What We Gain from Working

Photo Source  Amazon   Not an affiliate link.

Photo Source Amazon Not an affiliate link.

I feel like as working mothers, we often hear {& even talk amongst ourselves} of what we lose by having a career and family. Things like extra time during the day with our kiddos, the ability to sign them up for the early afternoon dance class, to make it to the 11a library story time.

In reading Getting to 50/50, I learned there’s a whole other side of the coin that we working mothers can & probably should focus on: what we, our spouses & our children gain by us having a job beyond motherhood.

When Zach & Lucy arrived 18 months ago, my primary job titles of Underwriter, Wife, Blogger, & Friend {amid a few others} were tossed in the air & Mother suddenly came down first. And during those 16 weeks I was privileged to take as maternity leave, I was just that, a new Mom. I was lucky that thanks to my 50/50 husband {who took the 12 week paid paternity leave his then-company offered} as well as family & friends & supportive coworkers, meals, house cleaning & my job were mostly taken care of while we learned what mothering {& fathering} two babies at once was like.

Yet I was {& am} still those other titles. And it’s the others that help keep me feeling validated & sane & focused on the joy that Motherhood brings. At the end of every work day, I rush home thrilled to be reunited with L & Z, no matter how rough the night before or morning rush to daycare had been. Getting to 50/50 reveals that working women have an advantage of having another title besides Mother. That the titles of Employee & CoWorker can be powerful to our self-esteems.

As I sit in the back of our ’12 Dodge van wearing cute Loft clothes & boutique jewelry, resting on a Scout bag full of L & Z’s Gymboree holiday clothes, I’m literally feeling another benefit to my working. I have the luxury of spending money we couldn’t to if I didn’t work. Yes, as the argument often is, my salary vs how much we pay monthly in daycare doesn’t have us too much in the black. But we factored in my {hopefully} yearly raises & the lowering cost of each daycare class. And we found our current situation equaled in all our favors.

Working moms also have something to be proud of besides taking pride from our children. I’m proud of my career & my accomplishments {& my husband is too}.

The benefits that we working women give our husbands were ones I’d put in place in my life without really realizing it. We give security of a second income.

But I hadn’t thought of it this way. Men who are sole breadwinners might never have the ability to drop back & punt if things aren’t going well in their career or if they’re feeling pulled in a different direction.

My husband traded one career path for another just a couple months into our marriage. We went from DINKs to a couple months of just my salary with the addition of a school loan. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. And he couldn’t have without the security my steady income continues to bring.

I mentioned female self esteem above &, ladies, not to get too far into sex & the working mom {because I’ve already gone there}, but there is something to be said about a wife feeling self confident. And that’s another benefit to both 50/50 working spouses. ;-)

50/50 men with working wives tend to do more- more sharing of household tasks, more daycare pick up, more attending school functions, more days caring for sick kiddos. Which means, they have more common ground with their working wife. Common ground means talking & open communication & less alienation that can sometimes occur with sole breadwinner/SAHM situations when spouses can no longer relate to the others daily life.

In 2006, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development {NICHD} published it’s findings after a 15 year study of over 1300 kids. And guess what, kids in daycare & kids at home with mom didn’t come out that differently.

I loved the finding that it wasn’t the amount of hours spent with your child that were found to be as important as the quality of that interaction. After being away from them for most of the day, once we’re home, the husband & I are all hands on deck with Lucy & Zach. We’re reading, playing, dancing & eating & reading {I’m raising lil book nerds much to my delight!} together until bedtime.

Getting to 50/50 showed how kids of 50/50 dads got another benefit- more time with Dad. In families like mine where I work later, Lucy & Zach’s dad does daycare pick up & plays with them til I join in. Dads play differently with their kids & children benefit from that interaction.

I think I’d be remiss too if I didn’t add that I feel there’s another benefit to our children gained from our working. That they see us working. Our daughters grow up knowing their hard work in school can lead to a fulfilling career they can take pride in. They can also see us as real life role models too. They share their bad days at school as they see that everyday at work isn’t all fun & games either.

And one more gain for all, but I think especially for us women, we realize we can’t be perfect. That very good is good enough. I’ve always strived for perfection. Having two kids at once while also juggling my other beloved titles means I can’t be involved with every non-essential detail at work, I might miss sending a birthday card to a friend, the LWM post might be a few days late & L & Z might go to daycare in wrinkled clothes & with squeeze tube applesauce vs homemade. And that’s ok.

Overall, I’m seeing that I, my husband & my silly toddlers are gaining more than we’re losing with me as a working Mom. I’m looking forward to exploring & putting more of Getting to 50/50 concepts in action as we continue to move forward as an aspiring to 50/50 family.

About the author

Suz Brown has worked in the insurance industry since 2004 & has enjoyed being a wife to J since 2007. After overcoming infertility & a crazy multiples pregnancy, Suz has been working for the nights & weekends & happily running wild as a Mommy to preemie twins Zach & Lucy since May 2012. Follow along with Suz's journey as a new working mom & sharing other treats in her life at Suz's Treats & on twitter @suzstreats.

4 Comments

  1. Jessi says:

    This was extremely helpful to read – thank you!
    Jessi recently posted..ChemicalMy Profile

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  2. Mylene says:

    Thank you for this! I am a work from home mom and I sometimes struggle with thoughts of maybe wanting to get back to working outside the home. I feel like I spend so much time at home, on the computer, trying to get some work done that I’m not spending a whole lot of quality time with my two sons. I sometimes feel like I would get more play/quality time with them if I could just come back from work in the afternoon and dedicate the rest of my day to them without having to worry about finding more work leads, etc.

    Right before having my first son, I had completed a Master’s in Social Work and worked as a hospital social worker. While I wouldn’t go back to that job because of its very stressful nature, I still feel a huge tug towards making a difference and being in a position to help people.

    I’ll have to wait and see what the future holds I guess. Your post is inspiring, thank you.
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