I'm A Working Mom
Today I am being featured on Teaching Sam and Scout, one of my favorite blogs to read, in her month-long series on working moms. You really should read all the posts when you have time because we are not in this alone.
I think I have a wide range of experience as a mom; I am step mom to Red, 17. I was a single mom with Potumus, 13, and my husband and I have Shmurtz, 6, together. We are blended family at its finest.
First I was a single mom:
I had Potumus while I was still in college. I would never go back and undo that, but it was a challenge. I never would have survived without the help of my roommate, friends, sorority sisters, and family. I managed to finish on time with honors, work part time, and complete my internship with flying colors. I lived with my parents during the summer. It is tough to be alone, but I had to learn quickly to ask others to help out. I want all the single mothers out there to learn that they are not alone, and you will survive the sleepless nights and temper-tantrums in the stores. My dear teenage daughter is one of the kindest, sweetest, most hard-working people that I know, and that is because of me. I know I could have done a lot of things better, but she is an AMAZING kid.
Then I was a step mom:
This one was tough at first. As a step parent you are new to the scene and have to tread lightly at first. Red was in second grade when her dad and I got married. There was quite a bit of adult drama in the early years. I read books on how to parent with and ex (I have a great relationship with Potumus' dad's family) when it is hard to get along. It also wasn't easy to form a relationship with someone that you only saw for a few hours every other week. I think it has gotten easier as Red has gotten older. She is graduating from high school in the spring, and we are hoping that means she will spend some real time with us. Step moms have a very very hard job, so props to all of you.
Finally I was a mom with my husband:
I remember someone once telling me that a wife only gets epic vassal status once when she is pregnant because then her husband figures out she can do stuff while pregnant, and it isn't such a big deal the second time around. I never got that because my husband had already been through a pregnancy with his ex-wife, and I was single when Potumus was born. My little Shmurtz was a welcome addition to our family. We knew we didn't want to wait too long to have a baby together because our girls were already getting older. The hardest part about going from a single mom to sharing the responsibilities with my dear hubby was just that, sharing the responsibilities with my husband. It was no longer the mom show, but the mom and dad show. I had to learn to consult him on issues and back him up, so what we say goes. This little girl is my nighttime challenge; she give us both a run for our money in the evening at bedtime; she really should go to law school (not that I advocate that career) because she is a master negotiator.
My thoughts about being a working mom:
When I was a single mom, I never imagined being a sahm, but when Shmurtz was born, I developed major mom guilt. I think that was just my age and experience.
Last school year was a very work-oriented year for me with lots of extra work (and extra money to go with it) and duties put on my plate, but dear hubby and I made the choice for me to take this on because of what it would mean for us financially and career wise. I have recently had a rejuvenation of having to put my kids and home first. I take sick days when one of them is ill; I don't work crazy hours at home; and I try to maximize my time at school more efficiently.
I think I am pretty good at some things as a working mom: meals is one of those things. I make it a point to plan our dinners out for the week on Sunday. I have even started blogging my menu each week. I think I am also pretty organized: I organize chores every day of the week, so that I can make small dents in the chores instead of slaving away for hours on Saturday and Sunday.
I do, however, have room to grow in other areas. I really wish I spent more time one-on-one with my girls as they are growing up so fast. I pride myself on having a fairly picked-up home, which sometimes takes over the few hours I have at home, so I could probably let things go a little more. This usually results in me staying up later than usual. We also let our girls have more tech time than we should; we know it, but there are nights when we don't have the energy to fight.
My biggest guilty pleasure as a working mom is a day home alone. I feel bad about wanting that as my mother's day and birthday gift (this is literally what I ask dear hubby for), but I am a better mom when I have time for myself too.
Stay strong MOMS!