Hi! My name is April, and I’m a working mom. I had another post planed for today but thought I should probably introduce myself before diving in. If you’re following along, please introduce yourself in the comments as well! I’d love for this series to grow into a dialogue and support system for working moms, beyond just my words.
First of all, please let me clarify that I fully believe all moms are extremely hard working moms, especially those who are “just a mom.” Choosing to be a stay at home mom is an absolutely fantastic and worthwhile calling – one that I have seriously considered many times myself, and which I somewhat get to experience for seasons of time during long breaks on my academic calendar. However, for the purposes of this series, I’m going to be writing from the perspective of, and to, moms who also work at a second job, which comes with a unique set of challenges and responsibilities.
The decision for me to continue working while my kids are young is a choice I haven’t made lightly and one that my husband and I continually pray over, evaluate, and reflect upon to make sure things are working in a way that keeps our family first priority. It’s tough! But it’s also such a blessing to be able to simultaneously pursue meaningful and passionate work while fulfilling my most important job of raising my girls.
Before having kids, I was an elementary teacher for five years, three of those while being married. When my oldest daughter was born five years ago, I took a leave of absence from my teaching job to pursue an education doctoral program and was able to work part-time as a graduate assistant for a grant program, while she attended a half-day preschool. (I decided not to return to my teaching position, which I loved, because the program had gone through major changes while I was gone, and it would have required me to travel between 3-4 schools – a commitment I was unwilling to make as a new mom.) When she turned two, I finished my degree and was overjoyed to find a university position teaching in my field of gifted education… However, it was 60 miles from our home, and because I loved the job and we chose not to move for a variety of reasons, I commuted over an hour one way 3-5 days a week, working from home the rest of the time.
When our second daughter was born last year, I wanted to spend more time with her than a 3-4 month maternity leave, so I negotiated a deal with my university to work half-time for a one-year post-maternity period and return to my full-time position the following year. Flash forward to this spring, and I knew I couldn’t (or shouldn’t, for the good of our family) go back into the frantic pace of working full-time with that long commute. The thought of being over an hour away from my girls each day (youngest starting preschool and oldest starting kindergarten) was heart-wrenching to me. So, my husband and I prayerfully made the decision that I would resign and try to piece together some adjunct classes to make up a part-time schedule/salary. At the last minute, my employer made an offer that I couldn’t refuse for a new full-time pilot position teaching fully online, while remaining on the tenure track. I was – and am – overjoyed for an opportunity to seemingly have “the best of both worlds,” and I’m currently two months into trying to figure this whole work-from-home thing out.
Both girls attend school, and I keep the toddler home with me one day a week. My husband and I take turns taking them to school, and I usually pick them up in the afternoons, when I change hats to playtime mom, soccer mom, and chef mom. 🙂 I love the flexibility of being able to eat lunch and volunteer in my daughter’s class, go to Kindermusik, and work in yoga pants without makeup on Monday mornings.
So, hopefully now you know me a little better and have an idea of where I’m coming from. Like any working mom, I struggle often with balance, guilt, and worry. On any typical day, my emotions may range from feeling like I can change the world to feeling totally and completely overwhelmed and possibly a bit crazy for attempting this journey in the first place. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world! I certainly don’t have it all together or all figured out, but I try to keep a glass half full perspective and an attitude of thankfulness in the midst of the stress. I fully believe and put great hope in Philippians 1:6: “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
You can read the rest of my series on Hope & Help for Working Moms here.