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Old 09-23-2006, 07:23 AM   #1  
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Question Working moms - please advise me!!

Hi everyone - I have just been offered a full-time position at my present company - and I am very excited about the job. But worried about how things will go with my children. I have been working 20 hours a week and the kids have been going to early arrival care at school, but not after school care. Before that, I worked at home throughout their preschool years. They did go to preschool but I didn't have to take them to day care. I have always been able to be home during holidays and teacher's work days, summer, etc.

The full time position would start in a couple of weeks. I would need to put my children in a YMCA aftercare program (which they seem excited about for now). My main concern is holidays, summers, days off etc. How do you juggle it all? Do you feel as though you still see your children enough? Mine are 6 and 9 years old, 1st and 4th grade. Any tips or advice would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2006, 07:33 AM   #2  
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This is just my opinion, and I humbly submit it. My sister and I were both raised by a working mom. We both made many, many, many sacrifices to stay home with our children. My mom was wonderful, but worn to a frazzle.
She never shortchanged us, but only herself, as there is only so much time to go around in a day. She never complained, my dad worked hard too, and she had to work, it wasn't a luxury thing. We just saw the struggle, and both silently decided that we wanted a different way of life. Good luck in your decision.
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Old 09-23-2006, 09:18 AM   #3  
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Wow. I hear your excitement about the job...Personally I would NOT be able to work M-F fulltime. I have NO idea how people do that. Pick up your kid at 5:30 or 6, fix dinner, do homework, baths, bedtime? I know people do what they have to do, but it sounds like you guys are doing ok financially with you working part-time. Will going to full-time mean that you are less available to go on field trips, help out in the classroom, take the kids to afterschool activities? How about your own exercise time?

I think it is a huge step. I would work that schedule only as a very very last resort. I admire women who can pull it off. I couldn't. I like picking my kids up from school several days a week. I like (I need!) flexiblity.

I do work 40+ hours a week. A good portion of that is on a weekend day/night. I like being a part-time stay at home mom during the week. I would advise you to carefully consider how this change will affect your time with your kids, because I think that it will, and in a huge way, and if you can pay your bills without this step, then don't take it.

Just my two cents.
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Old 09-23-2006, 09:21 AM   #4  
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I just went back and read that you currently can be with them holidays, summers, etc.

Don't give that up if you don't absolutely have to.

Now that's a nickel's worth!
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:09 AM   #5  
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I stayed home with my kids working part time for 6 years. Since my divorce I have had to start working full time. I hate it. I love my job, but I hate being there when I know my kids need me. I feel pulled in every direction and at the end of the day I feel guilty that there wasn't enough of me to give anywhere. Hold on to you time with you kids, you will never get it back and there is nothing more valuable.
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:43 AM   #6  
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I was a single, working mom for many years while my kids were young. I regret the time that I missed. I missed school functions and many important things in their lives. Often worked on holidays and all summer. It is great now that I'm a SAHM and can be available for my DD. It's too late for my son, as he grown. I wish I had been able to have that same time with him. It's something you can't get back. I would closely weigh the negatives and positives. Financially if you can afford to stay home more with the kids, that's what I'd do. JMHO
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Old 09-23-2006, 11:06 AM   #7  
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I was raised by a working mom and was in the Y's before and after care programs every single school day of the year, all day long every school holiday and for all day every weekday of the summer except the last two weeks in August.

It sucked. I know that that is not encouraging or something you want to hear (my mom takes it as an insult since it was the only thing she could do for us) but it did. I hated it. That was my experience.

That being said, however, my mother and us kids survived and thrived despite it all and I think that my mom spent enough time with us. We got to see her about 3-4hrs every day, which is not bad.

Again, this is just me and my experience so, maybe it is different for other people. But, I just thought I would be honest and add my two cents.
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Old 09-23-2006, 01:34 PM   #8  
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From a former teacher's perspective, (and mother of three).

It sounds like your current situation is a good one. My experience has been that kids need a parent around more as they get older, not less. The impressionable years are approaching and I'm not sure I'd want another adult filling in for me. You can never get this time back. In the blink of an eye they will be off to college, (like my oldest), and you do not want to look back with regret. If you like spending time with your kids, if you don't get bored, if you like being home after school to monitor homework then I'd say pass on the job. Unless you need it to put food on the table, I'd pass. Their lives are going to get a lot more complicated in the next few years, middle school and early high school years especially, and your kids are going to need someone at home to watch over them, to keep them safe. I have always thought that it's better to work full time when they're babies and then be at home for them once they start having serious homework and begin the boyfriend/girlfriend thing.

