Thursday, March 10, 2005

Working Mother Dilemma

Janie quote of the day... "And guess what Mom. I haven't picked my nose all day."

I've been kind of confused lately because I've started to doubt what I'm planning. I have been going through grad school with the intention of having this great degree and becoming a powerful mucky muck instead of someone who does her work from the dining room table in jeans and a t-shirt. I want to make the decisions instead of just giving information to those who do. And when I graduate, if I stay in my same company, I'll have a very good chance of getting such a position. All along that has been what I've wanted. Matter of fact, when I was a kid, playing office was my favorite game. I had a desk, manual typewriter, name plate, handmade business cards, and toy computer. Before I ever became a teenager I had read How to Dress for Success cover to cover more than once. I wanted to be scary smart, make changes, to have power, to be important. And money doesn't hurt either.

So I'm getting closer to this as I should graduate a year from May. I spoke to my boss, and she's fine about me working part time next school year so that I could get myself working back in Arizona and in an office right after graduation. She mentioned how much they love me and want me back and how she'd help me in getting a good position. So I should be happy, right?

That night, during one of my foggy stumbling naked trips to pee, I had a thought. What am I going to do with a high powered career and two kids? Not just one who will be in elementary school, but one who will be only one year old? How do I do this? Is it wrong? My mind started racing and soon I was wide awake on the couch, trying to let some stupid 3am tv show ease my mind back into lala land so I could rest.

Working at home, I've been able to get Janie to preschool at 9, and pick her up whenever. I can volunteer easily and have her here with me when she's sick. When Matt gets called out of town for weeks, I take care of it. When I travel out of town for work, I arrange to bring her with me or for family to watch her. I handle all childcare issues. It's not that Matt doesn' t help out, he does and he watches her quite often like when I'm in school. When I have this baby he'll be watching the two of them alone and he's not at all worried (and maybe he should be). I'd like to think that things are split 50/50 just like the magazines say we should do it, but let's face it, we've come a long way baby but we're still carrying more responsibility for the children and the house than our husbands. Case in point, when Matt and I got into our last argument over the messy house, he complained that I had to hire someone to do my job, i.e. clean the house. (Hmmm Matt, let's see what's wrong with that statement. First, the house is not my job but ours, and secondly isn't hiring someone a way to try to fix this problem of having a messy house? I am, afterall, only in my last month of pregnancy while working full time while going to grad school part time while raising a child. But I digress.)

Point is, I think all of this will get much harder once I start working in a real office again. I would have to either hire someone to be in my home, or drop off my kids in the morning somewhere. Somewhere, someone... I'm not comfortable with these. And it will all be on my shoulders, for me to figure out, plan and feel guilty about.

I guess I could work at home longer. But I've been doing it for 4+ years and I'm going stir crazy. I miss people and dressing up and my office and meetings in person. I hate being in the house all day every day. If it weren't for school I wouldn't have made it this long. Plus, my work has been putting up with me telecommuting only because I will eventually graduate and hopefully move back. They see an end and so they're willing to let me do this. Otherwise, there's no one else doing this. Trust me.

Could I beg for flexible hours or a flexible schedule? Maybe, but they don't work well for the female executive trying to succeed. I could very well end up on the Mommy track, which is short, frustrating, and not very well paid. Matter of fact, I could lose my job altogether if I don't show enough committment. Why work so hard all these years preparing to do a job and then only do it part way?

Pazel, isn't this what you've been working for all along?

I thought that having my baby while I was in school would be ideal. I could be with him while I still worked at home. Sadly, it's not going to happen until my last year and would have been much better my first year, but that's infertility for you.

I don't regret this pregnancy or baby or anything. I guess I'm just cursing infertility once again for putting this off until the last moment. And cursing the role of women for having such a large burden as to childcare. I mean, no one ever asks a man if he's going to keep working after he has a baby. And I'm cursing myself for not having an answer. How come it has to be either or and not both? How do women make this work? And will I hate myself for it? Am I never happy?

Please don't bash me for wanting to work outside the home, I'm looking more for different ideas or solutions or how to make it work.

How can a mother make it work working outside the home?

9 Comments:

Blogger Lala said...

You said Lala Land, hee hee. I wish I had a suggestion or two for you. I struggled with being a single parent who had to work for ten years. My son loved daycare because it gave him lots of playtime and socialising. I'll never regret that. I just wish I could have been happier in my own job and made more money. I wish you the best of luck with these choices.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Jen P said...

Pazel, I've been trying to post this for AGES but stupid blogger wouldn't let me! Grrrr.

My sister-in-law is a partner for a very large, very high-powered firm. She worked her ass off for years to get this job and I understand her completely wanting to keep it and be a mother. So for her and her husband, getting a nanny was the only right choice for them.

Tamsin comes at 6:30am every morning and helps little A get dressed, have his breakfast (he's a very early riser) and start his day. In the earlier days that took a lot longer, so I think she comes around 7:30 or 8am now. They work with a supervised programme, in that she sets goals with A's parents and they meet a national standard of care. Letters, words, numbers, colours, zoo animals and outings, movies, etc. It's all up to my SIL to set the pace and review how A is doing.

A goes to play group 3 or 4 times a week and in between they go to the zoo or ride the train or go grocery shopping (for small things...like "Let's make Sandwiches Day"). He loves it and my SIL can keep her job, be a mother and watch her son develop and progress beautifully. Tamsin keeps a daily log of what A ate, what they did, when he slept, milestones, areas to work on, etc and his likes and dislikes so that when SIL comes home they have things to talk about. Tamsin leaves around 5:30pm and A goes to bed around 7:30pm. He's almost 3 and it's worked for them since he was 12 weeks old. Of course it's changed and evolved as he got older but it's worked beautifully. Tamsin is their 3rd nanny and they didn't give up looking for the 'perfect fit'.

Now that SIL is due with #2 in 10 days, she looks forward to spending time with the little one and A but will go back to having a nanny once her maternity leave is over. I'm not sure if Tamsin will be the only provider or if she will have extra 'help' but I assume they will do the very same for #2 as they did for A.

I think you show tremendous courage bettering yourself through education and working hard to be a good mothehr, employee and woman. You have to feel good about YOU to succeed in this life and be a good role model for your kids.

Explore all your options for child care provisions and look into independent nanny organisations. I hope it goes well and your little son is born happy and healthy.

Best wishes

7:36 PM  
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9:35 AM  
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10:03 AM  
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1:01 PM  
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12:21 PM  
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10:18 AM  
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I like to set up a link to you. What you think about?
It does will be a pleasure, if you contact me. Perhaps we have some same ideas. Wish you success with your site.

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8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:35 AM  

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