I’m a mom, I work, and it’s ok

NO DUH. That’s probably what anyone who reads this line would think. It’s what I have believed about mothers who work my entire life. But when it came to how I viewed myself … It’s a statement I’m only now, after two years, finally, truly believing.

A few days ago my husband and I sat and reminisced over the time between having our daughter and me going back to work. It almost doesn’t seem like it ever happened. It’s hard remembering how small she was to hold. Spending the entire day with her… Mostly at home, not working.

… Not working. That isn’t exactly right. Of course I was working but not working in the 9-5 sense. It’s a dividing line many mothers straddle while they’re on maternity leave (or before). The decision so many women battle with as they transition from “just career” to parenthood.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience–about to feel.

Those days at home with my daughter were so precious. And going back to work was hard. I missed her so badly, and I went to visit her almost every day during my break. The only thing that made it bearable for me was the fact that my husband was at home with her.

As we sat as remembered that time I asked him the same question I used to ask when I’d come home “so, what did you guys do all day?” He recalled their routine: breakfast, morning walks, sports television, music, lunch, naptime/studying, snack, afternoon walks, and lots of playing.

There was a time I envied him for all the time he got to spend with her, but I focused on how lucky I was to have HIM spend time with her. How many dads get that chance? And if not me, who better to be with her?

Then my husband got a new job, and the next step was finding and starting a daycare, and this may have even been harder than returning to work when she was 12 weeks old. She was 13 months old, but for the first time, she wouldn’t be in our care. After tears for weeks (on both our parts), we fell into a new routine. But this didn’t keep me from feeling guilty for working. Deep down I still wondered if I was less of a mom.

Now, two years after this all started, I’m finally, feeling truly happy, and grateful for my situation.

My husband brought Lil’ J to my station last weekend and he called me on his way.

“Listen to this” he told me. “Where do you want to go?” he hollered back to Lil’ J in the back seat.

“Mommy’s work,” she yelled back.

“Did you hear that?” he asked me.

I did, and I was so proud.

This month, on weekends, my husband and I are like two ships passing in the night. I’m getting ready for work as he’s getting home and undressing for bed at close to 4am. Then in the afternoon, when I’m finishing my shift and he’s heading back in to work, he brings her to my job and we trade off. Now when she walks in she’s all smiles, screaming “BYE DADDY!” and “Hi Mommy’s work!” to all of my coworkers.

She has a routine down where she buys a snack from the vending machine then sits on the interview set watching me while I read my last few stories with the evening anchor.

Usually she’s playing with her Elmo ABC’s app on my iPad, and occasionally yelling “I did it mommy! I did it!” And sometimes when we’re delayed because of technical difficulties, she too gets a shot at sitting in the anchor chair.

My heart swells when she points to the TV when she sees me and says “Mommy on TV!” and “News!”

She’s only two but I can tell already that she knows what I do, and what her daddy does. And she’s so proud (especially of her daddy).

She doesn’t know any different than the situation she has. School is a part of her life, as is my job. I love that she gets the chance to see what I do, and someday I think she’ll really appreciate it. I try to involve her in my career as much as I can. I’m not only her mother who’s there for fun times and photo shoots, I’m showing her dreams come true with hard work… Career, family, all of the above.

I, like most moms put a lot of pressure on myself. But the great thing about kids is they love you no matter what.

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  1. Thank you for this post! When I was a little girl and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up my answer was always “A mommy!” I have been blessed to be able to stay home with our children for the last five years. Being a stay at home mom has been both a joy and a struggle for me but I have loved being with my children. Our family is in the middle of some major changes that will involve moving to a new country and a switch in who will be the working parent, going from my husband working full time and me staying home to me working and him being a stay at home daddy. I have been dealing with some major guilt but not so much from the fact that I will be working but more so because I’m looking forward to it. It has only been the last few weeks that I have really started to see that on days that I have commitments outside of the home I feel like a better mom to my kids and wife to my husband. I’m really glad that my husband will be home with our children still and I’m not sure if I would be able to even contemplate the idea of me working if he wasn’t home with them. I know that as mom’s we tend to be really hard on ourselves and that mommy guilt and judging runs deep but I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU! to you for standing up as a Mommy Supporter instead! It is wonderful examples like yourself that helps me to feel like I won’t be judged as a Working Mormon Mommy and even if I am I have your example of how to handle and succeed at it!

