The only call I’ve ever felt certain of was the call to be a mother, and it’s specifically the call to be the mother of my two daughters, ages seven and three. But my professional call, what I’m supposed to be “when I grow up,” has been much murkier. Other than perhaps writing, nothing feels like something I’m supposed to be doing the way I felt I was supposed to be a mother. Is that just how things are though?
After my first daughter was born, I came back from my maternity leave (short-term disability–oh brother) to work part-time from home. I was a strong enough employee, and my job was small enough, that I could manage most of it even with part-time hours–a disaster for me really and a huge benefit to my then employer. Once my baby started walking around 10 months, I quit completely and fully embraced the stay-at-home mom life. A privilege I fully recognize and appreciate.
While she was young, this was pure bliss. I was so happy to be caring for, nursing and loving this little girl. And having a second daughter when my first was about four and a half kind of reset me back into the baby years I loved so much. I was able to work some freelance jobs here and there, make a little income and keep my resume current. Finding the part-time work with Baton Rouge Parents Magazine has given me a confidence boost, and I’m sure will help my career once I decide to step back fully into the workplace, but it presents its own challenges.
Juggling children with regular, deadline-driven working from home has been very hard, especially during the summer. I dream of an office where I could go and pound out some work without the sounds of bickering or even playing going on in the background. I envy my husband and his work–a career he loves and at which he is exceptional. His success is what allows me to have this option of part-time, flexible work for now, so the envy is oddly wrapped in gratitude.
Perhaps the answer is more child care–a mother’s helper here and there (which is actually something I did when working from home as a new mom) or even a regular babysitter to take on some of the carpool drudgery. Perhaps it’s lowering my expectations and hanging on until school starts back up for both girls.
I assumed I’d wait until my youngest is at least in kindergarten before I make a move back to full-time work. Part of me thinks that’s still a possibility, despite the sometimes allure of full-time work now. About two years from now, Miss Three will be entering elementary school. I also see the benefit in continued part-time, flexible work even into those elementary years. Having me available has its own kind of value.
I want to balance what’s best for my family–both in terms of providing high-quality child care from someone who loves them best and what’s best for me as a person and my career, fledgling as it may be. I also fully recognize my privilege. Do you have any advice for me? What did you do or what do you wish you’d done differently?