Work/Life Balance

I’m sure most people have heard the term work/life balance, rather it was mentioned in a benefits discussion at work or by researching it because of dealing with an issue.  Well, it is something I constantly think about, probably on a daily basis.

When I had my first child back in 2006, I wasn’t sure what to expect at work.  I had been there for almost 3 years and had only seen 1 person go through pregnancy while holding down a job.  Unfortunately, although we were in the same department, we did completely different jobs.  As my pregnancy progressed, things seemed to go well; management was supportive and gave me other assignments I could handle (part of my job included lifting computers and printers), until I went out on maternity leave. It was great to know that I didn’t have to worry about my job and being out for 2 months (C-section recovery).  I decided to breastfeed, so when I returned, I needed a place where I could pump milk, and because I had a private office, there were no issues there either.  I guess you could say, my work/life balance was balanced.  I wasn’t stressed when it came to taking my baby to the follow-up doctor visits, because I had earned both vacation and sick leave and could utilize it when necessary.  Fast forward to 2015……you would think that work/life balance would only improve right? Wrong!

It amazes me how moms feel the stress and weight on her shoulders because she wants to work and have a family.  I’ve told my husband from day one, I don’t want to stay home and raise kids.  I want to have my career, marriage, and family.  Would I take a work from home/remote job, yes.  I’m just not the stay at home, clean the house, home school the kids type of mom.  I certainly give a “hats off” to those who do it!  I don’t have the patience it would take to teach my kids.  Helping with homework in the evening is good enough for me.  And although I desire a clean home, I don’t want to stay home and do it unless it’s the weekend or I have a day off work for some other reason.  But, whether you are a mom who works outside the home or one who works inside, I still think we feel the weight of the world to do ALL that has to be done.  For me, as a mom who works outside of the home, it’s the stress of needing to be at the kids school for a meeting, taking them to the doctor, attending a fieldtrip, or simply stopping in to have lunch with them.  I have earned the time off and I work hard, why then must I be punished for having children and wanting to work?  Isn’t that the reason you get vacation, sick, and even separate parental leave?  Should I be made to feel bad for having to take off to be with my child or take care of a personal matter concerning my children.  I wouldn’t think so in this day and age, but you can tell from this post, that is exactly how I’m feeling right about now.

My family is a priority and so is work.  However, work will always be there and that’s not necessarily the case for family.  Kids grow up quick.  I want to be there to see them grow.  I want to remember being at the recital when they performed, or taking the photos with classmates on the fieldtrip, or even being there when the dentist says they have no cavities.  It may seem small to someone who has no kids, but for me being a mom is important.  No, I’m not a perfect mom, but I do want to be a mom who is there for her kids.  A number of laws have been put in place to protect the working mother, but are they truly being adhered to? I’m not so sure about that. What are your thoughts?

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