By Sharon M. Smith
We all admit that it can’t be easy to continue one’s upward mobility in a company while being an active and involved mom. How do moms do it, and why?
Two weeks ago I didn’t give our full-time working moms enough time to reply to the question of why they chose to work outside the home, but now they have voiced their opinions and have expressed their views with me, and I’m here to share their challenges and successes with you.
Choosing to work full-time after a baby arrives isn’t easy. If money is the reason to go back to work, parents still have to factor in childcare costs, gas prices, increased insurance, and possibly the need for an occasional housekeeper or other extras that come with being away all day from the home. Families have to generate a certain amount of money above all those costs just to make a minor profit.
Below is what these three moms have to say about their decision to work full time while raising their kids. These women chose to go back to work for money-related issues and one also included that she found her job too fulfilling to give it up.
Elizabeth has a 1-year-old daughter and she also works full time as a project manager at Sony Playstation in the online technology department. Her husband stays at home with their daughter. When asked if she thinks full-time working moms are supported, she replied that they are, “tolerated.” She continues, “It’s okay for moms to work, but I feel as though we have to sacrifice a lot more than most men that work; not only with pay scales, but we are looked down (upon) if we have to take a day off for our kids’ events or if they are sick. For the men, they get the ‘what a great dad’ to take time off to spend with his kids.”
Elizabeth has several mom friends who also work full time. She says, “we’ve all learned that our home roles have remained the same. We all have become ‘super’ moms trying to work and keep up a household, while at the same time feeling guilty that we can’t ‘afford’ to be home with our children.” Because her husband stays at home, she also admits that the stay-at-home mom or dad does not receive the respect they deserve. She says, “No one can appreciate how hard it is to be at home all day with children until you’ve actually experienced it first hand.”
“It’s so hard knowing that I’m missing out on all the smiles and special moments,” Elizabeth says. She admits to missing even the crying moments. “Hearing her on the other end of the phone laughing and giggling often brings tears to my eyes, especially when I have to hang up and rush into a meeting. I’ve worked hard to establish my career, but when it comes right down to it my worst day at home with the kids far outweighs my best day at work.”
Pamela has two elementary-aged boys and has been a trial attorney specializing in complex civil business litigation for 18 years. She admits that she works fewer nights and weekends than she did in the first nine years of her career. When asked if she would do anything different in her decision to work full time she replies, “No. After my kids were born, I gave a lot of thought to my options. For me, being an attorney is an integral part of who I am and fulfills me. One advantage to my kids in seeing me working is that if they someday get married and have a family, they will be more prepared for a two-spouse working family, which has become an economic necessity for most people.”
Regarding being supported by society and others, Pamela responds, “Both groups face perception challenges that are rooted in traditional notions of women’s roles in society. It is troubling to me that many professional female peers of mine dropped out of the workplace after they had children on the grounds that they believed it was too hard to juggle both aspects of their life effectively.”
Chrisanna has been in finance for the last 13 years, and she has three active elementary-aged children. Her husband is self-employed, and with the family’s $500-800 month insurance costs she had to go back to work for the full health care benefits. While working full time, Chrisanna enjoys her five weeks of vacation, her paid long maternity leaves, and her hours from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. which allow her to pick up her children from school and spend her afternoons with them. She admits that much of the time she has with her kids is running errands, although she really tries to make the most of it by making it “fun.” Chrisanna also admits, “I was a little jealous of other woman that had the luxury of not working. I know staying home is a full-time job too, but no matter how you slice it, mothers that work have two full-time jobs. They work and still manage to clean, cook, do laundry, and take the kids (to all their appointments).” Although with minimal time for herself she still manages to pursue writing on the side and successfully sold a movie.
While pursuing careers, these moms still continuep to give their best efforts to their “one shot” to raise their children. With all the pressures and pulls from corporation to home, it’s their children who motivate them in all their decision making. Here is a salute to all those full-time working moms out there. You’ve got our support.