    1. Thank YOU for your comment! I didn’t even really think about the “Mormon Mommy” aspect, which is probably one of the main things that made me feel bad in the beginning. I knew very few LDS women (personally) who work full time wile having children, and it’s weird being the “odd one out” when conversations come up. Sometimes I even catch myself making an opps when I ask something like “how long are you taking maternity leave?” and they tell me that they aren’t going back. It’s similar to them asking me when I’m quitting. haha. That’s so great that your husband will be able to be home with your children! I love hearing more of these stories breaking the mold 🙂

  2. Mameelynn, thank you so much for writing that! I think it’s so hard as women to say out loud that yes, maybe we WANT to work. We’re fortunate enough to live close to my parents, and they take our son while I’m at work a few days a week. I absolutely LOVE my job, and wanted to try to continue working if I could and if it worked for my family (my husband’s income is far more than mine, so him staying home wasn’t really an option). And yes, I fully believe that I am a better wife and mom because I work out of the house a few days a week- I need it, and so does my son.

    One of my greatest hopes in this world is that all of this guilt and anxiety moms feel goes away, it’s ridiculous and not helping anyone. I hope every mom (and family, because really it’s a family choice) gets to CHOOSE her path, whether working or staying home, working part time, whatever. But that no one is forced into something because they feel like they should or they’ll be a bad mom.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head here… And I didn’t even really touch on that. I LOVE my job. I love having a resume with back to back jobs, and moving forward in my career, and I LOVE being a mother. It’s ok to love both. You’re awesome! Let’s work on this guilt-free world thing!

  3. You are so blessed to have had your husband be with Lil J during her first year of life. I stepped away from corporate to be with my daughter and I think if I had a family member as an option (as my family had with me and my 3 siblings growing up) then I would have been more comfortable returning to corporate. Now that my daughter’s 2 years old I can see how naturally for us, it would’ve been an easier progression for her to go to daycare at 1. She LOVES other kids and especially now at 2 I don’t think I alone can give her everything she needs at this stage. We do LOTS of playgroups to make up for it but are now considering sending her to a program a few days a week especially as I’ve relaunched my online business I had to put on hold since having her. Thank you for sharing your story and it’s obvious you’re on the right track by the way Lil J’s face lights up in your pictures!

    1. Thanks so much Quiana, She definitely loves a field trip to my job. haha. And yea she totally loves interacting and playing with other kids, and it’s helped with her going to nurseries at church and the gym. I kinda wish there was an in-between, like year at home, then school (I’m talking future kids now). But I’m not sure how easy it would be for me to jump back into the work force.

  4. I love this post! J sounds soooo adorable but more importantly, happy and secure. I was telling my husband yesterday that I don’t know how you manage to balance everything so well but you do! You’re a great mama.

  5. What a great post! I love your perspective after having gone back to work and continued chasing your career dreams. Having a child see you as an important figure in society is something I hadn’t thought of before but I love the idea, and when I have kids I want them to see me in a working role too even though I know it will be so hard going back to work. You’re raising a well rounded child who has plenty of time with both parents and who will respect both for being successful!

  6. What a blessing to have you husband take care of lil J as an infant. That truely is special and most fathers and daughters just do not have that chance. I think of the bonds that your husband and lil J will have that have developed from infancy and will last an eternity. Just great.

    I’m glad y’all are all at a happy and satisfied point in your lives. It does take some adjusting with both parents working, but y’all seem to have the routine down packed. It’s good that she is aware of both of your work roles. She will soon start bragging to the other kiddos because she is so proud!

