Moms, do you work outside of the home? Or are you a stay at home mom? Have you ever wished you did the opposite? Ruth @ Doing Hard Stuff recently wrote about the struggles she had transitioning from being a stay at home mom (SAHM) to a working mom. That got me thinking about my own situation and what struggles I faces working outside the home. And yes, there are struggles (like the sink piled full of dirty dishes currently at home – ignored due to lack of time and energy… sigh), but there is also much that I think fits my family well. In fact, I believe that for me, I think working outside of the home makes me a better mom.
Yes, I said it: working outside of the home makes me a better mom. Here’s three reasons why this situation works for me and my family.
1.) Education Benefits
L’s pre-school is awesome! A-W-E-S-O-M-E-! I just can’t say enough good things about this place. She has been going there since she was a baby (for daycare), now attends as a preschooler, and I very well may send her there for Kindergarten because I love how they care for my kiddo so much. It’s well worth the $$$$ spent.
One thing that they have excelled in providing L that I feel I would have struggled with on my own, is excellent educational growth. They have a terrific educational program that starts when they are babies. ‘School’ becomes natural for the kids and they eagerly soak up the knowledge. Plus, those teachers have so much patience… something I have to work at daily (ha!)… that they truly do a great job of teaching without getting frustrated or discouraging the kids if they are struggling with a concept. I know one of the reasons L is so far advanced academically is because of her wonderful teachers and I am grateful for them.
If I wasn’t working I certainly could not justify – or afford – the cost of her school. And despite whatever good intentions I would have set out with, I also doubt that I would have been able to devote the time to her early educational growth that they provide her at school. I love that I can still work with her and help her learn new things, but the experts at her school are there to keep her learning at the right pace. We make a great team!
2.) Social Benefits
Another benefit to L having grown up going to day care, and now preschool, is the social interactions she has been exposed to. Right now she is an only child, I myself am an only child (so no same-age cousins), and our immediate neighbors are all either retired, or have kids that are older than L. So other than her friends at church, she would have very little opportunity to socialize with kids her own age. L is a very kind, social kid and makes friends easily. So to be in a classroom where she can established long-term friendships with kids her own age is great for her personal development . It is something she would not yet have if I didn’t work outside of the home.
By letting go of a little daily control – which is hard for me – I feel I am actually being a good mom to her. Because frankly, as wonderful as I may be (hahaha), it is good for L to be exposed to lots of different people and personalities and not just mine. (But friends, letting go and letting them grow on their own is HARD… right?) I know that if I wasn’t forced to leave the house each day it would be all too easy for me to sequester us inside out little cocoon and try to protect her from the world.
I always romanticized about being the mom who took her young kids to age appropriate community events on an ongoing and regular basis (book reading events at the library, play dates at the park, etc.). But even if I really had the time, the reality would be that I’d probably fail at this. I’m a homebody and really prefer staying home rather than going out. I couldn’t imaging that aspect of my changing if I was a SAHM. Plus, we live in Ohio where it is winter 13 months of the year (okay, maybe not that bad) so that also limits what you can do and when.
3.) Mental Stimulation
I don’t think there is anything wrong with needing ‘me time.’ In fact, I think it is important for any mom, regardless if they stay home with their kids or work outside of the home. But I also know how I am. I know that if I was home all day it would be very difficult for me to force myself to have some ‘me time’ away from L. Working pretty much forces this on me. I get to do a job I love, while interacting with coworkers who are truly my friends, on a daily basis. I come home each day happy and with a sense of accomplishment, and that happiness and positivity can be seen by L even at her young age.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I actually like going to work each day! I love being mentally challenged. I love having age-appropriate discussions with my friends/coworkers each day. So why does that make me a better mom? When I come home I feel mentally refreshed and feel no resentment to spending the rest of the evening at ‘kid level’ – watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood or coloring a picture or reading a Pete The Cat book for the 4th time that night. In essence, I may not spend as many hours with L as I would if I didn’t work outside of the home, but the hours I do spend with her are highly focused on HER. It’s intense quality time! And during that time I am calm and grateful for the life I’ve been given.
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Do I think working outside of the home is right for each person or each family? No. Every situation is different. But I will say that at this point in time, it works for my family. And I love the life I have been given!
How do you feel your working situation makes you a better mom? Or do you feel the grass is greener on the other side? I’d love to hear from you. Also, feel free to join the discussion over on Facebook.