Saturday, January 22, 2011

stay at home mom or working mom...worries and other strays

Lately, my head has been swimming with a crush of ideas and worries...(well that's not true, my head it typically swimming) with all kinds of things that I have no solid answers for. I hate that! I want the magic 8 ball that has all the answers.

I am past the end of 'my year'. I saved up so I could spend a year at home with my babe. That year is up by a few months now and I need to figure out what to do. Do I dig deeper into my savings, do I get a part time job, a full time job, etc? If diving back into the job market...what do I want to do? What is worth leaving my son for 8-10 hours a day for? Is there a new career that will allow me to earn more, provide better job security, better future, better hours...I don't want to go back to the specific industry I used to work in, where I have the most contacts and skills (and where it would make the most sense). Ugh. However, not dumping my entire savings and having some financial security and being able to plan for a future financially is important too. This may all sound silly or selfish depending on which side of proverbial fence you live on, when it comes to moms and careers. I want it all...and that possibility just doesn't exist. Or if it does, let me know. I want a great career and I want to be the one spending each day with my kid.

I am really torn and out of options. I need to find a source of income. So...what to do? Write an entry in my blog. Ha ha! Yes...writing may help, but does anyone have a magic 8 ball...really....c'mon, help me out.

What I want to do, start my own business, scares the crap out of me. I have some specific ideas of what I want to do and some facts on how it could turn out...but nothing is secure...not in this market and the fact that I still rarely sleep makes me worry that my exhaustion has got me delirious.

I was so hoping I would be getting more rest by now, so that I could at least occasionally feel like I had something more to offer my family and the work force. I miss being me. I miss feeling confident and secure and smart. Sleep deprivation (yes my kid still wakes up 3 times a night and is up by 4 am...many mornings), has robbed me of feeling consistently grounded. Scratch that...I will just have to make a new and altered version of 'feeling' grounded and all the rest of the things I think I need to feel okay.

Lack of sleep will not rule my life, dang it! Damn you lack of sleep!

Some of my ideas...idealistic...but here there are anyway:
*teach yoga and eventually open my own studio, teach kids yoga (contract with preschools), yoga to the elderly (contract with retirement homes), one on one yoga etc.
*go back to school and get my masters in nutrition and do yoga and nutritional counseling (I think this would be a great combo to offer potential clients)
*go back to school and get my masters in audiology/speech pathology (as this really interested me) and work in schools or hospitals and still teach yoga
*go back to sales, but in an industry where I am selling something that is not only wanted, but something I can be proud of and still teach yoga
*write a book...when I figure out something fun to write about...

Back to that proverbial fence...the issue of whether to work for a pay check or not is fascinating to me. Most of us have to work, because we need the money. However, paying for quality child care and then the expenses of work (wardrobe, gas, lunches...etc) it worth what is left over at the end of the month? In some cases, what's left is a lot and so it feels worth it. In some cases it's barely anything and it doesn't appear worth it. However, kids will grow up and go to school in a short number of years and then the career will need to start up again anyway (if money is the issue). Putting one's career on hold for too long can be detrimental. Taking care of a kiddo or kiddos during the day is hard work. I know some kids are easier than others, but for many, it's a tough job. This job has many perks and benefits. I just can't imagine someone else getting the hugs, kisses, smiles, dances, cheers and other wonderful 'perks' that I get and share with my boy each day. I also can't imagine not being able pay for basics when my savings is gone. (some of you know how frugal I basics really does mean basics, studio apartment and ramen here we come). Some people might think it is selfish to stay home. Some people might think it is selfish to go to work. I think both choices are loving and require sacrifices. Either way, it's a tough decision.

Lots to ponder.

Until then, sweet dreams!


My Name's not Really Bridget said...

I stumbled upon your blog because you came up as a "people you may know" suggestion on facebook. We don't know each other, but as a blogger myself, I am trying to connect with other women who are grappling with the tough issues of life.

Your question of whether to go back to work, start a business, or continue to use up your savings staying home with your precious baby hit a chord with me. As a mother who has juggled the balls I pick up on my own along with those life throws at me, I know what you're going through.

Your ideas sound good for a mother primarily because they sound like they would be flexible. Over the years, I've done a lot of different things in order to bring in a little money and yet maximize my time with my children (including managing apartments, teaching art classes in my back yard, sewing costumes, writing, babysitting...) I've not built a career that has given much financial stability, but I have "kept my foot in door" of the industry that most interests me, and have managed to get by and spend a lot of time with my kids. With 2 of them in college now, I wouldn't trade in that time for anything.

This will sound so trite. You probably hear it all the time, but it is so true it really bears repeating: The time you have your children in your household really does go by so fast. (Now I'm sounding old!) I remember those sleep-deprived baby days when it felt like the haze would never end... but it did. (I'm still sleep-deprived now, but for other reasons.)

I would recommend following your heart. It sounds like you have a love for things that might provide you just the flexibility you need to incorporate bringing in an income with staying home with the kids as much as possible. Don't be scared of starting your own business--as a mom, you have been learning skills that uniquely qualify you for running a business.

It's very true that the expenses like childcare, wardrobe, convenience foods, etc. that go along with trying to juggle working for someone else with motherhood can eat away at what ever income you're able to generate. I've known a lot of women who basically make nothing when they run the numbers of all the the expenses of being a working mother. It's no fun working for nothing--especially when you're also missing out on those hugs and kisses and first words and steps...

I hope you will be encouraged to follow your heart, and try different things until you find what works best for your family.

If you are able to navigate a work-from-home type career, be forewarned, however, that you won't escape the isolation that many mothers feel on this path. Over the years, I've witnessed a battle of the stay-at-home moms vs. working moms. It's been a unique experience for me because working primarily from home, I've felt like I don't fit in with either group. I've also been able to see that the two have more in common than they tend to realize. It would be nice if mothers could be supportive of one another as we navigate through a journey that may not be as cut-and-dry as we'd like to believe. It's not really either/or. You don't have to choose between being a working mother OR a stay at home mom. The more women dialog on this issue without judging one another (or themselves), the more creative solutions we may be able to come up with.

Wishing you the best :)

leahv said...

Bridget, I love your response and because we don't know each other, your response is that much more objective! Thank you for taking the time and energy to put together such a thoughtful and caring response.

You wouldn't know this because you don't know me...but I have been praying for some guidance and am in the middle of interviewing and starting my yoga business right now (this week). Your response is so timely.

I agree that more mom's need to talk about these important issues and the emotions that come with all of this.

Thanks for sharing your experience and encouragement. Two kids in college, wow! Congrats!

Please share your blog link with me.

Have a great day.