What I Learned in My First Year as a Working Mom
Ok, so maybe I’ve not been at my particular job for a year quite yet. . . . But at this time last year, I was in active job hunting mode, and, as such, job hunting was my job.
Since March I’ve been working full-time.
This was a big move for me.
Since college graduation in (gasp) 1994, I have worked truly full-time for about two years.
I worked plenty in the intervening years. I held a variety of part-time positions, babysat a bit, I home schooled my kids for a few years, I did contract and freelance work at home, and I worked 3/4 time at the hospital for a few years. I’ve always enjoyed working.
As much as I enjoyed time spent raising my children; my mind was always spinning. I needed a challenge. I needed goals. I needed to make a difference.
Through all of those years and jobs, I lacked focus. Sadly (and this is a seriously flawed outlook, I admit) I felt that I was “just a mom”.
Being a mom is one of the greatest things I have done . . . . And I know that the time I have spent raising these six people will never be considered wasted.
But I am learning that having a career can enhance my motherhood.
Focusing on tasks outside of my home has helped me appreciate time at home more.
Instead of being burnt out on my kids at the end of the day, I come home excited to see them!
I’ve learned that I need a lot more quiet than I have ever allowed myself. Living in a house full of children is never quiet. However, daily life in my office is very quiet. I can even hear the words of the music I have playing in the background!Because I have that eight hours of quiet a day, I find myself much more patient with the noise in the evening.
My job involves projects that are tangible and have measurable results and obvious beginnings and endings. My personality works on a very concrete level, and this feeling of accomplishment is worth more than my paycheck.
As much as I enjoy the quiet in my office, I also crave time with other people. I like to hash things out, I even enjoy a lively debate now and again (and I’m not talking about the debating that raising a pair of preschoolers allows for).
My career allows me to work in the public sector and make connections with other people. I enjoy putting faces to names and teaming up with people in our community to promote change and do good things.
I’ve learned that I have to let some things go. I don’t cook dinner on weeknights very often anymore. I miss that job a little, but it is nice to maintain our usual 5:30 dinner time, and it gives other family members an opportunity to gain confidence in the kitchen. I spend most of my weekend doing laundry, I’m not very good at keeping up with it during the week.
I blog from my iPad on my recliner while watching movies with the family most days. I find myself multi-tasking more and more.
I love transitioning into a working wardrobe. I learned that I had really let my personal sense of style slide over the years, and I’m enjoying putting together professional outfits. Clothing really does affect the way that you feel about yourself and the job that you are doing! (I’m a little “fluffier” than the average career woman, so finding outfits that work is challenging, but I will share some of my finds and tips here in the coming months. For the time being you can follow my Working Mom Wear board on Pinterest.)
I depend on my Google Calendar, and I read organization books in my spare time. I am always working towards finding a system that will work best for our family.
I am learning that I ‘m not doing everything right. I am learning that kids are very forgiving. I am learning that husbands are forgiving as well.
For our family the benefits of my job outweigh any inconveniences. This may not have been true for us two years ago, or five years, or even eighteen years ago; but today, now, I am pleased with our family decision to have me re-enter the workforce.
Chime in! Are you a working mom? What have been your greatest rewards? Your greatest challenges? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!