Can Working and Stay-at-Home Moms Be Friends?
An EXCLUSIVE Betty Series
My Part-Time Life
For now, part-time everything is working for me!
Today, I am a mom. I work. I stay at home. I PTO. It wasn’t always this way, and it may not always be this way, but this is what suits all of us for now.
Two years ago, I worked full-time in relationship management. I literally never saw the wee ones except on the weekends. I was on the West Coast 50 percent of the time, and when in the office, I rarely left before 7 or 8 p.m. My son was 2½ and would scream NO when he saw me while turning his head and sticking out his hands and arms to keep me away. It was heartbreaking.
As much as I loved my job, my family comes first. We could afford to have me stay home, so I submitted my resignation and began life as a SAHM to an incredibly mobile 8-month-old and a 2½-year-old with some special needs.
Going from being in charge of everything and having complete control of my schedule to being at home – and I do mean AT home – with two small children who constantly needed refereeing was exhausting. I no longer had the mental stimulation I craved. I could rarely take the time to go to the bathroom unless they were napping.
The changes were quite a shock to my system, and I started climbing the walls. Luckily for me, my former company called to see if I’d be willing to come back. At the time, it was a contract position for 10 hours a week, mostly from home. The pay wasn’t fantastic, but it was decent and the hours were flexible.
Initially I trained an analytics system for the business folks. The analytics guys couldn’t translate their knowledge to the business folks, so I had a nice cushy job. A few months later, my boss’s boss talked me into coming back on a more permanent basis. This meant bringing my hours up to three days a week and working on a larger variety of projects. I agreed to come back, with the stipulation that 24 hours meant 24 hours. The work was interesting, and my role was appreciated even as my division was reorganized.
This May, we reorganized again and I moved to a new Strategy team, focused on defining a new era for our business. I have a new boss now, one I don’t respect nearly as much as my previous boss. He’s a micromanager yet still manages to blow off meetings with me on a regular basis. Being part-time, though, I don’t have too many options. Finding another job in my company will be difficult given the economy, and the intellectual challenge I have here will be difficult to replace.
I’ve thought about quitting to stay home again. I think I could do it now. My wee ones are older now and play nicely and independently. I’m involved in more activities, and the kids are in school, which provides me time.
So why haven’t I quit? I do like what I’m doing, most days. In this economy, it’s hard to give up that second income. Plus, I get benefits with my job that are far better and cheaper than those my husband receives.
I joke that I’m waiting for a layoff that I’ll happily take – enjoy my severance and then stay home. Honestly, if I were to get laid off, that’s exactly what I’d do.
But for now I continue … my part-time work life, part-time home life, part-time volunteer life, part-time family life – and way-overcommitted life that I enjoy.
But ask me tomorrow and I may give you a different answer!
Michelle is a part-time worker and full-time mom who is still trying to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up. In the meantime, she’s focusing on keeping all her balls in the air and everyone in her family happy. On a good day, she even gets a made-from-scratch dinner on the table. Sometimes the whole family will eat it. Read more at her blog, Honest and Truly!
More in the “Can Working and Stay-at-Home Moms Be Friends?” Series: