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Working Mothers - Page 3

post #41 of 222

nt

oops, sorry... post-post remorse
post #42 of 222
Great thread. I am surprised to find all these working moms here because sometimes it seems that most of the moms here are SAHMs which can really make you feel bad. I work three days a week from 8.00 - 4.00 pm and I love my job. I wouldn't go so far saying it turns me into a better person but I feel definitely more well-balanced than I did when I was not working. Somebody said it before that there is no right and wrong and as every child is different so is every family. I think with the lacking support for families in this country mothers will have to face the dilemma of SAHM or being at work and not there for your child. After my ds was born I went back to work full time and dh, than still in school, took care of ds which also made me feel bad. I wanted to be there for him but unfortunately I was the money maker. 3 years later I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my kids and I worked hard to create a part-time position for me. I found a good day care place for my daughter. They fed her the milk I pumped and feed only organic food to the children. Dh and I feel both good about the place and dd seems happy too. I think it is really important to feel GOOD about the place. It's a long day for the kids and you want them to be in good care. As for the biting I wouldn't be so patient. If this would continue I guess I would ask to expel the biter or I would find another place for my child. We pay $1600 for 2 children. I know it's outragous!
post #43 of 222
Thread Starter 
Wow I am so excited to see all the replies this thread is getting. I had put in a request for a forum on this topic and was told to start a thread first to see how active it would become. Thanks for all the posts. Let's try to keep this going.

to answer an earlier question - I pay $45 a day. SO expensive. I don't know how we afford it.

It makes me feel so much better to hear from everyone who can relate to what I am going through. I also think it is wonderful to hear from the working moms who DO like to work. There is nothing wrong with that at all and they should not be made to feel guilty either. I think sometimes it is expected that only SAHMs can be the best parents. Good parents come in all shapes, sizes and working situations. Since this website and magazine is about Mothering - I say we honor them all.


Out of all the jobs I have ever had being a parent is the hardest and best. I get so sick of my coworkers who call me a slacker and say I have two days off a week. HUH! They don't have children of course and I tell them that it is much easier to be in our office sitting at a computer all day than it is to be chasing my toddler around all day long. I tell them "at least you can go to the bathroom by yourself and take a lunch break by yourself" The company I work for is still very childless and not that family friendly so I run into so many issues there as well.
post #44 of 222

don't believe in guilt

Hi, I work full time for money, I'm a single mother and knew
before i got pregnant that i would need to work.
I made chooses I'm responsible for my life and making it good.
guilt serves no purpose, if I'm not doing what you should
be, what I need to do, I do something different. I
use my freedom and my power and am so pleased to have both.

That said i wish the university if work for was more family friendly,
That the daycare afflicted with the school wasn't so extremely
expensive and on the very far side of campus, i must drive.
I'm lucky to have a manager that allows me flexibility to nurse at lunch.
post #45 of 222
Thread Starter 
you are so right pamann about guilt


If we are feeling guilty all of the time - are we leaving room for feeling good and happy and sending possitive messages to our little ones?

guilt is normal and ok to feel - we just need to remember to not let it take over our lives.
post #46 of 222
Moonbucket,

Oh my goodness, no wonder you're exhausted!! It sounds like you and your dh are working so hard. I understand a bit of what you mean about working from home being a special challenge: I had a position this summer where I had the flexibility to do a lot of the work from home if I wanted. If I did it at the workplace, it was from 8-4:30, and I missed my babelet, especially since she was a 5-5:30 pm bedtime babe! So working from home seemed great, and I got to feel like I was 'around' the whole time. But suddenly my 81/2 hour shift took about 12 hours to do, because I was going back and forth, and I think I also overcompensated some for working at home by actually doing more, so they wouldn't think I was a slacker! And that was just working from home with a finite, assigned workload, so it sounds like you really have your work cut out for you (although, you know, you're probably doing a better job of being there for your son than you realize through your exhaustion).

I understand you need to put in a lot of hours to pay off your initial investment. Is there anywhere you can simplify, to give yourself some of the time with your family that you seem to sense you all need? Financially and organizationally, could you manage to set aside some time? I noticed that you're also busy with church stuff on Sundays -- is it possible to cut back? I have no idea what your thoughts are on the subject, or the details of your involvement, so I don't want to offend. My stepdaughter asked her dad once why he didn't go to church much. He's a lapsed Italian Catholic, and it's a bit complex, particularly since she was very keen on catechism at the time, but he explained that once he had children he felt so blessed to have them in his life that it was important to him to have the time to spend with them, and that became the more important way to honour the blessings in his life than to attend services regularly. So perhaps you could cut back on some church commitments in order to honour the blessing of creation in your own life by spending the time you crave with your son?

