Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On being a working mom

Hi, I'm Chelsea.  I'm a mother, a wife, and a government worker.
Okay, maybe that's not really how I'd introduce myself, but these days those seem to be my identifiers.  I am a working mom.  When I graduated college (and before) and realized that my career options were close to nil with a Political Science/Justice Studies degree, I quickly decided that I would be getting a Masters degree.  Well actually, the University of Baltimore decided for me, they denied me entry to Law School.  I was crushed for a good week.  Then I decided that the world wasn't ending and I would have to find something else to do.  So I got a Masters of Public Administration.  I took out student loans and pretty much cemented that for the next 30 to 40 years I would be working to pay them off.
Since then I've (obviously) gotten married and had a baby.  All the while, I knew that I would be a working wife and now a working mom.  People seem to have lots of opinions on this, whether they are asked or not.
The main one being that I am a working mom solely because of the financial implications.  Yes, my working does allow us the "finer" things in life - cable television, newer cars, and dinners out are a few examples, but just because I'm working doesn't mean that I have to.  We could live off of Adam's salary, but there would be some paring back.  Honestly, I don't know if that is something that I could do.  I am pretty fiercely independent.  When we got married, the whole trusting your spouse (in the financial sense), was really difficult for me and something that I had to work on.
Another "popular" opinion is that I'm letting someone else raise my child.  I have to say, this is the one that really gets me.  Yes, James goes to daycare for roughly 40 hours a week.  Yes, Rhonda takes care of his needs during the day.  We are so lucky and thankful to have a great daycare provider.  But there are another 80 hours during the work week that he's home with us.  Aside from that, Rhonda has the same values that we do in terms of raising our child.  I know that we're all on the same page and working as a team when it comes to James.  When I drop him off and see him smiling and playing with all of his friends, I feel confident in our decision.  Of course, I miss James horribly when I'm at work, but eventually he'll be at school and there's no way I'm going to be homeschooling, so I think its better to figure this stuff out now.
But the main reason I'm a working mom?  Well, some days I actually enjoy my job.  (There are definitely days when I say "I'm leaving him at daycare all day so I can deal with this crap?!?") Some days I like having time with adults.  But everyday I need to have an identity of my own.  I need to know that I have value other than popping out a kid.  That's not to say that I don't know a lot of happy, thriving stay at home moms, because I do.  They're the moms that plan play dates, go to the zoo, and listen to story time at the library.  But I also know stay at home moms that tie all their self-worth to the behavior of their children, that don't have a life or skills beyond sitting their kids in front of a TV and texting all day.  None of this is to condemn them, but I need more to my life than that.
So I'm a working mom and that's just the way I like it.


  1. I miss working...for the same reason you enjoy working. Seriously, it's nice to have an adult conversation every once in a while and not have your whole day's accomplishment be outwitting a 2 year old.... But being able to say that you enjoy working outside the home is hard, that it's really frustrating to hear the disdain in the SAHM voice. Anyway, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on working outside of the home! :)

  2. @2BOYS2CATS
    I do have to get total props and credit to SAHMs because I am fairly sure I am in no way cut out to be home with him all day!

  3. Didn't you learn anything at Frostburg? Marry rich! The rest will fall into place. Hehe! Totally kidding.

    All kidding aside... you are probably one of the most appreciative and down to earth working moms I know. Most seem so wrapped up in their careers and they seem to forget about life at home. If I were a working mom, I'd want to be like you. You seem to have a good balance. If I ever go back to work, I definitely want tips on balancing everything.

    Keep kicking ass Chelsea.

  4. @The Lasher Family
    Everyday is a marathon! And I guess I didn't learn much at Frostburg... I can do a mean keg stand though, so there's always that.