I am a mama to Henry. He is my only child. He was born while I worked a very high stress job in health care marketing. I learned the first day back from maternity leave that it wasn't going to work. I continued to get up and go through my day like a guilty zombie until he was 6 months old. One day I walked out and never looked back. I had no idea what or where I would go for work, but I knew God had a better plan for me, my boy and my husband.
Lesson #1 - no job other than being wife and mother should take priority.
It took me a year to find the right job for my family. That year long journey taught me a lot. I am a different"worker" now and so much better for it. It was an interesting year with lots of highs and lows, but one I will oddly enough cherish in my heart forever. I turned down a few jobs because I knew they would not fit my family. Learning to chose a job that fits into my family life and honors God had become my priority. Money was not my motive. It was tough at times to agree to that, but today I can type this with a smile because I did just that...I waited and now work a job that fits and honors...and I feel I am compensated well.
Lesson #2 - Money does not buy happiness (It is cliche, but true!)
Learning to open up, ask questions and be honest with Julie, Hollye and my friends Sara, Melissa and Lisa helped me become the working mother I am today. Hearing from a stay at home mom's perspective and the perspective of a mom who works outside of the home made me realize we are all the same...we all love our kids just the same. We have to make sure we do it right though. Refer back to Lesson #1! Most of all I gained trust and wisdom from these girls and on days I feel like I cannot do it all I remember that I have an army of women who I can count on to lift me up and reassure me it is just a day.
Lesson #3 - Don't wear a mask - be honest!
Some days are for the birds and some are worth recording. That is just life, working or not working. Choosing to make the best of it is up to us. There are so many days I am too tired to remember my last name when the whistle blows at 5:00 and knowing all the activity that comes with it almost sends me into a coma. Yet, when I start my 5:00 mission and see that baby boy run toward me at the door of his daycare room and yell with excitement "MY MAMA!" I get a boost of energy and feel alive and forget that it all seemed like a chore, because it isn't. It is my life...and I LOVE IT!
Lesson #4 - Cherishing the routine is a choice - choose it!
In the interview process of the job I have now I was open and honest with my boss about my family priorities and he respects them. If it is 3:30, a pretty day and I am finished with things for the day, I will leave and go get Henry so he can play outside at home or at the park. I don't feel guilty about it. I love not feeling guilty...I think no mother should feel guilty. Go home if you do! In my line of work we are generally salary employees but I have chosen to be hourly. It cancels out any guilt and has made a HUGE difference. Punching a time clock is actually fun. I refuse to feel guilty (that is the overall theme of this post I think!).
Lesson #5 - Do what works best for you so you can be the best mother!
There is always a day they are sick and you have an important meeting. It happens. It stinks, but it happens. The truth is...we are all human and we all have families. Hopefully you work for someone who has had or has children and realizes this. Do what works best...work a half day and have your hubs work a half day. You are woman....roar! Nothing is more important than that child. Once you embrace that, you will soar in your work and at home.
Lesson #6 - SMILE because that child is watching you! God gave you the ability or desire to juggle a job outside of the home while being a mama...you ROCK!!!
I want to end with this little bit of honesty (Lesson #3) - I love daycare! I tell people I work so Henry can go to school. Some of you stay at home mamas are reading this and gasping for air, I am sure. We are blessed to be in an accredited and curriculum based Christian daycare. Henry knows how to count to 15, knows all his shapes and colors. He can sing his alphabet, pray and sing countless songs. I could never have the patience needed to teach him all this. It is an honor to use my God-given professional skills each day so Henry can go to school! :) So, if you are a working mama that feels guilty about daycare...stop it!