Kudos to you for all your hard work and your care and love for your son!
post #47 of 222
I, too, am very happy to see this thread so active! I had been regularly reading Mothering on my lunch breaks, but almost totally stopped after reading so many hurtful anti-working mother posts. I have read many posts by SAHMs who say that it is a choice and that if you have to work it is only because you have made bad choices in life. As many of you on this thread have demonstrated, that is not usually true.

I work about 45 hours per week as a lawyer, but unfortuntely I'm going to have to seriously increase my hours. I tried for about a year to find a part time job, or even a 40 hour per week job close to my home, but those jobs just don't exist much in my field. My dh was laid off when I was 8 months pregnant, so he is a SAHD by circumstance. He has been doing some contract work to help make ends meet while keeping dd out of day care, but things are slow right now, which puts a lot of pressure on me.

It's very hard to balance housework and child care with dh. He's with her for 11 hours a day without me, so he really needs some relief when I get home. We pretty much evenly split childcare evenly when I get home until I go to bed. The I am up with dd at night, who is usually up every hour or so, even at one year old. DH cooks and does dishes during the week, but we split other housework 50-50. When we both worked full time before I was pregnant, I did about 80% of the housework, so this is a big improvement, but not what I would really call equal considering how much I work outside the home.

The hardest thing for me is that I feel like no one really understands. I am the only woman attorney in my office with children, and all of the men attorneys with children have wives that do basically all the childcare are housework, so I feel like people don't understand that I'm having trouble getting as much work done as the men even though I have these additional responsibilities. I have to somehow find time to make up the lost hours from pumping and taking my daughter to doctor appointments, etc. I would love to be a SAHM, but that's not realistic right now. I'm glad hear from other WOHMs who are struggling with similar issues.
post #48 of 222
I hear you, Ocean! I'm also an attorney, and I used to bill well over 200 hours per month before dd was born. But there's no chance I could do that now (and be a responsible parent, that is). Fortunately, I was able to make the switch to academe, which allows me to have more reasonable hours, but it also came with a pay cut. Law is SUCH a parenting-unfriendly environment!! It's no shock that so few women associates and partners have children in comparison with their male peers. Dunno if you read the book _I Don't KNow How She Does It_ (don't, if you haven't), but the main character, Kate (an investment banker) makes up non child related excuses to cover up the real, child-related issues for her absence/tardiness/what have you. That rang true for me, too.

It also sounds like your dh could be doing more of the domestic tasks (cleaning, etc.), given the present division of labor. I hope you're able to negotiate something more in that regard. My dh also works (more hours than I do), so I shoulder more of the cleaning tasks (and also take care of dd from when I get home through the night and then in the morning till our childcare person arrives).
post #49 of 222
I, too, work full-time outside the home. I really don't feel guilty, but that is because she is always with family. We are fortunate enough not to have to rely on daycare. I work early and get off work about 3ish and dh works late afternoon and doesn't have to be in until 1p. We just have a babysitter for about 3 hours in the afternoon and it is either one of dd's two grandmothers or one of my aunts. It works great and she gets to have weekly interaction with her relatives.

I am expecting #2 in about 10 weeks and I have a feeling that things may get a little more complicated. I am hoping to be able to cut back on my hours after my 12 week leave, but don't know if finances will allow.....
post #50 of 222

Working mom too

I too am a working mom. I am here now, infact. My son is 4 months old. I was only able to take the allotted 3 months of maternity leave because of our financial situation. It was soooooo hard finding child care for my son, especially at his young age. I went with a nanny/babysitter who comes to my home. I pay her $200/week, and it is totally worth it. She is wonderful with my baby and not having to drop him off anywhere in the morning is a real time saver.

My biggest problem has been continuing to breastfeed while working full-time. I pump at work, but only manage to get about 1/2 of what he needs during the day while I am gone. I stored up a supply of milk while I was out on maternity leave, but the amount is now dwindling. I am taking tons of Fenugree and Blessed Thistle.
Any suggestions of anything else I can do to help increase the volume of what I pump?

As for the daycare problems... I highly recommend that you look into a nanny.

Concerned working mom...
post #51 of 222
I work outside the home full time.. and I guess I feel guilty because I like it.. I figure I must be a terrible mom for actually enjoying my time out in the world alone.

Our daycare situation is a house of cards... my husband and I stagger our schedules.. MIL helps out one day a week and my unemployed best friend helps out one day a week. If one of them can't make it, we have to scramble.. and I know one day my friend will get a real job. I don't know what we will do then. Probably DH will SAH until we figure something else out.

I used to be really defensive about working.. saying I would SAH except that I am the primary earner... which I am. But I now realize I would not want to SAH full time. So now I am wrestling with whether that makes me a terrible mother.

