Monday, October 15, 2012

What's a Mama to Do?

I had planned to write about the Year of Faith today. But, my life is crazy and I am in the middle of midterms. So that post is still in progress. Instead I have decided to write about the balance of work (aka grad school) and being a mom. I have yet to find that balance.

Today I picked my daughter up from extended day at school and she was doing wonderful. She was practicing her paper cutting skills, while I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. We were chatting about our days, waiting for my husband to get home from work. I was simply in motherhood bliss.

I don't even remember what was said, but she burst into tears. Calmly, I asked my daughter what was wrong. She told me, "You picked me up too late. I was at school a long time". "I don't want to be at school that long, it makes me tired. And I am ready for it to be Saturday so we can play more".

My heart broke. I told her I was so sorry that she was tired, and that I knew it was hard to be at school so late. She didn't understand. Then I told her that I also had to go to school. But I knew that wasn't true.

I didn't HAVE to go to school. I CHOSE to go to school. I did what I thought was best for my family in the long run. And I still maintain that I think I made the right choice for my family. I think this is the same choice a lot of women make. Many women choose to go to work part or full time. While some of these women really need the positions for their families to survive, that isn't true for all of them.

Since beginning this process, I have had the same plan. I want to just make it through school, then as soon as I get out, I want to work part time. As soon as we have more children, I want to work even less.

My thought behind it was that it will give us a little extra money. When I did stay home with her, I occasionally felt a little cooped up in the house (although that didn't happen that often). But the most important reason I chose to go to OT school was because I felt like I wanted to help people. Although I know and believe that my primary focus should and will be my family, I wanted to reach out to others in a unique way. A way that I believe is truly powerful.

It's amazing though, that everyone at school seems to think that my life is completely balanced. They often are amazed that I cook for my family and that I spend as much time with them as I do. Ha! Maybe they haven't seen the 6 loads of laundry sitting in a pile at the bottom of my closet still waiting to be done ( I wish I was kidding). I'll bet that many women out there share my same or similar secrets.

 So many women have made this balance work for them in a variety of unique ways. Many of these women blog for a living, work 1-2 days a week, work from home or work nights. Then there are some women who work full time positions. I have often heard from some of these women that working gives them an outlet and makes them a more present mother when they are home. I however have determined that the opposite is true for me.

I think balance can be achieved. I want to be a stay at home mom MOST of the time, and work a little. Time will tell if this dream can be achieved.

Linking up Here!

What about you all? Do you work a little, full time, or stay home? I'd love to know what works (and what doesn't work) for you and your family!


  1. I don't know how much help this will be, but my humble advice is what works for you. Do what works for you and your own family.

    When I turned 40, ( yikes! ) I suddenly realized that this is MY life... I can respect what everyone else is choosing, but only me and my husband know what is best for our family, for ourselves, for our hearts and minds.

    And of course... God! : ) Happy Tuesday!

  2. Thanks Billie Jo, what a great reminder!

  3. I definitely worry sometimes about how I will be able to balance working and time with my family in the future, but I also am so glad I'm on the path to OT to help others. Thanks for sharing your perspective! I hope your exams are going well! :)

    1. Thanks! Exams are over now, thank goodness. Next week I'll be off to my fieldwork week long rotation.

  4. I am not good at balancing either. I am definitely not a more present mom when I come home, I'm so tired. My heart broke when I read what your little one said. She'll understand someday how hard her mommy worked to provide for her family, in both economic and maternal ways!

    1. Thanks Mandi:) It was really tough at the start, and there are still challenges that go along with it. I'm with you about being tired when I get home. When my daughter goes to bed and I lay down with her for a few minutes.. more often then not I fall asleep too:)

  5. This is all too familiar for me!

    I worked full time outside the home when my son was born. I was actually working at a university while getting my Master's in Teaching. My dream in life was to become a teacher. I really, really wanted to help people.

    While I was in school (and working full time), life was actually pretty balanced for me. I felt like I gave my son a great deal of my time and attention, but that's because I was able to use my work day to do my homework (I had a pretty easy/flexible/understanding job). When I got home, I was in full mama mode. But, my son was in daycare for almost 10 hours every day and that did break my heart.

    When I was student teaching, life was still fairly balanced. I was a little more tired, but still felt like I was able to give my whole self to my family at night and on weekends.

    My first year of teaching was brutal!! I had a lot going against me, but I feel like I really neglected my family that year. Add to that, we found out we were expecting baby #2 one week into the school year.

    I actually went back to teaching after having my daughter, but due to a wide variety of circumstances, I took a leave of absence to be home with my children. It was SO tough! We took a huge financial hit and I also felt like I was giving up my lifelong dream. I still feel that way somedays, but I know I'm doing what's best for my family at the moment.

    I believe it is absolutely possible to work and be an amazing, attentive, loving mother. I did it for three years! It wasn't easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is! I also believe that when you are absolutely, 100% doing what you feel is best for your family, then everything works out just fine. Again, it may not be easy, but it will be worthwhile!!

    As for OT, one of my best friends is an OT. Right now she only has one baby (but they want more) and she works full time. I think the great thing about OT is you don't have to bring "work" home with you. You might bring your thoughts/emotions home, but you don't have to bring home actual paperwork. You'll be moving all day so you won't have the chance to stop and think. And from my friend's perspective, there are a lot of ways to pick up extra hours if needed (from your perspective, perhaps make extra money on a part time basis).

    If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen something like OT. I really wanted to help others, too, and I found that teaching (at this point in my life) just drained me so much I couldn't actually help the kids I so desperately wanted to help (and who so desperately needed my help).

    I'm sorry this is so long, but it really resonated with me. My final piece of advice is to listen to and trust your own gut. Don't listen to anyone else. You know your family best.

    Hang in there!!

  6. Thanks Leanne! I really appreciate you taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I always enjoy hearing about other women's stories of trying to balance their families. I am equally impressed that you had children, worked and went to school! I agree with you, and think if you have made peace with your choice then it all works out! As for you, I want to say I have really enjoyed the writing you have been able to do on your blog since you are not currently working outside the home:)