Monday, October 14, 2013

Working Mom: Hannah (On the Advantages of Being a Working Mom & Coping with Mom Guilt)

I am a working mom (and I love it); but, if I'm being honest, I feel like most days I'm more "surviving" and less "making it work."  So... I enlisted the help of some dear blog friends to share their experiences, advice, lessons, and encouragement on all kinds of topics related to life balancing a job outside the home and a family. I think this goes without saying, but please know that this series is - in no way - meant to belittle or undermine the work of stay-at-home moms - you are doing an incredibly important JOB, and I have so much respect for you!  That said, I do feel like working moms are sometimes under-represented in the internet world... So, my hope is that this will be a place for working moms of the blogosphere to unite and feel understood, connected, strengthened, and supported (plus, maybe pick up a tip or two)!   Overall, I hope this will be a reminder that (regardless of your situation), you are NOT alone, and you are doing a darn good job! Please introduce yourself and  "join the conversation" in the comments.  

(More from me on being a working mom here.)

I honestly could not be more excited to kick-off this new series of guest posts with one of my real-life friends and role models (that probably made her blush) working moms, Hannah.  Hannah and her family used to go to my church before they moved to the Atlanta area this summer for her job. Before the move, Hannah was one of the few other working moms I knew in Roanoke, and I SO appreciated her encouragement and support as I navigated those waters in the very beginning.  (Sometimes it was just as simple as offering helpful hints like "use your straightener to iron your collar" that made ALL the difference.) Hannah has a beautiful family, and anyone that has spent any time around them can tell what a wonderful mom she is and how incredibly loved her kids are. She and her husband are an excellent example of "making it work" with humility and grace.

Really, I can think of no better way to start this series than with a post looking at both sides of the Working Mom coin; so, I asked Hannah to share a little bit about the advantages of being a working mom AND some tips for dealing with the dreaded (and inevitable) mom guilt:


First off I am honored to be writing on E’s blog.  I came across it 2 years ago when we lived in the same town and I started my own blog I Love Mountains (not updated since returning to work after child #3) to deal with the stress of relocating then what was a family of four.  I love E’s perspective and her willingness to be transparent.  It is so exciting to exercise my blog muscle again in this guest post, thanks for reading along.

Before I jump into advice and the advantages to being working mom here’s a little about me.   I am blessed to be the full time working mother of 3 little gems: Caroline (5 for a few more days), Benjamin (3), and Evelyn (15 mos), plus a 12 yr old Chocolate Lab, Abbie.  My career is one of those all consuming sort of things, but it isn’t the only aspect to my life by any means.  I have worked for General Electric for 13 years now and am the Executive Sourcing Manager of our Digital Energy business as of April. I am a “shattering the glass ceiling” kind of girl working in a world of mostly male engineers and am usually the only female in most of the meetings I attend.  I have a wonderful husband who had worked full time up until April.  We made the decision when we relocated (again) to Atlanta in April for Ed to resign from his job and be a stay at home Dad while focusing on his freelance graphic design business part time (it seems full time some days).   So, as you can see, our life is about as crazy as you can get, but I love it.  I wouldn’t change a thing…..except we are in the market for a regular part time babysitter (message me if you are in NW Atlanta and can help us out).  


Team Gloria - Coastal Oregon 2013
So why do I chose to do this?  The simple answer is: I enjoy my work and am good at it.  Everyday I get to interact and love on people in an unexpected way.  Within the course of a typical week, I have spoken with people in 5 countries.  The advantage to working for me is my world perspective is expanded daily and that allows me to expand my children’s view of the world.  I am fortunate enough to have traveled a great deal with my job internationally (China, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Singapore, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Hong Kong) sometimes with a kid in tow in utero (see Evelyn hiding out below in Hong Kong). My kids have a concept of time zones from talking with me during these trips.  They are curious about what people in these countries are like, what foods they eat, and what clothes they wear.  

 
Hong Kong 2012 - Evelyn Gloria in Utero
To be frank, my brain was just made to be in the business world the same way other women’s brains were meant to be at home full time with their families.  We are all wired differently and that is OK. It is more than OK… It is a good thing to have these different perspectives all contributing to our world.

Despite being fulfilled by my work, I am human and feel guilty about not being a part of my kids lives more on a daily basis.  Things like parent-teacher conferences, daily bus stop pick ups, and after school activities I am not usually around for. And, I am definitely not involved in the PTA (I signed Ed up). Likewise, I am temporarily abandoning my own hobbies such as sewing and blogging. I am not the one throwing elaborate birthday parties or hosting baby/wedding showers, etc. (However, I am excited to be hosting Thanksgiving for my large extended family and plan to work to set realistic expectations for myself for that event.  Frankly I don’t even have time to decorate my house right now - and that is something I love doing - but we are blessed to have a home, family, and love so bring on the thankfulness!)

Coping with this all comes down to realizing each decision is a choice I consciously make, and I cannot and will not apologize for that decision.  Maybe that decision will change the next time; but, for now, I must be reasonable about what I can and cannot do. I am blessed with a fabulous husband who is serving me daily and contributes to more than half of our family load, and my kids are getting nurtured by someone who loves them more than anyone else ever will.   So, while Team Gloria is out there busting up stereotypes all over the place, it can be very hard. I hope my kids will see this as normal for their lives and someday be free to choose whatever path feels right for them without guilt of any kind.   

 
Tree planting at Supplier visit - Pune, India 2013

Ladies, whatever you chose to do lean into it without fear or guilt.


THANKS HANNAH!

How about you guys... What are the best (and worst) parts of working?  
How do you handle the hard days?

6 comments:

  1. Awesome post! I have the great fortune of knowing Hannah, and she is such a rock star and role model. Looking forward to her getting back into blogging. - Camille

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  2. Thanks Camille - Its either working out or blogging. When you see my blogging again that may mean i met my target weight :)

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  3. Love this. There definitely isn't enough out there on being a working momma. It is a choice that we make and I also know that working for me is what the Lord is calling me to do and often feel judged by stay-at-home moms (which is mainly in my head I'm sure) and that I'm never enough. I think I would feel this way no matter what I choose because I often feel guilty about even stupid things!! What a full-life we juggle but what a blessing it is to be able to use our gifts and talents to glorify God and love our families.

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  4. AWESOME post! Way to kick off the working Mom series. I love Hannah's story so much. Thank you for sharing. xo

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  5. Thank you so much for this series...it's hard being a working mom whether its by choice or by necessity and there are days I feel like I can't find anyone to relate with, so thank you for this series. I find myself having to justify myself and the time I spend with my daughter to those who have made the decision to stay home but I know its the mommy guilt getting the best of me. It was great to read such an honest and well written post that I can relate to in so many ways!

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  6. Thank you for the comments and support ladies. I agree we need to speak up more to support each other. It will help us rid the guilt! Glad to be a part of that effort.

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Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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