I'd like to know how other people feel about balancing mothering with trying to still keep one's place/voice in the world. Is it really awful to want both? So many SAHMs here say it is....
But I still seem to need it. And I feel I am more fully engaged with DS when I am with him because I can renew myself at work...
post #52 of 222

Re: Working mom too

Quote:
Originally posted by melissam528
I pump at work, but only manage to get about 1/2 of what he needs during the day while I am gone. I stored up a supply of milk while I was out on maternity leave, but the amount is now dwindling. I am taking tons of Fenugree and Blessed Thistle.
Any suggestions of anything else I can do to help increase the volume of what I pump?
Are you renting a hospital-grade pump? If not, I strongly recommend that you do. It does make all the difference.

Also, re nannies, they're great (that's what I use), but they're frequently very expensive, particularly if you follow all the tax rules.
post #53 of 222
I think a lot of ot depends on how parent friendly your work environment is. I guess I am really lucky. If my kids are sick
I can take a sick day or work from home, I can switch my workday and hours around as long as it doesn't get too crazy. On the other hand it must be really hard to work 45 or more hours a week with colleagues who don't have to deal with these issues.

Generally, I like what somebody wrote about guilt and how it doesn't serve anybody. I refuse to believe that SAHMs are the better mothers and sometimes it sounds to me that they are also a little resentful because it is tough being a full-time mom with no break. That doesn't mean that I don't find the time spent with my kids rewarding but it can be also hard.
post #54 of 222
Melissa, there are a lot of threads in the breastfeeding - getting started and overcoming difficulties forum on pumping and increasing/maintaining supply. You'll probably find a lot of really good tips there.

Marlena and Ocean, I hear you on law being a parenting-unfriendly career! I have never regretted my decision to go into law (even with sky-high loans) until I had my son, and realized that even though I'd purposefully switched from full-time litigation to working for an environmental non-profit to cut down my hours and enable me to have more of a life, it's still not a job that lends itself to part-time work. My boss approved my request to work four days a week (with concomitant 20% paycut) yesterday, though, and I think that's probably the best I can do. With 45 minutes commuting each way, it's still going to be a long day away from my baby.

I start back to work on December 30 after 22 weeks off, and I'm so scared. I love my job, and I've worked really, really hard to get where I am, but I wish I didn't have to leave my son so soon. If only we lived in Sweden or France, and had a year off work guaranteed! I never thought I'd want to be a SAHM, and I don't want to be one long-term, but I'd love to be able to stay home until DS is one or so and then transition back gradually.

My husband is going to stay home for two months, using the rest of his Family and Medical Leave Act leave. I think he's pretty nervous, as he's never envisioned himself as the SAHD type - at least not for a baby, maybe for older kids. Then we're hoping to find a nanny that we can share with another family. We still have to find both a nanny and the family to share with....keeping my fingers crossed on both counts. I am just not enthralled with the idea of group daycare or family daycare, as my son is pretty high-needs and at least now needs/wants to be in arms all the time.

Anyone have any ideas on how to find and hire AP friendly nannies? Assuming that many will not have heard the term "AP" to describe this parenting style, what kinds of questions would you ask to find the right person?

edited to add: posted at the same time as racermom. I wish my workplace were family-friendly, but even as an environmental non-profit dedicated to conserving the oceans "for future generations," it's about the least family-friendly place imaginable! We have a policy *against* telecommuting, and no flextime policy. In fact, our employee manual sets core hours that you have to be there, or take leave - but if you work overtime, tough luck! No comp time or flex hours. Grrr. There are no other mothers with young kids there (even in an office of 50+ people) because they've all been driven away.
post #55 of 222
Jane, dunno if this will be helpful to you, but our nanny's originally from Ghana, where breastfeeding, cosleeping and having lots of close contact with your children is (I understand) the norm. It was the nanny's personality that drew me to her, though - she seemed genuinely caring, and her references (and now my experience) confirmed this. We went through an agency, btw - it wasn't cheap, but it significantly took the hassle and stress out of an already stressful process. They did the background checks, criminal history checks and reference checks, lined up a slew of folks to interview all at once, etc. They'd worked with most of the nannies for years, and were knowledgeable about each. We called back only our present nanny for an interview at our home, and have been with her ever since.
post #56 of 222
Melissa,
A good pump matters....but it does not have to be hospital-grade, IMHO.

I like my Medela mini-electric, $80 at Target.

Here is a great link on milk supply:
http://www.drjaygordon.com/bf/galact.htm

and one on pumping:

http://www.drjaygordon.com/bf/worknursetips.htm

Make sure you're drinking LOTS of water!
(64--80 ounces a day).
post #57 of 222

AP nanny's

We have a very "AP" nanny in her own way. I think if I ever called her that to her face she would say "huh??". She is older than most nannies’ I interviewed (late 50's), raised 3 boys of her own and has one grandchild. I think that because she was a parent herself and had worked long term for other families she was more "naturally" AP.

