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Welcome to the hectic years

Hi, I'm Mindi.

And this is our Hectic Life.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Confessions of a Working Mom

It's been one of those work weeks - and it's only Tuesday. I've had these thoughts about motherhood/work bouncing around in my head and figured I had better put them down to purge myself of angst.

I’m a mom who works outside the home (shields head from flying objects). Trust me, I’ve been told such things like if a woman works, she should never have kids. Or that today’s problems started with women being allowed to work outside the home. Yes, these statements are coming from college educated people.
Anyway, I have a good college degree that I use out of necessity. No, we don’t drive new cars, and no, we don’t have a brand new home. We eat out about 1 time a week. I clip coupons, and watch for sales. We buy lots of things used. Our home was a foreclosure, and at the time we thought it was a great deal. It probably was, but we’ve chosen not to pursue debt in order to renovate it, so it’s basically in a state of livable disrepair. Still, it takes quite a bit of money to house/feed six people. We’re big fans of Dave Ramsey.
See how I’m explaining myself? I feel like I owe an explanation as to why I get a paycheck every two weeks. I shouldn’t feel that way, every family is different. Ours is quite different. But it’s still a sore spot for me.
In any case, I work outside the home and get paid for it. Not quite full time since Callie was born, but enough to cause people to stare at me in shock. I’ve heard these common misconceptions from moms and dads alike, over and over again. I'm putting them down in case someone might see things from a different point of view.

It must be a stress reliever to drive to/from work in silence.

Somehow, driving into downtown Indy during rush hour has never been much of a stress reliever for me. I’m not fond of accidents, back-ups, and those who feel red lights are a suggestion instead of a rule. In the morning I often fight to keep my eyes open and on the road, or pray that the moron in the gigantic white SUV doesn’t mow me down on his way to work. I'd take a school drop-off, complete with flying shoes (Callie never keeps her shoes on and flings them at the first opportunity), over a work commute any day.

But you get a break from the kids.

What I get is a jam-packed stressful morning as we all get ready to leave the house, a demanding workday interacting with lots of different people, disagreements over important issues, and the worry about whether or not my performance is up to par. I’m a woman in a traditional man’s world (my chosen degree), and it’s not easy. I would much prefer to be home with my kids. Plus, when I pick up the kids it is utter chaos. Four little ones needing me all at the same time, while I’m trying to make dinner. Not exactly the break everyone expects me to get.

Your house must be so much cleaner, since you're not there 24/7.

This I have to laugh at. My kids are little tornadoes, and I have about 10% of the time to clean it as one who stays home. I am never, ever, caught up with the housework. It is my new personal challenge to change this and get my house organized and cleaner. When I get home in the evening I still have breakfast dishes sitting on the counter because of our mad dash out the door. School papers the kids decided to pull out at the last minute are all over the entryway, along with several pairs of shoes, since Gwen never knows which ones to wear. And the little ones will grab a new toy every morning to drag around the house and drop wherever they may be.
I have just as much laundry to do, with so much less time to do it in. I have almost as many dishes (minus lunch on work days), and we had to buy more spoons because we were always running out of them.
Nope, my house is not cleaner. Not at all.

You’re only a part time mom.

This one just makes me see red. Are moms who have children in elementary school only part-time moms? I’m available at all hours of the day for my kids. Be it at 2am or 2pm. I’ve had to leave work numerous times to get them if they were sick, take them to the dentist or doctor, or attend a school function. I make their lunches, attend their field trips, and help out at school holiday parties. I've spent more sleepless nights than I can count caring for my children. They are always on my mind. I am, if nothing else, a full time mom.

Your kids must not be as attached to you as mine are to me.

If this weren’t so funny it would make me mad, too. Anyone who knows me knows how attached my kids are. So much so that they follow me from room to room. I’ve had issues dropping off every single one of them in the morning. So much so, that I have had women at Bible Study mistake me for a SAHM. ‘But, they’re so attached to you that I thought you must stay with them all the time . . .’ Even before I cut down my work week my kids have loved to be with me. Sometimes the lack of privacy is annoying, but at least I know they love their momma. And I’m just as attached to them, as they are to me. Try taking them from me for a week and see what happens.

Though I no longer work the usual 40 hour week / I'm still a mom working outside the home. But I love my kids, just as much as a mom who is with them constantly. I have a son who wants to be an engineer when he grows up so he can work with me all the time. The kids think I have an awesome job (well, it sounds awesome), and Kevin is proud of me. Though I'm still hoping to be something else when I grow up (think artistic and creative), for now, this is what I am.
And I'm proud of me.


The Nolte Family November 3, 2010 at 9:39 AM  

you just described me and my life! I couldn't have said it better myself! The only difference is that my job closed its doors and made us all work from home. Great. but I must work 8-4:30, and just in case someone is wondering, the house isn't cleaner because I work from home.
happy wednesday!

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