Sunday, November 05, 2006

Two-headed Beast

This post was originally posted on Blog Mamas on July 9th, 2006.

While I totally agree that BlogMama deserves validation for the choices and efforts she has made/is making, I don't think the grass is much greener over here in Working Mom Land. I don't get bonuses or an especially fat paycheck but I do earn enough money to cover exceptional (and exceptionally expensive) childcare plus a few economic ends including my family's health insurance. Although I try to be more efficient than ever, I can't give the time, attention and travel that I used to give to my work and I've seen the compliments & appreciation decrease as a result. Plus I still do the lion’s share of kid-care and household duties at home too. With no more thanks or appreciation than the average Mom – working or not.

What I find the most difficult about being a working mom is my split personality. I feel like almost every minute of everyday I frantically flip my focus from my son to my work and back again. The “to-do” list never ends and I have two of them! It makes me pretty crazy and I’ve spent hours talking to my husband and other mama friends about the perfect solution. I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t one perfect reality for all mothers but I hope there is a unique balance for each of us. So far, I’m still on a teeter-totter, but Jeep’s awesome daycare, a couple of hours of paid housecleaning a month, and lowering my standards in almost all areas are a few of the things that keep me from toppling.

I have thought a lot about the “career set-back” that can happen when a mom chooses to walk away from work and stay at home these days. While I'm not satisfied with the current economic & cultural situation and the choice mothers are forced to make, I’ll admit career progress has a small part to play in why I’m still in the workforce (although not nearly as much of a role as the health insurance). Honestly I don’t feel like I’m climbing the corporate ladder right now. If I’m lucky, I’ll hold my spot on this particular rung.

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