First of all I was specific with my agency that I wanted only someone who had infant experience. Since I would be going back to work when my son was 3 1/2 months I wanted someone who was used to infants. Then, I asked very specific questions when I interviewed each one such as "what would you do if my son cried every time you tried to put him down?”, "what would you do if he was inconsolable?" "Have you ever had to take care of a colicky/high needs infant? What specifically did you do?". Another question I liked was "Tell me how you spend a typical day with an infant, a toddler, etc” Then I listened very closely- not so much to what she said but how she said it. I am a big believer in body language.

I also talked to her about my nursing/pumping and was she comfortable handling breast milk (a lot aren't!!) and if she was willing to prepare homemade baby food once he got older. I also asked her about willingness to read articles, magazines and books related to childcare. This was important to me, I wanted to make sure that she would be open and not defensive (as if I was questioning her abilities). Since I was a new Mom I wanted someone who wouldn't just take over and be controlling.

I think they more you talk with them (each interview was well over an hour) and you "test run" (invite them over to spend the afternoon with you) you will get a sense of whether they share your values. The bottom line is you may not be able to find someone who is 100% "AP" but my feeling was as long as the big things were covered: no CIO, ok w/ babywearing, breast feeding, no TV, lots of reading and out door activities, no junk food or smoking then I was happy. You are probably going to have a hard finding one who is fully open to cloth diapering (most will however agree to do it) and it will be almost impossible to find one who will EC.

One last note: Don’t assume anything! Just because one nanny cooks meals don’t assume yours will. Have a written contract spelling out everything i.e.: responsibilities, hours, pay vacations/holidays.

It took us a long time and many interviews to find the right one. But I can tell you that every day that leave for work and I watch her carry him to the window to wave “bye bye” as I drive away that I know in my heart is loved, safe and happy with her.
post #58 of 222
wow, marlena and hollybear'smom, great advice! thanks!
post #59 of 222
Quote:
Originally posted by asherah
I work outside the home full time.. and I guess I feel guilty because I like it.. I figure I must be a terrible mom for actually enjoying my time out in the world alone.
I don't think that is anything to feel guilty for at all.

Quote:
But I now realize I would not want to SAH full time. So now I am wrestling with whether that makes me a terrible mother.
No, of course not. I know that there are a lot of dads that wouldn't want to be a full time SAH father and no one thinks they are bad fathers. There are so many feelings I have about child raising, and I feel like I'm either a bad person or a bad mother, but standing back and looking at the big picture, I feel like my child is clearly thriving and happy most of the time. There are still things I need to work on, though. Right now I don't work--my plan was to quit my job and stay home for the first year, but I didn't have a job worth going back to. I've thought about looking for one again, then I think maybe if I can somehow look at doing stuff around the house as "my job" then maybe I will feel more productive. But that never seems to work. I can't do what I feel that I need to do and find myself becoming depressed and frustrated. I even start to wonder if I had it to do all over again, would I have a child. Like Rockergirrl said, parenting is hard (which I don't think I ever truly comprehended until I had a child) and there was one day last week where I was wishing that I could just revert back to my old come home from work and have the rest of the day to myself.

I know that if I started working again, my husband would immediately hire the cleaning people to come once a week, though. He hates to clean, but he likes the house clean.
post #60 of 222
I'm brand-new to MDC, and I'm happy to find such a large group of employed mamas here. I am a full time elementary school teacher. I returned to work when my son, who's now 2, was 5 months old. He has been at the same home child care since that time, and we are all thrilled with it. We pay what I feel is a lot ($50 a day) but we do not have to pay for days our son doesn't attend. Since I am a teacher, I need not pay our provider during school vacations, when ds is at home with me. In the summer, he usually attends child care for 2 days each week, and I do private tutoring at clients' homes on those days. Lots of other children of my colleagues attend the same childcare as my son, as do several of my students and their siblings. It makes for a nice, close-knit community of people my son and I are comfortable with. He comes to my school with me each morning at 7:30, and he plays in my classroom until 8:15 while I do prep work, and at 8:15 we dash over to his care provider's home, which is 2 miles from where I work. It's a hectic, rushed morning (he eats breakfast in the staff lounge at my school!) but it works for us. I worked and pumped until ds was 10 months old, we are still nursing at 27 months, and ds spends half of each night cosleeping with my husband. I'm glad for the 2 week vacation I started at 12:25 today! I hope others of you employed mamas wil have lots of time off to rest, too!
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