I'm not sure this is what you wanted to hear, but over the years I have found that my students that had a parent who was heavily involved in their lives, going to after school games, bringing in the cookies, etc., were the students who seemed less frazzled by life.

Before I get a whole bunch of hate mail from working moms, I was there too. I had to work when I had my first child. Mine are now 12, 14 and 21. The homework load is quite high and we have always stressed that they do their best for school all the time. There are lots of exceptions. I know lots of parents that make it work. But...... Mom is guilt-ridden and running ragged.

BTW: My beautiful 21 year old daughter who was in child care for the first 5 years of her life is now a senior at Chapel Hill graduating this spring with honors. So it can be done well. Just make sure this is what you really want.

Good luck with whatever you decide. You seem like a very loving mother!
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Old 09-23-2006, 06:07 PM   #9  
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Default Thanks everyone

Thanks for all of your input. I appreciate all the honesty! My main problem is that my current part-time position is being cut from teh budget. As of Oct 13 I will have no job at all! I have tried to find another part time position but so far no luck. We do need some income from me. The problem is, by the time I pay child care, I won't make that much more than I make right now working part-time with very little childcare expense. I mean, it will be more, but not enough more to seem worth it. But I am not choosing between part-time and full-time, I am choosing between full-time and nothing! The kids want to try after care for a while. I am thinking of trying it on a trial basis. I know that may not seem like I am being fair to my employer, but it seems like the best solution for me. Try it for two or three months, see how everyone does, see how much time I am able to get away from work and over to the school, etc. My husband has agreed that I can do it as a trial - it's just that once we get into it, he may not be so ready to let me quit. It's a very tough decision for me.

I am 39 years old. My mother, who is 62, just retired, and is getting a whopping $300 a month from social security. She is at the mercy of my stepfather, who is not a very nice person, but she obviously can't live on $300 a month. She spent many years staying at home with us, and started working in the last 20 years or so, part-time. She was not happy being a stay at home mom, and I often wished that she had a job. She did not enjoy housework and was depressed and bored. I enjoyed staying home when my children wanted to go to parks and do little crafts with me, and when a kiddie pool, a sprinkler and popsicles made a fun day. Now they want big time entertainment, and there are no kids in our neighborhood to play with. If I could keep the aftercare but still be home on holidays, that would be the best. I tend to get very lonely and bored when I'm not working at all. Oh, if I could only find another good part-time position!!
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:07 PM   #10  
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I mirroring lilybelle's comments. I raised my daughter as a single full-time working mom. Part of that time, I was evening attending night classes. It was rough, and you can't get it back. Now, I'm SAHM with my son. Once he starts school, I plan to return to work. While we CAN live on hubby's income alone, we can't live "comfortably". So I'll go back to work. However, I too may be looking for that part-time position once the time rolls around. Having gone through full-time work with my daughter, I'd rather be here for my son. BUT...many people do manage a full-time job AND home life. You will have holidays and vacation time, and every weekend. Assuming this is a the M-F, 8-5 variety job. Once I stopped the evening classes, I had more time with my daughter. She had to go to an afterschool care program, but that was only for about 1 1/2 hours each day. It gave her the chance to get her homework done, with teachers there to help her with it, providing us with more quality time together.
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Old 09-24-2006, 12:02 AM   #11  
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I had my children in day care almost everyday, all day. I worked 8 and a half hours a day and then travel time. We were gone from the house 11 hours a day. although some of that was spent in the commute which were precious bonding moments. But I had no choice as a single parent. As soon as I moved in with my dh I quit working and was a stay at home mom for 5 years. Then I worked part time and once again full time. I truly regret ever putting my kids in day care and would never make that decision again. However I currently work in a day care. Some kids thrive in a day care environment while others wilt. It also helps if someone can pick them up early and/or drop them off later. The most adjusted kids in day care are the ones who don't spend 10 and a half hours there.
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Old 09-24-2006, 12:32 AM   #12  
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I have three kids, ages 12, 14 and 16. For many years I was a single mom and had to work. My new husband is disabled and is very limited in his work so I still have to work full time. I work overtime right now. It is difficult, but necessary to care for my family. This is my advice to you:

Employ extended family. Yes, no one can replace mom, but I have my mother living with us (we take care of her) and my husband works substantially fewer hours than I do. He and I tag team on the parenting (even though he is a step father, he is wonderful). He gets the kids to appointments and helps with the duties. My mother helps tremendously too.

