Thursday, February 13, 2014

Career mom vs. Stay at home mom

My crazy blog continues.  There seems to be some glitch in posting pictures.  This has happened before, hope to get it fixed soon.   I have some great birthday pictures of Sam and the family.  We had a great night and he is loving his present, his own iPod:)  He is a music lover to say the least.  Hopefully I'll be able to post the pictures soon.


Yesterday I was near my old office doing some errands so I stopped by with the kids.  I quit work when Sam was born so it's been 10 years....the building hasn't changed one bit.  The funniest thing is I had a small cut on my finger that would NOT stop bleeding so I ask the receptionist to give me a Band-Aid from the medical kit.  She was new and didn't know where it was, I told her where to look and the same kit was there from 10 years ago.  That made me really  LOL!

There has always been the big debate especially in Christian circles about career moms  vs. stay at home moms.  Usually the working mom is displayed as not as spiritual.  I've been both and I truly hate to hear when a stay at home mom goes on and on about how hard her job is and how much she is worth.....  A working mom does all that a stay at home mom does AND works a job! 

For me, I wanted a career, I never really thought about staying at home with my kids (actually I didn't think much about having kids!)  .  Having a college degree, I meant to use it!  I worked for 4 or 5 years for a contracted agency under the Department of Juvenile Justice, right after college.  I enjoyed my job back then a lot.  We then moved to NYC and I worked in the ministry with my husband, with regular work hours.  After Steve was born, I did stay home some but I was also able to take him to work with me some.  When we moved back home, I knew I'd need to go back to work full time and THAT was hard for me.  I did not want to leave my 2 year old all day.  He on the other hand was quite fine with it!  For the first year, his aunt kept him and then he went to daycare.  Daycare is a pain in the butt if you've ever had to deal with it, you'll know what I mean.  Steve was at the first daycare 6 weeks and it closed....we had to scramble to find another one.  Then he was at one for a year or so and it went downhill....then we went to another one for a few months and it finally by the time he was 4 years old we found the perfect one for us and for him.  It was great once we got settled.  The good thing is that preschool was connected to Christian school, which he attended through 5th grade. 

Jon and I worked hard to ensure we spent as much time with Steve as possible, when Steve was in preschool.  Jon was able to work his schedule so he didn't go in till noon so Steve was able to stay home till 11am with Dad.  Then I'd go into work earlier and tried to get off early, sometimes by 4 pm so I could pick him up early.  And "back in the day" I was able to bring him into work at times. 

Once he started kindergarten, I no longer felt guilt about working because even if I didn't work, he'd been in school anyhow.  We were lucky, Steve always enjoyed daycare and after school care.  He never cried when he was dropped off.  I cried a few time after I'd dropped him off.   It was hard for me at times. 

Once I was pregnant with Sam, I found a daycare that would have taken him at 2 months.  I had him signed up on the wait list.....but Sam changed all of that!

When I realized I couldn't go back to work after Sam was born, because he was too medically fragile for daycare, things changed quickly for us!  Thankfully we were not in too much debt.  We paid off everything that we could and really learned to make do with less.  Soon after Sam was born, our lease was up on our house.   In Florida if you work at the prison, you can live on the campus, they have trailer lots.  We bought a used mobile home, moved it out there and had no monthly lease or mortgage payments.  That cut down on much of our expenses.  Jon could literally walk to work if he wanted to.  It was a crazy time but we were all together and that part was nice.  We were lucky, we were able to cut back tremendously and we made some really good financial decisions in those first few months that helped us.  We were able to pull some money out and pay off bills.   We did NOT want to have to declare bankruptcy and thank God we did not have to.  Our income went down more than 50%, I was a probation supervisor and I made more than my husband.  Also because I was administration, our health care was paid for completely.  So when I quit, the income and the perks were gone.  But we learned to deal with the it. 

So then I became a stay at home mom.  Of course my situation was different than some, as I was dealing with a very sick fragile baby but I did enjoy the extra time with my family.

It's been 10 year now.  There are times when Jon leaves for work that I wish I was going too.  Not so much to be away from my kids, but because I enjoyed working (for the most part)  I was good at my job, it was a bit stressful but it worked for me.  Now looking back, I do see that it was a "dark" job, if that makes sense.  Working with criminals for years, can make you despair of the human race at times.  But it was always interesting.   I was a juvenile probation officer, then I became a Senior probation officer.  At that time, I took over all the committed felony cases for our area.  I dealt with the lock down facilities and the ones who were in the adult system also.  When I became a supervisor, I supervised probation officers who were handling all those type of cases for the county.  To be quite honest, I HATED being a supervisor.   Being an officer, I did my work well and never had much to worry about.....when I supervised people, I quickly found out not everyone did their work like I did and I could get fired if one of my workers made any serious mistakes!  Thankfully nothing like that ever happened to me!  But it was more stressful supervising others than just doing my own work! 

