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Being A SAHM Is All About Sipping Coffee And Doing Yoga… Right

As a professional mom with three young kids, I always felt like I was missing out on all the fun while I was away at work:   playgroups, school activities, 1:1 time with my kids.  I’d often wonder, will I regret this someday when they are all grown up and they only want to be with their friends?  Am I missing out on all those once in a lifetime experiences I can’t ever get back?  

Now that I have the chance to be at home with my kids all I can think about is my career.   I’m starting my own business and am home with the kids more often during this early phase.  I have exactly what I always thought I wanted, but I find myself thinking about how much I miss my career.  I miss the satisfaction that comes with solving a complex problem, sharing work stories over coffee, and most importantly, time to think by myself without anyone screaming or peeking under the bathroom door!  

While working full time I imagined the great life I’d have as a stay at home mom.   I’d go to play groups and drink frappuccinos while the kids played on their own.  I’d take my kids to fun places like the zoo and museums.  We’d make up games and spend the day laughing and playing.

Working moms– this is not reality!

Now that I’m home with the kids more often, I discovered there is no time to think quietly or relax.   Frappuccinos, yoga, and exercise are for the stress relief you need from the job.   As a stay at home mom, you spend most of your time cooking, cleaning, and disciplining – oh my! When I worked full time, I had more quality time with my kids then I do now.  So much for those articles about the moms relaxing at the pool with margaritas while the kids played!   Who wrote those articles anyway?

I regularly ask stay at home moms if they prefer being at home or working?

  • The majority of former working moms I’ve talked to say they wanted to work a reduced schedule (part time, more vacation, 4 day schedule) but couldn’t find any professional jobs that allowed this (even for less money) so they were forced to choose their kids over their career.   Almost all of these now stay at home moms said they missed using their skills and regret not being able to do both but say “it is what it is.”
  • I’ve also talked to moms who enjoy staying at home and find it rewarding.   A lot of these moms were former teachers or worked with kids.
  • I’ve talked to women who had professional careers, left for a period of time and then returned to work and they said taking time off was the best decision they ever made.

Each person makes the best decision they can but no one “wins.”

Moms who give up their careers miss working.  Working moms feel guilty that they can’t spend more time with their kids and moms who temporarily take off work risk career growth.  Moms are not the only ones who suffer – our companies lose valuable talent:  inventors, doctors, engineers, and bankers.

I envision a world where we don’t have to make a choice between our family and our careers.   Think Netflix!  I love how they stepped up to the plate and offered unlimited family leave and time off for both men and women.

I’m still surprised companies would rather lose hard working and talented women than create flexible working schedules. By the time my three girls have their careers, I hope that they won’t have to make a choice. Change doesn’t happen on its own or overnight. It takes brave leaders (both men and women) to find new solutions for keeping valuable talent.

As the day ends, I look at my beautiful girls asleep in their beds and wonder if I’m making the right decision as my kids say “Mom, you make the best Spaghettios.”   I can confidently answer yes.

Guest Post By Kate Wambach

 

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