Is your new job "family friendly?" My job allows me time to take off for school programs and kids' activities as well as illnesses. They also allow me to take calls from my kids and to call them.

Is there anything that you can do from your home? I do a lot of freelance writing. If you can write you can easily make $500 to $600 or more per week. It takes discipline and motivation but it can be done. There are also a lot of jobs out there for transcriptionists, proofreaders and other opportunities. I mentor several writers and am helping them learn how to freelance and write so that they can sustain themselves. If you would like to talk about it you can PM me and I will give you more information and tell you where to go to find projects. I just do it to help these women because they may have self esteem issues or they are not able to work outside of the home. One of my "students" is a cancer patient. Several are victims of hurricane Katrina and lost everything. This is my chance to help others.

Kids need their parents, but you need a life too. Only you know how much time and energy you need and can give to a full time job and parenting. You also have to leave time for yourself. However, I have found that I need to work. It makes me feel productive and happy and more confident.

Remember, you will be no good to your children and family if you do not take care of yourself first.
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:16 AM   #13  
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Another point I have to consider is this: My job is at a hospital. New jobs come open all the time. So this could be temporary and the perfect job could come open down the road. I hate to give it up because it is an excellent hospital, great benefits, and they pay much better than most local organizations.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:26 AM   #14  
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I feel bab because I didn't answer your question at all! I tangented off with wishful and wistful advice...so...some tips:
Prepare! Have your kids lay out their clothes, backpacks, shoes, socks, jackets, etc. the night before. That way there will be no arguing about what to wear and no last minute searches for a missing shoe.
Pack lunches (including yours!) the night before.
Have the kids do their homework at the kitchen table while you fix dinner, so you can help them and they can tell you about their days.
Know that some nights will just be very simple dinners...cereal for dinner is not the end of the world.

Good luck!
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Old 09-24-2006, 01:19 PM   #15  
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Whether or not your children thrive when you work full time will depend on your attitude. I've been a full time working mother, a full time stay at home mom and am now working part-time again as all of my children are now in school.

The catch, for me anyway, has been to let go of the idea that I have to do everything and that it has to be done perfectly. There is nothing wrong with your husband taking his share of time at school functions. Your children will love it if their grandmother or aunt (or whoever) takes a turn at reading to their class or joining their school Christmas party. I used to feel bad that it wasn't ME doing all of these things but my only regret now is that I ever let myself feel guilty about it. The truth is that children find great comfort knowing that they have a network or people who love and support them. They need to know that they can always count on their mother but that they have plenty of other people to lean on. So don't be afraid to get other family members (or close friends) involved. And don't worry that you are imposing your responsibilites onto others. If someone loves your children they will consider it a privledge to be involved in their lives.

Keep in mind that it isn't just the amount of time that you spend with your children but the QUALITY of time that you spend with your children. Since school started (this is the first year all my children are in school and I'm working part time during the hours they are in school) I see a lot less of them. That would be the case whether I worked or not. So, I make an effort to make the time we do have together relaxed and enjoyable. Be organized and contain as much chaos as you can so that you can devote all of your attention to the family time that you do have.

Whatever you do, don't let any feelings of guilt change your expectations of your children or impact the way you discipline. IMHO, too many working mother's try and make up for the fact that they work by being lax in the way they parent. It is an easy trap to fall into and one of the worst things you can do to your children. They need structure and responsiblity more than ever when both parents work.

Finally, talk to your employer. If you have been a loyal and productive employee you may be surprised what they are will to accomodate to keep you. Full time doesn't have to mean 8-5. Can any of your work be done at home on a laptop? Could you work weekends and be at home two days during the week? Will they let you take all of your vacation at once to be at home during the summer (can your husband do this too so that you only need outside care for part of the summer?). Will they let you work through lunch and leave an hour early? Will they let you work full time most of the year and part time during summer and holidays (maybe let you apply vacation time towards these part time days?). If so, would getting a part-time babysitter during summers and holidays be a better option than full time day care? Maybe your mom would enjoy a few extra dollars and time with her grandkids given her current situation. Be creative, come up with a plan that would suit your needs and be ready to explain how your plan benefits the company that you work for. The worst they can do is say no - and you won't be any worse off for having asked.

I LOVE being a stay at home mom, but I'm enjoying having a job again too. The bottom line is that if you are a good, loving parent, your children will be fine in ANY situation. And sometimes, as a good, loving parent, you have to do what you have to do. But, there is always a way to do what you have to do without having a negative impact on your children's lives.
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