We are working moms. We find solidarity from being in this revered community and we give fist bumps and high-fives to each other when we kick all kinds of ass juggling the demands, then we comfort and hug each other when the going gets tough because we “get it” like no one else can. We are in it together.
But there are still differences among us. There are dividing lines that prove in the world of working mothers we are not all created equal.
You see, there are the “I work because I choose to” clan and the “I work because I have to” clan. The two are very, very different.
I wanted to touch on the latter group because I feel like it’s the group that we don’t talk about very often. It is the group that reads the diatribes from all the other moms who work because they chose to and instead of feeling empowered they start to envy them. Just because we share the same title does not mean we are all alike.
I’ve noticed that most working moms who work by choice also happen to be in their dream jobs or desperately passionate about what they do and find tremendous fulfillment from their professions. They need to work.
I work because I have to. I don’t have a choice. Financially there is no way around it and my family depends on my income as much as my husband’s. I know there are others like me. Perhaps there is a working mom that desperately wishes she could stay at home with her children but she is not granted that choice. Or maybe she knows being a SAHM isn’t for her but not being able to make that decision for herself because of her reality, is a bitter pill to swallow. She also is probably not at her dream job or passionate about what she does because this working mom is after the paycheck.
There are always exceptions to the rule of course and there could be a working mom that doesn’t have a choice but does happen to be doing what she loves. Or perhaps there is a single mom who doesn’t have a choice but is too damn busy to complain because she’s kicking butt and taking names.
The rest of us are stuck. But I encourage you to not feel down and out! You may be stuck from not having a choice to work or not, but there is a pivotal choice that can shape the way you get out of bed each morning to do what you have to do for your family. The choice is to either dwell on the fact that you have to work or to embrace it.
Let’s face the facts, it’s already been determined that you have to work. Period. So now it’s time to get over it. Nothing good will come of dreaming about a “what if” life if it simply isn’t your reality. It doesn’t mean you can’t be happy and still find joy and contentment from working.
It’s important to remember that we are part of a wonderful group of working mothers that is there for you no matter what circumstance brought into the community to begin with. You are a working mom and first and foremost I hope you find pride in that even if you didn’t have a choice.
I also encourage you to figure out a way to find fulfillment in your profession. Try your best to figure out what you would consider your dream job and how you can make changes in your career to get you there. Now, I bet if you are currently working for a paycheck instead of for the rush, going back to school or pursuing any licensing isn’t going to work due to funding. But there are still options for getting yourself in a job you enjoy and possibly even on a solid career path.
The way I look at it is if I’m going to be spending all of this time away from my children then I want it to be spent doing something I love. I don’t want to waste my time trudging into the office working at a job I hate then crawling back home just to wake up the next day and begrudgingly do it all over again. If I’m going to be a member of the esteemed working mom brigade then I want it to count. I didn’t have a choice so I’ll be damned if I’m going to just feel sorry for myself and not make the most out of my situation.
I may not have had a choice when it came to being a working mom but I do have a choice when it comes to the type of work I’m going to do.
If you are a working mom feeling stuck I hope you realize you have options. Make the most out of your time away from your family. Dust the cobwebs from your resume and get out there. Start networking with people in positions that you find interesting and ask them how they got there. Do some soul searching and find out what really makes you tick. And if you are still just so miserable and know in your heart of hearts that being a SAHM is the answer to all of your life problems, then I hope you have a supportive spouse that will work with you to figure out a solution to make it work.
I’m proud to be a working mom and even if I didn’t choose to be a part of this community I am so grateful that it is here for me. I’m grateful that I’m accepted with open arms and fist bumps for days. Instead of feeling envy when I read all of the “I work because I chose to” posts and articles, I’m going to let them inspire me and push me to be a part of their community within a community.
As working moms we may not all be created equal regarding our paths to getting here, but once you get here… it’s pretty spectacular.
Kendra is a full-time working mom to a precocious three year old boy, a head-strong one year old girl and wife to her long-time sweetheart. At My Full-Thyme Life she writes about how she attempts to balance her cherished roles and all the fun (and chaos) along the way.