Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stay At Home Mom: Great For Family, Bad For Career???


Well hello, hello. I never thought I would say this, but I'll be relieved when summer is over and my son goes back to pre-school. I am exhausted trying to keep up with Buffalo's summer schedule. But, then again, its better to have too many things going on then none at all.  I find myself falling behind with my writing and I want to make sure I'm back on it. This particular topic has actually been on my mind for a while, so let's get into it.

I've officially been a SAHM (stay at home mother for all you non-parent folks or those of you who just don't get acronyms) since June. I love it, I really do. I like taking care of my home, organizing it, cleaning, maintaining it. And for me, there is nothing better then my son seeing my face every morning when he wakes ups. And I am completely over the moon by the fact that I make my own schedule. I create my own structure for order, no one has put it in place for me at adhere to. But with all of these wonderful aspects of staying home, I have to wonder, as my child gets older...how will this effect my career outside the home once being a stay at home parent is no longer an option? The New York Times recently had an article called "The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In", which examines the lives of several working women who "opted out" and left their outside, professional jobs to be full time, stay at home mothers for their small children. Fast forward ten years later, these women are now facing divorce, depression, difficulty entering the workforce and finding that jobs only pay a portion of what they were originally making. I have listed this article below.  Now, I have to be honest...that article freaked me out at first. I will be the first to tell you that being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Which is why I jumped at the chance to stay home and not rush off back to work when I lost my job at the end of May this year.  I knew that working full time and trying to hold things down at home was burning me out, not to mention the stress and feeling of guilty for not being at home and the envy for those who could actually afford to stay. I told myself, "Hey! You've had a job, non stop since you were 16. You deserve a brake from the corporate rat race". That's what I told myself. I cut out little luxuries and talked things over with my husband, who appeared supportive. And it seems to be working...but I miss outside work. I miss the office environment, the conversations with my co-workers, that feeling of "success" or at least what I had defined as success for so long. But I truly love being at home, I really do and remembering all the anguish I went through with my last job solidified it. I was not going back out there. Then I read that article and began to panic. I knew that my time with Masaya in his early stages was fading fast. He would be starting school full time next year and then what would I do? Maybe work part-time? But would that be enough to get me where I wanted to be? That article painted such a grim picture, but then contradicts itself at the end when it throws in the fact that these women had powerful ties and were able to assimilate back into the workforce easily or were finacnly able to balance both. I was confused, what about those who didn't have that luxury? What about the average joe trying to come back? Where was their story? I sent out resumes immediately.

Then it dawned on me...life isn't always that black and white. At times it is, but for the most part it is very gray with bits of brown mixed in there. Why couldn't I do this on my own terms? Why did I have to fit into this scheme of either staying at home or working outside. Yes, I miss having that extra income, there is no doubt about that, but at the end of the day I was working for day-care, cable TV and shoes that were gorgeous, but too tight. I miss those shoes, but I have bigger dreams. And being home allowed me to focus on writing again, my first love. Networking with other writers and getting my work out there. Not to mention having the time to work on a business plan that is still in its early stages, but I promise to keep you posted. My conclusion is you have to do what's best for you! And believe me, if it comes to the point where my husband is killing himself working trying to keep us afloat, I will be out there working faster then anyone as ever seen. I know its easier said then done, but if you can put your head down at night and sleep well knowing that you are happy and that those around you are happy and you are an equal contributor to the family, then you are on the right track.

I wish my husband was an well off investment banker and we could go on vacation every year and travel to Japan to see his family when we want, but that is not our life, even when I was working. I wish focusing on my home and child alone were enough for me, but it's not. I need both worlds, home and the outside workforce and I am doing my best to make it happen. And as far as that article goes, I found an interesting counter to it that settled my nerves at Refinery 29, its listed below as well. So keep an eye out, this mom may be the next big thing in screenwriting, e-books or even the owner of the hottest boutique in WNY.

Love Malinda xoxo

Here are the links for both articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/magazine/the-opt-out-generation-wants-back-in.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

http://www.refinery29.com/2013/08/51458/nytimes-opt-out-generation

And here is the archived article that started it all in 2003 called "The Opt-Out Revolution":

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/magazine/the-opt-out-revolution.html



14 comments:

  1. Wonderful post. Your son is really blessed to have you there for him.

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    1. Thank you Shawn, that really warms my heart. It all starts at home and my husband and I are trying our best to be good examples for him once he's out there in the world. Thank you again for reading.

