Choosing Motherhood Over Career

Mom Moment 15

business womanA successful lawyer who happens to be a mom worked at a large D.C. firm. This week, she came to the conclusion that she just couldn’t take half-assing work and parenthood any longer. Something had to give, so she wrote a resignation letter to her employers and it found its way onto the Internet and the Internet blew up.

People get irate when you challenge their myths. Look, I wish we could all be fantastic involved mothers and have challenging and rewarding careers. But I am yet to meet the mother with newborns who has figured it out. Sure there are women who can do both. The problem we fall into, the one I fell into, was that I felt like I wasn't doing either to my standard. I constantly felt like I was missing something. The duality was too much for me. My heart was pulling me one way and my mind was pulling in the opposite direction. You find yourself always wanting to be some place else.

It comes as no surprise to other mothers that eventually we all come to this realization. Mommy stuff gets in the way of career stuff because tiny humans trump everything else in our life.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not a new concept. My mom did it and her mom did it. It was expected. By the time I became a mom, a new development had happened. Sometime between when my mom raised me and I had children, women had decided to have careers and children, and with that latch key kids and nannies became a popular thing.

Now, it seems we have a society flooded with highly educated women who were on fast career tracks. When they had their children, they weren't obligated but chose to stay home with their children, which both is soothing and terrifying to me simultaneously.

When I had my girls, I knew (almost immediately) that I wanted to stay home with them. Many of the moms that I know left the work force when their children were born so that they could dedicate their full attention to their babies. I did it because I didn't want to miss anything and I didn't want to half-ass motherhood or my career.

For me, my career was second always. Now, my girls are 5 & 7 and we are at a different place in the world. They are in school all day and I am pursuing my dream career. I work from home, I do what I love, and I am still available to take them to school, pick them up, and be there when they do homework and have things at school. I have not given up anything. If anything I have doubled my load but it's on my terms.

For me, it's not that we can't have it all ... maybe we just can’t have it all when the kids are newborns because if we stay home, we miss out on career. A career, for a lot of us, makes us feel like we are missing moments with our children, but there is a sweet spot, and I think I may have found it. I am still tired, exhausted, and have a non-stop schedule, BUT I wouldn't have it any other way.

Do you think we can have it all? Is there a Mommy/career balance and we just have to find it?

 

Image via Victor 1558/Flickr

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nonmember avatar SoonToBeMommy

I just had this conversation, while in tears, with my husband last night. If my boss doesn't let me work part-time, I'll need to choose between full-time or SAHM. Full-time offers great security, but the feeling that I'll miss out on being a mom and the hatred for my job get in the way. SAHM offers a sense of freedom that I've been longing for, but with the scariness of being a one-income family. I hate that we can't have both.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

You are so right which of course means you'll get slammed. You can have a good career or be a good mother, your choice. If you try to do both with little kids you will only wind up doing a halfassed job of both. Your kids spend most of their waking hours in daycare and you are rushing out of the office early to get them. Your boss hates it, your kids hate it, and assuming you're a halfway decent human being you know it's wrong.

jhslove jhslove

I think it's that you can't have both AT THE SAME TIME. For ten years, I put my career first--went to graduate school, worked full-time and really focused on my professional life. My husband and I purposely did not start a family during that time. We had a baby a year ago, and I moved into a more flexible, less-demanding job because at this point in my life, I need to put motherhood first and I need a workplace that understands and respects that.


When I'm through the "little kid" stage of motherhood, I fully expect to be able to put more time into my career. I would like to get my doctorate, for example--I'm just not going to try to do that until I have the time and financial resources to prioritize it.

tuffy... tuffymama

I actually agree with much of the sentiment of your article. BUT, you put, commas, in crazy places, sometimes, and that, is distracting.

teach... teacherchick77

Must be nice to have that choice. There are many, many mamas that would love to stay home but can't afford it. It makes me sad when I see parents debating whether to work or stay home (because I'm totally jealous!!!)

Erin Kull

I had a baby and a job at the same time.  I half assed neither one.  I rocked both and I STILL rock both.But typical Stir....always trying to make other mommies look like pieces of shit.  So all of you SAHM's think you're better because you chose home over work.  Well I feel sorry for you because you couldn't hack working and being a mom at the same time.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Oh Rhonda. Such an ass as always. Sad you can't multitask.

Flori... Floridamom96

The real problem is that somewhere along the line someone decided what "having it all" meant for everyone. I neither know nor care how anyone else defines " having it all". My husband and I make the decisions we believe to be best for our family and are happy with the results. For me this is "having it all'. It's a shame we can't choose to support each other rather than criticizing.

corri... corrinacs

As I wrote in the other article similar to this one. I really feel for this parent.....you feel like you should be able to tackle it all, but you can't.  When you have jobs like law, even spending a few years away from your career could be very detrimental!  You would have to PROVE that you have kept up with the most recent developements in the field.  So, even if you are a FT SAHM, you would have to keep "doing your job" but not getting paid for it.  I am sure that's exactly the decision that she was tackling.  Most of us can get back into our fields no problem after a few years, but any career that involves evolved skills, this is not so much the case.  I was a first year teacher, and coudln't handle being a first time mom at the same time.  I literally was watching my son grow up from his crib.  My weekends were spent grading papers and developing lesson plans for the next week.  The weekday, I was winging it.  It wasn't fair to my son and it wasn't fair to the children I taught, so I put in my resignation.  I am working FT now, but not in my field.  Which, for now, is fine.  I have the sense of work/family balance I woudln't have had teaching. But I have a life-long dream of teaching (it's in my blood, literally) and I oftentimes feel like that's out of my reach now :/.

corri... corrinacs

As I wrote in the other article similar to this one. I really feel for this parent.....you feel like you should be able to tackle it all, but you can't.  When you have jobs like law, even spending a few years away from your career could be very detrimental!  You would have to PROVE that you have kept up with the most recent developements in the field.  So, even if you are a FT SAHM, you would have to keep "doing your job" but not getting paid for it.  I am sure that's exactly the decision that she was tackling.  Most of us can get back into our fields no problem after a few years, but any career that involves evolved skills, this is not so much the case.  I was a first year teacher, and coudln't handle being a first time mom at the same time.  I literally was watching my son grow up from his crib.  My weekends were spent grading papers and developing lesson plans for the next week.  The weekday, I was winging it.  It wasn't fair to my son and it wasn't fair to the children I taught, so I put in my resignation.  I am working FT now, but not in my field.  Which, for now, is fine.  I have the sense of work/family balance I woudln't have had teaching. But I have a life-long dream of teaching (it's in my blood, literally) and I oftentimes feel like that's out of my reach now :/.

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