Friday, December 08, 2006

Being a Working Mom

First I must say that I love being a mom. I am actually surprised at how much I love being a mom. I do not mind changing diapers, I do not mind being spit up on. My darling little girl has a fussy period where she screams for at least an hour every evening. Not just crying, but screaming so loud that I sometimes worry that the neighbors will call DCFS. However, I find the crying cute. I sit and hold her and laugh at her personality. See, we have discovered she does not cry from hunger, or needing a diaper change, or anything like that. She cries because she is tired and does not want to sleep. She is so mad that she feels tired. Then she completely crashes into a deep sleep.
Now, having said that, being a working mom in Utah seems to be very difficult. I really want to know if this is a general experience for Utah, mormon moms everywhere, or moms in general. When I was in New York I worked with many moms who did not seem to have the problems I am having.
First, let me say I love my job. I do not like getting up in the morning, and I am right out the door when my day is done. None of this lingering too long. But when I am here, I enjoy my job. I love working with clients, meeting people, helping people, etc. I also enjoy going home and being with my precious baby. She is taken care of in the day by my mother, so I figure I have the best of all worlds.
So, where is the problem? The judging. For good and bad I am judged everywhere I go. Some people at work mention things like "don't you just cry when coming to work?" "How can you be happy away from your baby?" At church "I would never work and have a child. My husband would work three jobs rather than send me to work." "Women who work are just selfish and do not know how to live on a budget." "You do not need to work. You can have medical insurance through Medicaid."
I also get the women who say "I wish I could have a good job and get out of the house". "You are so lucky. If my mom would watch my baby, I would work, too."
I know I do not need to justify myself, but I feel like I do. My husband and I do not work for luxuries. I would love to see how people handle it on one income, but as a teacher (my husband) and a Rehabilitation Counselor (myself) we do not make a fortune. Yes, we do live comfortably. We are getting a nice starter home next month thanks to my husbands saving skills. I have a good education. In fact, my job is paying me to take an online Master's Degree program. Why not take advantage of that? If I have to work, why not let it be something I enjoy? I had another working mom tell me "I have to work, but at least I hate it. At least I know that I would never choose this!" I think that is kind of stupid!
I guess I do feel guilt. But it is guilt about not feeling guilt! Isn't that stupid? People tell me my feelings will change as I miss more and more of her "firsts". Perhaps. But knowing that my family is taken care of, and that my husband's family in the Philippines is taken care of, I feel good about my life. We have our struggles, but I love that we have educations and that we can provide together for our family.
We are moving into a new ward. I am worried about being looked down upon. I know I shouldn't care, but I do care about what people think of me. Call me weak.
Anyway, I write this because I hope to find others out there who have to work, but make the best of it. Those who know that God leads their lives and do not feel guilt about it. Is anyone with me on this?


Todd B. said...

I guess I must have been a messed up child too if I were to accept the judgements of others. My mom started working when I was in first grade. That made it so me and my brothers could serve missions. People need to learn and understand that every family is different with different needs. My mom didn't necessarily want to work outside the home, but she did what had to be done. She's liked her job for the most part and now its going to help her and my dad retire comfortably. Heaven forbid we have educated, intelligent, and hard working women in Zion. I take pride in knowing that there are women who, if situations were to arise, could go out, work, and survive. Just because a woman chooses to work should not be reason to light the torches. Hang in there. Lack of guilt often means we are doing as the Lord wishes for our time and place. :)

Never A True Aggie said...

First. I came to your site from a link of a friend's site. You have the same name as my daughter and there are very few Maren's out there. Anyway, I like what you have to say. We actually left Utah for California. I am a working mom. I like it too and am not ashamed. Actually, the Lord has blessed us in all ways possible. I wanted to stay home, but it wasn't possible. We prayed and we were blessed. I have always been able to find very loving and good day care workers. We are now in a short term situation where my mother watches my oldest who is in Kindergarten and my son goes to day care 3 days a week. I also try to be home as much as I can. I have a job that allows me to take time for school and other things, as well as it does not keep me away from home too much. I heard those comments too, such as "My husband would work 3 jobs before I would have to work." Well, that is just rubbish. What does that say about his role as a father? He is only the money maker? There are other more important things for him to do as well. Ideally, we would live off of some trust fund and both of us could be with our children....but there is no reality to that. Actually, most women have "worked" in one way or another. It is a very small minority of women who have had the luxury to live off of one income. Even pioneer women worked. Who do you think owned the businesses when they came to Utah? Well, there are my two cents. Also, I used to work for the DSPD with the State. I was a case manager and then worked at the state office. Good luck at rehab. Those jobs always looked good. You will enjoy Utah. I miss the mountains and the scenic drives. I also miss cafe rio. Love the tacos!

Maren said...

Never a true aggie,
You named your daughter a great name! What website did you find me on? And when were you at USU? That is where I attended school, and I worked at BRASC. We did a lot with the DSPD workers. I am glad you commented, and it is good to hear other women who feel like I do. Especially about fathers. I would hate it if my husband was working all the time and never got to be with my daughter. She deserves both parents. I do enjoy the scenery of Utah, but must say that I really do like the East the best. However, San Diego is also a favorite!

BG said...

Maren--Hi I found your blog through FMH and I was so shocked by how similar we are in some ways. I'm 27, have a one-year-old boy, and I'm a working mom. I'm blessed because during this year, my husband has worked from home and in the evenings so we haven't had to use babysitters very much. Next year he's going back to school, so that will change. I have had so many of the same experiences you have, and I relate to your statement that you sometimes feel guilty for not feeling guilt! I do enjoy what I do and I feel like I have so much more patience with my son because I'm not around him ALL THE TIME. That said, it is difficult sometimes too. I hope to work part-time in a few years. My husband and I decided that we will work together to raise our family, and that means right now he's home with our son. I would hate if he had to work 3 jobs to support us (which he would if I quit! I have lots of student loan debt). Even so, I still struggle with my choice to pursue an education and work. It's not easy. I feel good about my choice about 80% of the time and question it the rest of the time. But I have had too many experiences where I feel like I am on a path my Heavenly Father approves of. I hope it has a positive impact on my family. My mom went back to school for her masters degree and has worked ever since and it was a huge positive influence on me and my siblings. Anyway, thanks for posting that! The other wierd coincidence we have is that I have been living outside of Utah (in Chicago) for 5 years and will be moving back to Utah this summer...I'm excited to be close to my family, but so nervous about how I will feel being back in Utah. I love the diversity of people in Chicago--although I don't "fit in" well here either, there are lots more people who don't fit in, so it's OK.
Wow, I need to get back to work. Thanks again!

Maren said...

I would love to meet you when you come back to Utah.