let it be." Part of me is proud to be breadwinner, I love my work and I really don't want to leave it. I love our baby and yet the idea of staring at her all day long ... some mothers are so beautiful and patient, and are gifted at staying at home with their children, but I don't know that I would be. Honestly, dh is so much more patient than I am! And I honestly feel panicked when I think about not working.

 

Looking for advice I read this column recently, possibly on this website, where a poor mother wrote in and asked what she should do, her baby cries when she leaves for work (the woman only works like four days a week, for three hours a day, and her husband stays at home with the baby). The columnist wrote back something like, "You should really be working to change the world and try to find a way to stay at home with your baby. OR Find a way to bring both your baby and husband to work with you." And I was like, if this woman did not suffer from pp depression before writing in than she has to be suffering from it now! Totally unrealistic expectations of a new mother! Two parents staying at home, who the hell is buying the organic cotton diaper liners? Or her husband and baby coming to work with her? Can you imagine that, I'm helping a mother push her baby out while dh and LO wait at the nurse's station eating snacks. I am a nurse in a hospital. Am I crazy or is this some sort of alternative parenting nightmare? In this economy. Anyway it made me very upset.

 

The remedy is definitely a conversation like this, between real mothers with an honest self-image and no shame about what they need. Mothers working hard to do the best they can, whatever is right for them. 

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for everyone's replies.  Finding working moms in real life is hard because who has the time or energy to go out and socialize!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junebug2011 View Post


 I am a nurse and dh is a scientist, we are looking to move (long story, I am a travel nurse looking for a permanent position while pregnant ... awesome). I have so many more job opportunities to choose from than dh, whose work is regional (we want to move closer to the ocean and family).  There is so much wrapped up in me finding a job 

 

 

I've mentioned in some other posts that I moved 1000 miles across the country and started my current job when 7.5 months pregnant with DS.  So it's possible (though difficult!) to get a job while pregnant. 

 

In my fantasy world, DH and I both work part-time.  This would be perfect for us!  Because, though its hard to admit, I'm not sure I'm truly cut out for being a full time stay-at-home-mom. I think getting away to an adult world a few days a week is neccesary for me.  Also if DH could work more than the one day a week he currently works, I think it would greatly improve his confidence.  (Anyone who thinks some people are disparaging of stay-at-home-moms, should try telling strangers who ask "and what do YOU do?" that you are a stay-at-home-dad!). 

 

Since you are a nurse and there is currently a critical shortage of nurses you might have more options than I do.  Is there any possibility of you working less than full-time and getting health insurance?  As hard as the financial aspect is, it would be way easier to get less than full-time work NOW and adapt to living like that.  Than it would be to try to downsize to a part-time salary after you've been working for a while and your cost of living has crept up to match your income.  It sounds like you actually like what you do which is great!  I, uh, really don't like what I do.

 

This discussion has made me think that I need to research more into part-time options for me.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained right?  I'm scared to get too caught up in my fantasy because it will probably be dashed. And I'll admit, I'm also scared of change. hide.gif We're making things work right now with some sacrifices from all of us (DS somehow always wakes up before I leave for work at 6am.  This morning he told me he was coming to work with me and waved bye-bye to his daddy.  I am SO SAD).  I'm also a financial control freak and have been avidly reading financial blogs, listening to Dave Ramsey and so forth for years.  We're currently on our way to getting out of debt and have a decent start on retirement savings.  If I stop working full-time we won't be able to keep on track for any of that and we'll be back to trying to keep our heads above water financially.  Is it really worth it to put my family in such a precarius financial situation just so I can stay home with my babies, when they are well-cared for and loved by their stay-at-home-dad?  Would that make me selfish? 

 

Ack!  When I was a young girl I was always told I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up.  You can be president, you can be an astronaut, you can be a ballet teacher, and of course you'll also be a mom.  I never thought it would be so hard to reconcile the mom part of life with the rest of it.

post #19 of 22

I wanted to thank everyone for your replies as well.  This week, I broke the news at work, and though they have been great about it, the questions about my plans have come up.  I have always imagined myself a stay-at-home Mom, and thankfully, though it will certainly be tighter, I think my dh and I can make that work, but there won't be a whole lot of extra.  This is our first LO so I don't really know if I will love being at home all the time (although, simply based on my guess about myself, I think I would be very content). I work for a small publishing company and have been here for five and a half years, and since it is a young company, that is practically from the beginning.  I know that in many ways I am not replaceable.  I have relationships with customers, and I have been responsible for so much.  They would love for me to come back, if just part time.  I just don't know!  I like my job, but I can't say that I completely adore it, and never really considered it a "career" since I knew I really just wanted to be a Mom.  But it is good, interesting work, and maybe if I could work part-time at home, that would work for us and the extra income would be helpful. 

 

Thanks all for letting me vent.  I remember the struggles that I saw my friends go through with this, and I thought I wouldn't have a problem...that I would just stay home and be happy, but it is hard to let go of the responsibility that we have held, and been proud of in our work. 

 

By the way, I love this... Thank you!

 

Quote: wake_up
It was suddenly obvious that my daily work didn't reflect the things that were most important to me - namely, family.  I've done a lot of work around learning about parenting and all the decisions that go with it, which is seriously a job for the ambitious, especially if you want to do it in a way that happens to be different from the mainstream - it takes me a lot of work on myself and preparation/research to be confident and comfortable being in the world while making these choices.  I feel like by homebirthing/unschooling/ECing/nonvaxing/what-have-you, I'm being pretty ambitious in a way that's similar to the long-term view of building a career.  Except we're building a family!  Nothing at all to be ashamed of, in fact I'm pretty proud of my "loss" of career ambition :)
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by staryla View Post

 

Ack!  When I was a young girl I was always told I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up.  You can be president, you can be an astronaut, you can be a ballet teacher, and of course you'll also be a mom.  I never thought it would be so hard to reconcile the mom part of life with the rest of it.


Thank you so much for this! It is soooo comforting to hear other people's stories. I know that we can make it. For every day that I want to lay down and give up there is another day when I can wake up and say, "we can do this. I can keep doing this for as long as it takes". My mother and her generation were pioneers in that they fought to keep their careers and be mothers at the same time. My mom told me the story of interviewing for her dream job (meaning she had planned and prepared for this for years) when she was largely pregnant with me. Her potential boss flat out told her, "You seem like a nice person, now get out of my office."

 

Things are different for us. We realize the simple beauty of slowing things down to spend time with our children during these special years, but our needs and drives are no less complex. The whole point of being an attentive mother is not to follow what everyone else does, or thinks you should do, but to figure out for yourself what works best for you and your family. There are trials and errors, victories and embarassments, nights of worry and tears and feelings of guilt and fear about the future. All that complexity is the definition of a good mother :)

 

Having a huge heart and loving your children more than anything means there will be moments when you feel sad, stuck, inadequate. But being a good mother makes you better at everything else that you do. And being a strong woman (navigating this complex world with courage and strength) makes you such a better mother.

 

So proud of everyone, you're doing this. 

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