  7. This is so beautiful. What every mother need to know is that no matter what you are doing, as long as your child is happy and you and your family is happy, nothing else matters.
    Rock on mama

  8. As a working lady who plans to keep on doing so once kids come into the picture (soon, I hope!), I want to thank you for posting frankly on this topic. I always wanted to be a working mom, and I always knew it would be okay, but as I get closer to having kids and watch more of my female friends and family quitting their jobs to stay at home with kids, I occasionally (okay, often) wish that I had the option to stay at home. And I do, but it makes way more sense for me to keep working. Also, I want to work. Also, I’m pretty sure it will make me a better mom. It means the world to me to see other women embracing their roles as women who work and also full-time mothers.

    1. Sandy, It’s a hard decision! But it’s nice that you have the option. It’s one of those things I say to be open to and decide once you get there. Though I will say that going back at first is the HARDEST part, and I think after a year or two (haha, sounds like forever huh?) it feels great. But different things work for different people and you know what? I think you’ll feel happy no matter what you decide! (And your decision doesn’t have to be permanent!)

  9. I’m so happy for you, there can be a lot of pressure to be a Stay at Home Mom and I feel extremely blessed to be one myself but I also believe very strongly that it’s much more important to be a good mom or dad when you are there than to be there all of the time, as well as none of us would be complete without following our passion and for some of us that’s inside the home and for others outside and neither is better or worse simply different.

    I’m glad that you are doing what’s right for you and your family, I knew you would.

  10. It’s never easy though on the heart to be a working mom. My son will be 3 in October and I am stuck working fast food and most days it is easy but other times he cries to go with me and it breaks my heart. It is one of the reasons I am trying so hard to get a telework job because it is better money and I can be home with my son. It’s just hard.

    1. Neatha, your comment made me tear up. Your son is going to be so proud and thankful for his mother who is working so hard to support him. I will pray that you get that telecommuting job of your dreams so you can have the best of both worlds 🙂

  11. So cute. I know it was hard for you. I remember you mentioning the transition. Glad things are going well. It’s nice that Lil J gets to see where mommy works. I’ve only brought Princess to work once. I know-sad. My co-workers are on me to bring her in.

  12. You made me cry…as I sit at work typing this with tears in my eyes after an almost 12 hour shift… I TRULY dislike leaving my children behind every morning and for the last 3 years I have prayed to become a stay-at-home Momma…and just this week…I had the same feeling as you have… a sense of “it’s OK, really..it’s ok!” I love the perspective you give… I don’t usually share my kids with my work life {other than the million pictures of them in my office} but I would love for them to visit me here…I wonder if they too would get it… and feel proud to know that their Momma is working her booty off to help support them and raise them! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT JUST MEANT TO ME!!!!! 🙂

    1. Connie, I’m so glad this post resonated with you. It’s nice to know my ramblings help other women. I really think it helps when your kids can see what you’re up to. I remember visiting my moms job and thinking it was SO COOL. (Even though looking back it was a regular office building). Thank you so much for your comment, it made my day!

  13. Jenn, you already know I think you’re awesome! You are!!! I really loved this post. And it’s so true — kids always love you no matter what you do, so do what you do and do it well. That’s what I always say.

  14. I read this post when you first posted it but haven’t had time to comment until now. This is great! It’s so awesome that Lil J is so proud of you and wants to come visit you at work. I always felt the same about my mom. It’s very reassuring! Thanks for posting!

  15. Thanks for this. I read so much about moms who become stay at home moms as soon as they get pregnant… but never see much about moms who love their jobs and love their life as a mom. Its so cute that she is proud of mommy’s job!

  16. Great post! As you know, I left work 4 years ago when I became a mom. I have not looked back. lol Fortunately, I did find a meaningful existence volunteering and serving for Mocha Moms (a national support/community service group for stay at home moms). It’s not paid, but being president is work, and I am also proud that my son knows that his mommy has meetings to go to and work to do. He is in school, but whenever I have to leave him at Playcare, he always says, “Have a good meeting, mo
    !” lol It is important for us moms to show our kids we are useful beyond taking care of them and home. I’m glad I found a way to do that without having to return to work. I don’t miss it at all.

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