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  2. Great post! I was both a stay at home mom and a working mom, too! As your kids get older, they still need you at home, just not so much of the day. Field trips, room Moms, volunteering, conferences, child out sick, half days are all things that happen and you can handle them as a SAHM. Once you get locked back into the 9-5, you loose a lot of flexibility! Having your own business or doing freelance work, gives you the best of both worlds! Perhaps you can look into pursuing that along with lunch dates with former work friends. The work market is tighter than before and no job is guaranteed! Set some business/freelance goals with a time frame and see how that works for you. I am currently at home with a 12 year old in school and will start to look for part-time work AND doing some online things! I have met some great people online and that helps me with the adult interaction. Keep us posted on how you work these things out! Nothing can replace YOU being at home with your children.

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    1. Thank you so much for this Kimsuccess. Your words are truly an encouragement to me and it feels so inspiring to know that others have been where I am right now in my life. I will meditate on this and thank you once again.

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  3. FlexJobs.com, Elance.com and others exist and thrive because us mommies want and will have SUCCESS on our terms. I run a publishing and marketing firm from my home, have launched two best-selling books in the last two years (into global distribution, same wholesale and distribution channels as big New York publishers) and travel once a month to deliver a keynote speech somewhere. It works for us and no, I will NOT return to an inflexible corporate culture that requires me to lean-in so far that my family suffers. F that. One of my friends said it best: "I choose to lean nto myself and lean into my ideas." #MOMMYEntrepreneurship


    Graciela Tiscareno-Sato
    http://about.me/gracielaTSato


    Graciela Tiscareno

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    1. Graciela...the only words that come to my mind right now are this... thank you, thank you, thank you. This was so inspiring for me and I am so grateful to have been able to connect with you. And you are so right! We as parents will have success on our own terms. I will be in touch. Thank you once again for the encouragement and great information.

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  4. Great article! I wrote an article on men staying-at-home (http://opportunityagenda.org/stay_home_dad) while women work. And apart from the underlying idea that sex plays a major role in what’s naturally accepted by society, I think that the choice of becoming a SAHM is personal. Doing what’s bountifully right and feels awesome to you is totally right for you. Big wishes to you and the fam!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement Keia and I really enjoyed your article. It is a topic that isn't discussed as much as it should be and my husband was a stay-at-home father with our son for about 7 months. And even though his situation was due to unemployment, he could see and understand what kind of gender roles that Western and Eastern society play in our lives and how we raise our children. Thank you again and so glad to connect with you.

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  5. Great post! I agree with everything that was said...it's hard to know what if what we are doing now is best or not. I do know that your son will look back on this time and be glad that you worked so hard to make a happy home for him!

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    1. Thank you so much Kelsey for always supporting my work and always being honest. Your words mean so much and I know that when parents support each other, it just goes to the greater good for our children. Thank you again for reading!!!

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  6. Love this post! You are a great mom!

    Hi! Stopping by from Moms Blogger Club.
    Have a nice day!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Veronica. I appreciate the support from one Blogging Mom to another :)

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  7. Although I've yet to marry or bear children, your post has been pressing on my mind since I read it a few weeks ago. After graduating college some years back, my eyes were set to a legal career in corporate law specializing in mergers and acquisitions. But the older I became, the more I realized corporate America was not for me. I didn't want to be in someone's law firm billing 60+ hours a week; instead of at home with my family. In every one of my affairs (jobs) with corporate America, I felt out of place, caged--my freedom curtailed. I'm not a traditional sort of person. My sweetie and I have discussed me being a SAHM once we marry, which works for me because I'll get plenty of family time; plus it'll allow me the flexibility to work on my writing, mentoring, and nonprofit work. Now that's what I opt-in for--being my own boss with my family and business.

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    1. Sorry for the late reply and thank you for that. Yes, I am all about self employment, especially us women and my fellow parents. Its so important for us to encourage each other in not only our professional lives, but our personal ones too. I totally believe it is all connected and the more positivity you have around you, then the more successful you can be at anything you set your mind to!

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