Monday, March 30, 2015

Seven Pros of Being a Working Mom

OK ... so all of us are "working moms" in the truest sense of the word. (Amen?)

But what I'm referring to here are moms who work outside of the home or telecommute, like yours truly.

NOTE: This post is by no means against stay at home moms. You guys are ROCKSTARS!

I've often heard negative things about being a working mom ... often thought to be encouraging suggestions by well-meaning folks.

My "plan" was to be a SAHM ... you know, the "plan" you make as a 20yo college student on how your life will go ... graduation, then job, then marriage, then become a SAHM with 2.5 kids, a 2-story colonial, a big SUV driving back and forth to dance recitals and soccer practices...

But God had other ideas.

I've been working at the same company since college graduation. For the first 10 years, I worked in an office, so I know the joy of a 45-minute commute, picking the babies up from daycare, struggling with homework, baths, dinner, etc. Now that I work from home, things aren't that much different ... I still work 40 hours/week, still have to pick up the kids from school/daycare, still struggle with homework, baths, dinner, etc.

Lately, I've been struggling with a feeling of ... jealously? Resentment? Lacking? Not following God's will? ... something along those lines ... when it comes to being a working mom. Letting myself get weighed down with these "should I? what if?" questions was NOT a good idea.

So I decided to change my focus ... what are the good things about being a working mom? I got pen and paper and starting jotting down my thoughts. As I did, I realized that I can't be the only working mom to think/feel this way. So, I'm sharing my thoughts with you -- I hope these encourage you as well.

1. Adult Interaction

Boy, this is something my extroverted self desperately needs. I love my babies more than life itself, but there are times when I just CANNOT sit through another cartoon or listen to an argument about who broke who's Lego creation. Working outside the home/telecommuting provides the chance to make new friends, have conversations about world events, and commiserate share stories with other parents. I also feel like it's part of my ministry (see #2).

2. Meeting Personal & Spiritual Goals

Oftentimes as parents, we have to give up some of our dreams for an even greater reality. For instance, I was SUPPOSED to be the next Amy Grant, but that had to fall by the wayside once I had kids (and given the fact that my talent isn't even close to hers. LOL!). But, I believe that God puts dreams in our hearts ... and I don't think he puts them there just for us to give them up for what we think he wants us to do. For example, a close friend is currently pursuing her God-given dream of being a parenting coach. She has made some sacrifices, but God is seriously opening doors for her ... it's almost painfully obvious that this is what he wants for her. We all have different goals ... from "small" goals like saving enough to purchase a couch to "big" goals like moving to Laos to be a missionary. One of our goals is to send D-bug to a private Christian school in the fall ... and my job is providing the ability to do that. Also, at my job, I can witness to my co-workers. Most of my co-workers know that I'm a Christian, and I get prayer requests from someone at work almost daily. I take these requests seriously ... my workplace is my mission field and my ministry.

3. Children Learn to Submit to Authority Figures

We all have to submit to someone's authority ... whether it be our parents, teachers, law enforcement, congress, doctors, coaches ... at some point, someone is going to tell us what to do. I believe the sooner we learn how to respectfully submit to authority, the smoother our lives will go. (I'm only talking about good authority figures here.) My kids have been in daycare since they were babies, and have been learning about respectful submission all of their lives. I firmly believe that God and parents are to be the primary authority figures in a child's life, but I also think that kids who learn to respect authority earlier in life have an easier time adjusting to school (be it public, private, home, or Sunday). 

4. Children Learn to Relate to Peers

Along those same lines, we all have to learn to relate to other people, even if we don't want to. (My hubby would much prefer to live in an isolated mountain cabin with wifi and a lifelong supply of Diet Mt Dew and pork rinds than to interact with people ... gotta love introverts!) I think daycare often gets a bad rap, but my kids have learned how to relate to others, share toys, be respectful and be encouragers from their experience in daycare. As it is said, all we really need to know we learned in kindergarten.

5. Increased Immunity

Another "good" thing about daycare ... your kids will catch EVERY virus known to bugkind. Now, this does not seem like a good thing at the time (can I get another Amen?), but by the time your kids hit school age, they have some crazy strong immunity going on ... and they will pass that immunity on to you (in the form of sharing said illnesses). It also helps when they eat off of the cafeteria floor and/or drink out of the toilet at daycare ... not that I speak from experience or anything...

6. Increased Present and Future Financial Security

Another pro to being a working mom is increased present and future financial security. Through my job, I get a salary, paid time off and health and life insurance. Sure there are times when $$ is tight, but I know that if my kids get sick, it's only going to cost me $20 for a doctor visit, or if someone needs emergency surgery, we have the coverage to get that done. I also have a 401(k) that my company pays into along with my contributions, so as I work, I'm saving for my retirement. That money comes out of my paycheck, so I never have to think about it or risk spending it.

7. Children Learn It's Not All About Them

As I said before, I love my kids more than life itself, but they are not my life. My kids know that, when Mommy's in her office, you knock on the door (they know it, but were still working on the actual doing part). They know that Mommy's work is important and her work time is not their time. They know that when Mommy is working, they must entertain themselves (in previously Mommy-approved ways). They know Mommy's life isn't all about them, and that she isn't here to serve them. 

There are many more pros to being a working mom ... feel free to share yours in the comments below, and I might add them to a follow-up post.

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