I am going to admit it right here publicly, without guilt: one of the major benefits of working is getting a break from your darling children. Oh yes, we working moms have CRAZY amounts of guilt about leaving our kids each day for our jobs, and constantly re-assess if it is worth it, whether that is for a few hours each week or full-time-plus and whether it is working from our home office or traveling to the other side of the world. But I truly believe it is ok to ENJOY escaping to…I mean going to…work.
For me, I benefit at work by having adult intereaction, intellectually stimulating conversation and quiet, alone time at my desk. How lovely is it to have that cup of coffee in peace? I enjoy solving some problems that people bring to me that don’t start with, “I want moreee snacksss” (I hope you do not have co-workers like that!). I’ll even have days where I look at the clock and see that it is almost time to come home to the chaos of getting dinner on the table and wrangling a toddler into bath and bed that I think, “can I have just 30 more minutes of me-time here, please?”
Perhaps the best benefit of getting a break from your child(ren) at work is that you really come to appreciate your time with them a LOT. Weekends are incredibly precious; I pack them full of quality time with my daughter. And I get the Sunday night blues, knowing the return to work is around the corner and my big blocks of time with my girl are done for a number of days.
Balancing work and motherhood is extremely difficult. But I am grateful for work, not just because it provides income, or that I work alongside lovely people, or because it feels great to put that college and graduate school debt to good use, but also because I truly believe working makes me a better person and thus, a better mother. I understand this may not be true for everyone, those that choose not to work (see below), those who cannot find work or those who are not happy at work, but I venture to say that a number of women do feel that working is an important part of who they are. Let us not feel guilty about wanting to do interesting things for ourselves that do not involve our children; moms are whole people, and for many, that includes a desire to be in the workplace. It’s ok to need a break from on-demand parenting sometimes.
Working moms, embrace your space from the kids! (Then run home or downstairs and squeeze them.)
PS: Moms who stay home with their children are saints and have the hardest job on this planet. I hope if you are one of these moms, that you too are finding a regular escape - with friends, a good book, volunteerism, an invigorating hobby, or in any way that suits you. My 10 hats are off to you, Ladies.