I always knew that I’d be a working mom. My three months of maternity leave, while amazing and fulfilling, solidified that belief. The days began to feel heavy and long; I’d be awake with Charlie for what seemed like decades only to glance at the clock and discover it was barely 9:30 a.m. I began resenting Husband Charles for all of his “free time.”
Saying this makes me feel like a bad mom, like I should have basked in the glow of being with Charlie at every moment. But I’ve struggled with depression/anxiety over the years and learned that a mentally active Jess is a happy Jess. I know that makes me a better mother for my son.
Here’s what I like about being a working mom:
1. Health Insurance. This is an obvious one and a biggie. Since Charles is self-employed, we rely solely on the insurance I get through my job.
2. Salary. Another obvious biggie. Charles’ salary is often based on the economy. Enough said there. Dual salaries allow us to own our home, two cars, two cats, a kick-ass jogging stroller, and a savings account. We also can afford Dinner Studio so that neither of us has to cook, an expense we both feel is incredibly worthwhile.
3. Sense of accomplishment. A weakness or not, a lot of my self-esteem has always been wrapped up in my work. That’s why being at home would be difficult for me: I need positive reinforcement to feel successful, and I feel good about myself when I do well at my job. Charlie, although cute, doesn’t say much yet.
4. Adult interaction. Again, Charlie is adorable and entertaining, but I get satisfaction from carrying on conversations at work, especially when they are about my personal life.
5. Clothes. I have a thing for heels, and I love dressing up.
6. Quality Time with Charlie. I truly appreciate the time I spend with Charlie because I don’t see him as often as I’d like. I fear that I wouldn’t if I were home all of the time.
7. Learning. I’m in the beginning stages of a new career path, so I’m constantly facing new challenges at work and learning things about my industry. I find this exciting and fulfilling. Next quarter I’ll be returning to school one night a week as I continue to work through a certificate program.
8. Being a Good Role Model. I know Charlie is too young now, but I hope one day he appreciates and respects me for being a working mom. I want him to learn that we all have to make choices about what makes us happy.
It’s not all rainbows and roses, of course. I miss Charlie. I feel guilty about not being with him; I resent those who get to. I fear that I’m missing important moments in his life, that he doesn’t really know who I am.
But overall, it’s a good situation. And it’s the best situation for our family, which is all that really matters.