The Struggle is Real.

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Sometimes being a full-time working Mom sucks.  And sometimes there are great advantages.

The balance between spending enough quality time with my kids – and actually being present for them, vs. spending time with them in general, is a constant struggle.  And for working Moms, the struggle is real.  Before I get too in the weeds about my own issues, let me acknowledge that I have many SAHM friends and all of them balance a lot of stuff as well – this post isn’t meant to denigrate their struggle or minimize its significance. It is to draw the differences between and distinction of what it means to me to be a working Mom vs. a non-working Mom in a corporate or outside-of-the-home environment and why I continue to choose to work.

I love my career and it partially defines me as a woman and as a Mom. I wouldn’t have it any other way – unless I won the lottery and then all bets are off.  But, in my current reality, I want my daughter to see me excelling in something I am passionate about I want my sons to grow up respecting and appreciating women who choose to work outside the home to support themselves and their family.

But I’d be lying if I said it was easy and that I didn’t want, at certain moments and times, to be a stay-at-home-Mom, because then I wouldn’t miss a lot of what I do because of the nature of my role within my organization.  I travel for work and while I get to make my own schedule, there are still obligations to my team members I cannot ignore simply because I’d love to be home every day when my kids get off the bus, and greet them with a smile and a big hug; to dive right into conversations about how fantastic, or not so fantastic, their day was.

I’d also be lying if I said that I don’t look forward to Monday’s and heading off to the airport or hitting the road to drive to visit one of my markets, especially after a long weekend of running between baseball games, piano practice, acting and singing lessons, a sleepover and a long overdue date night we used as an opportunity to cram as much drinking and fun into on the off-chance we might not get to do it again for a long time.  Yeah, those days I am running for the door and my MIL cannot arrive fast enough.

I’ve often been told, “I don’t know how you do it all?” and “I could never do what you do with three kids”.  Really?

Well, for starters – I don’t do it all.  If you knew the amount of things that get left undone on my To-Do list every day, you’d feel pretty good about yourself.  Also, you could do what I do and by saying that, you’re selling yourself short.  I do what I do because I made a choice.  I am damn proud of that choice.  And with three kids, I get that to some it may seem impossible, but it’s not.  Is it a struggle at times?  Hell. Yes.  And the struggle is real.

But here are some of the advantages of being a working Mom, from my vantage point:

1.)  Using points from all of my work-related travel I am able to afford my family many free family vacations and even ones that are just for me and my main squeeze.

  • From our Nation’s Capitol to Times Square to hobnobbing with Mickey, I have been able to pay for almost all of our vacations for FREE.
  • I surprised my handsome hubs with all expense paid trip to Ireland – with kick ass beds on the plane – and the top rated hotel in Dublin ALL on points earned while spending time away from him and his very kissable face.

2.)  I get to collaborate, communicate and build a network of women (and men) who challenge me to think differently, who validate my purpose on a daily basis and who have helped mold me into the woman I am today – and my kids get to benefit from seeing this side of me.

  • My team challenges me on a daily basis and the problem solving skills I have developed help me navigate the murky waters of my kid’s elementary school drama and get to the bottom of the real issues, empowering them to be leaders in the halls of their educational institution.
  • Just the fact that I get to speak with adults on a daily basis is not lost on this working Mom, even if sometimes all I want to do is avoid contact with anyone over the age of my almost two-year old.  I get that the conversations I have on the daily are decently stimulating and my vent-o-meter gets filled on the regular; something my SAHM friends quite often comment on as one of their secret desires.

3.)  I make my own money.  This is has always been important to me because from an early age my Mom instilled me a desire to be independent and non-reliant on anyone else but myself.  (I also thought I’d never marry until 40 so the thought of supporting myself for most of my life has never been an issue for me)

  • My husband and I have separate accounts.  We have a joint account where we pay all of our shared bills but I like the idea of my own money; that if I want to go buy a new pair of shoes, some clothes or a purse, I can.
  • My bank account is mine.  And because I must have access to credit for my work expenses, and so does my husband, there really isn’t another way for us to operate than the manner in which we do.

4.)  I have nice clothes.  Building a work wardrobe over the years has its perks.  I also enjoy fashion so needing nice clothes for work suits both of my needs; to look and feel nice while dressed up and trying new fashion trends because I can wear them to work.

  • The irony here is that there are days when I want nothing more than to put on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, wear my glasses and a top-knot bun and just chill – especially during my monthly reminder that Eve ate that damn apple.
  • And that is an advantage for me – because I can do that sometimes…being a working Mom who also gets home office days, this is typically my go-to uniform.  But, one of my SAHM friends recently saw me at a school-related event and commented, “I miss dressing up for work”.  It happened to be on a day where I was in the field so I was dressed up. I mentioned how there are many days when I just want to wear cute jeans and a top as opposed to a suit.  We always want what we don’t have, but I will say, I do feel like this one area is where I get some decent balance between all three; dressing up for work, dressing up for a GNO or date night and dressing down to veg out.

5.)  I drive a company provided vehicle – that on average, gets traded in every 6 months – and I don’t pay for gas or insurance.

  • My husband and I both share this perk/advantage/benefit – and it is a BIG one for us. I have driven a company provided vehicle ever since I started working in a corporate environment and the additional monies saved over the past 15+ years is priceless.
  • I have the advantage of working for a car company, so…it kind of goes without saying, my company cars are always really nice, very brand new and have all the latest and greatest technology in them.  The OnStar button in my car gets more action than my husband does in a week’s time.
  • The only caveat to the free gas thing – I do pay for my own gas on the weekends if I need to fill up, but seriously – no car payment – no insurance payment – barely any out-of-pocket gas expense = totally winning.

These are just 5 of many more advantages I could list as a working Mom that always play into my decision whether to continue working or whether to quit and become a SAHM.  After I weigh these advantages, it really comes down to me loving the life I have built – career and all – and that if we were to become a 1 income family, we would have to adjust our way of living and I’m pretty high on the life we live.

So, while I struggle with not being there enough for my kids all the time and I have to rely on the help of my husband (who is a freaking awesome Dad), my MIL and my tribe of badass SAHM friends to sometimes get my kids to wherever it is they need to be, I’m grateful that I get to live life my own way; one in which there will never be complete balance but one I appreciate, because of all of its advantages that affords me quality moments with my family that are forever with me and that keep me going until the next family moment can be experienced.

Regardless of which path in life we choose our goal should always be happiness and gratefulness.  We each have a unique path and there is no right answer.  My real struggle is someone else’s dream…and vice versa.  So, to all the working Moms out there hustling each and every day, cheers to you for doing your thing and making it happen.

-Confessions of a Corporate Mom

#confessionsofacorporatemom #confessions #struggleisreal

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