Personally, I don't necessarily think that kids who have stay at home moms do a lot better once they are adults than kids whose moms worked.  Looking at my circle of friends, most of my closest friends have worked at least part of their kids' childhoods.  Some worked the whole time.  Most of my friends have worked career type jobs with stable hours and quite a few are teachers who had close to the same schedule as their children had.  I have few friends who have stayed home completely with their kids but looking at others that I know, there doesn't seem to be that much difference in the young adults and their success/failure rate or whether or not they are Christians.  It seems many young adults have issues in their early adult age whether they had stay at home moms, or if their moms worked.  I do think there are other factors that may determine whether a teen struggles a bit more in certain areas but that is for another blog post. 

So in a perfect world, I'd say do what works best for your family and what is in your heart.  Of course there are moms who work and it is not what they want to do but what they have to do to help their family.  I know it was very hard for me to leave Steve when he was young.  But we needed my income and it was very hard when I had to quit work.  We were blessed that we had family who were involved and helpful in our lives and the fact that we didn't have terrible debts.  But it was a scary time financially. 

Since I've been a working mom AND a stay at home mom, I see both sides.  One great thing about being a stay at home mom, is time with your children.  You can never buy time back......  Just yesterday after we left my old office, I told Steve how much I've enjoyed the extra time I've gotten to spend with him in the past 10 years.  A job is not more important than TIME with your children and family.  But for many a job is what keeps the family together.  There are many single moms who have to work hard to provide for their children.  In this time of high unemployment, there are moms who are the breadwinner in the family. For us personally, my husband is a minster and a chaplain....neither pay much!  He has chosen not to take a salary for our church as it is a small church and that decision has freed the church up to be able to do many of the repairs and upgrades needed here.  As a chaplain, working for the state, it's not a big salary! 

So at this point in my life, we have a unique family situation that takes more of my time and involvement that many families have.  I don't see myself going back to work a career type job at all.  IF I did, it would NOT be in the criminal justice system......I did my time....about 12 years so I'm good! 

I think what I lean towards would be a career of sharing our story, by writing and speaking, due to our unique life.  If I were to go back to a 8-5 type of job, I'd like to work as a vision teacher for preschool aged clients and their families.   The two vision teachers we had from Blind Services helped us as a family learn how to raise a blind child and what they taught us, has been our building blocks!  But I don't want to have to go back and get another Master's degree which is what it would take for me to be accredited.  You'd think they'd just take Sam's word for it LOL!

But to every mom who is reading this.....don't be ashamed for whatever decision you make!  Most moms work because the need is there.  If that is the case, be thankful you have a job.  There is a part of me that is torn, I personally would rather stay home with my kids (95% of the time) but I do understand women who have careers and enjoy their careers.  I'm somewhat of a feminist, in that I support a woman's right to work, make the same as a man, be promoted for the good job she does.....  Personally I never was blocked as a female in any jobs or promotions as an adult.  As a teen I had a couple of horrendous experiences with groping bosses!   But don't look down on other moms who chose to stay home with their kids!

If you are a stay at home mom, don't be ashamed of it.  It's a blessing to be with your children.  BUT also don't be thinking you are so much more spiritual either!  

Again personally I'm thankful for all the time I have with my kids, I certainly never thought I'd be able to be a stay at home mom BUT we do not live the average middle class lifestyle.  There are many things we have chosen to give up in order for me to be able to take care of the children full time.  We don't go on big vacations, or have a lot of extra things.  We've struggled over the years to ensure our boys stayed in private school.  Having them in private school was very important to us.   I shop at thrift store, and buy brand new things only on sale. We only bought older vehicles that we paid cash for.   We are blessed that our church provides a parsonage so we don't have a big monthly house payment. 

There are pros and cons to every situation.  There are good things about working outside the home and good things about being a stay at home mom.  Staying home, I don't get up and have to get ready to be in court in dress clothes every day.  I can stay in my PJ's till noon if I want, although I have so many people in and out of my home every day I tend to try and get up and be presentable early!  

Everyone has a different story and situation.  And the situation you are in right now may change in time.  But I just had in on my heart to write this to encourage you to be content whether you are a career mom or stay at home mom. 

1 comment:

  1. Agreed completely...and contentment is a sought-after thing no matter what the arena: job, home, family, ministry, fill in the blank! Praising the Lord that He is the One who is able to provide that contentment in all situations! I speak from very recent experience. I was a SAHM for 17 years after our 4 kids were born. The point at which college bills started to accrue was the point at which I realized I needed to go back to work. After a short stint in school food service, and a longer stint as a receptionist at a local industrial firm, the Lord has opened a door for me to work in a clerical position in a VERY urban school district...and I love it!! 5 years ago you couldn't pay me enough to work at the high school I am at, but the Lord has worked in my life and has given me the desire to shine His light in a very dark place. It's truly a remarkable thing...