Friday, November 12, 2010

Work vs. Home

I was struck yesterday by a friend's comment that she didn't want to work during her daughter's teen years, because her mother did and it was hard on my friend. It led me to wonder why it was hard on my friend and how the choice to work or not work really affects our children.

I honestly believe that happy and fulfilled parents raise children who are more secure. People find fulfillment in different ways. I love working part-time and being home with Soph after school - I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I also see how quickly Sophie's time with us goes by - she is nearly 11 years old, just 7 more years until she is 18. There are times I would like to be working full-time to secure more income, but the truth is, I don't like working full-time and I didn't like it pre-Sophie.

Parents - what paths did you and your partner take and what benefits/downfalls do you see?


  1. Eric and I both work and both share Heather care. (Eric doesn't work on Fridays, I work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Eric's parents fill in on Mondays and Wednesdays) To be honest, I would rather NOT work full-time (or probably at all while Heather is not in school), but my job is the one that provides our health insurance, so this is the choice we've made for our family. It works pretty well overall.

    I agree that parents who are fulfilled raise more secure parents. However, to a certain extent, I believe that "being fulfilled" is a choice. I think one views their situation has quite a bit to do with how fulfilled one is with that situation. For example: I can look on my job at the opera company as desk work drudgery, filling out paperwork, paying bills, nagging people about forms and budgets, very unfulfilling stuff. OR I can look at it as an extremely important function for which I am very well suited, and without which, the company would come to a screeching halt in a matter of weeks. VERY fulfilling!

    Likewise, my work at home is made up of scrubbing floors, finding shoes, fighting over the fact that Heather can't run around in her pajamas all day, and folding pile after pile after pile of laundry. Yuck. Not fulfilling, to say the least.

    Or, I can look at my "home work" as an opportunity to create a peaceful place, an interesting place, a place where Eric and Heather and I like to be. I can look at my Heather-related responsibilities as the opportunity to provide an example of grace, determination, and cheer, and every other attribute I would like to see her develop. In short, for these few years, I can be the primary means of molding another human being. Challenging? You'd better believe it, but very very fulfilling.


  2. "I agree that parents who are fulfilled raise more secure parents. "

    (I mean that parents who are fulfilled raise more secure CHILDREN)

    There are a few other typos in there, but I think that's the only one that really changes the meaning of what I meant to say.

  3. I agree with you. One of the reasons I chose the field I'm going in to is the hours. I won't have to work summers and I'll be home when my kids are, while still being able to bring in extra income and fulfill myself as accomplished. I agree that fulfilled parents raise more secure children. I also think that because I will be working, it will raise more responsible children. I fully expect them to help clean house and cook and other family/shared duties. My mom was a stay at home mom and took on all those responsibilities and honestly put, I had a hard time when I got married because I didn't know how to cook or clean. Josh had to teach me!
    Before my kids were in school, however, it was important to me that one of us be home with the kids, so Josh and I shared that responsibility as well. I worked mornings and he worked evenings.

  4. Charlotte - I agree that we need to make whatever work we do feel fulfilling, though I still think some people are going to be happier if they either stay home or work outside their home. I love how you look at your work at home though, I need to adopt that a bit more!

    April - that's how we feel with our work: it allows us time to be home with Sophie when she is home! Did you find it hard when you and Josh shared as far as not seeing much of each other? When Steve was in grad school we shared and it became hard to parent together, since we were use to doing it without the other one there. Now it's all good, but it took awhile!

  5. I never had a mom who stayed home... I was simply accostomed to kind of playing it on my own. And although I feel like I turned out fine and I feel I'm very secure, I'd like to be around for my kids at least until they are all in school - and I would prefer to avoid daycare if I can. I liked working part time when my husband could watch my daughter - it worked out great! But, I'm less comfortable with someone else watching my kids.... not sure why.

    I hadn't thought about staying home when my kids are teenagers. I always have had a goal of getting all my kidders into elementary school and then going back to teaching elementary myself. I think that is interesting that your friend said it's important for her to be there for her teenage daughter - I liked that and it isn't something I'd considered. I never felt like I was missing anything as a teenager even though I did have a mom that worked. But, obviously some kids NEED that.

    Good questions all!! Richard and I are struggling financially right now because I'm not working. I'd really just rather be with my kids (they are so little). And so we suffer through the hard times and we are going to cram 5 people into this 2 bedroom condo... BUT it IS a short term thing. My husband should have a secure job with benefits hopefully sometime next fall. So it will only be a short spell for us. If it came down to permanently living like we are and me taking a job, I'm certain I'd go back to work but I'd hope for part time.

  6. Tannie - Soph was born during Steve's first year of graduate school and we had many friends in student housing who had 3 or more kids in the apartments and yep, they gave up material things, but the experiences were fabulous! I often said I would live there forever if I could, because the community was so strong and there was no competing with anyone's financial situation, since we were all in the same boat :)

    I've heard people say that being home is more important when children are teenagers than when they're young, because when a teenager wants to talk, you need to drop everything, since their desire to talk might not happen often! I can see that, though I also wonder how much of the being home will consist of driving them around! :)

  7. I don't know if I agree about being home for the teenager... HE IS NEVER HOME! lol
    I like being home. It is for me. I can see where a parent might not want to be home. It can be boring and feel unfufilling at times. I don't get a paycheck, I don't get a good review at the end of a year. Some days I don't talk to another adult until my husband comes home. But, I love it I had to work out some kinks in feeling self worth in the beginning (I always worked from the time I was 16). But I will not look down on someone who works. I think that if you are not content being a stay at home mom it doesn't mean you are a bad mom. Financial situations can make you have to work and just how you feel about yourself. I bugs me when people just work to have more, bigger, better things bugs me. Butthere is a root problem of a different kind there. I have loved being here for my kids. I have a neighbor who's husband left her after 4 kids, the youngest was only months old. She hadn't had a job in years, no real skill sets and now she just lives off of alimony and child support. That is horrifying to me. I would work. I would not just live off of what my alimony was. I know she had an ideal of what her life was going to be like, that she was going to be a stay at home mom but you have to roll with life changes. What if her husband died, she would have to work and she has been out of the work force for 10 years or so. I would at least keep up on a skill set.... yikes feel like I'm rambling I have to get ready to go volunteer at my sons school... something I am grateful to be able to do too!