Why do you work?
I know that this question has some obvious answers, the top one being, “Because we like to eat.”
Yet I am also very aware that many mothers, including me, work because they want to work. Because they like to work. Because they can’t imagine not having that part of their life in their life.
I know that this is hard for some people to understand. As a work at home mom, I attend a lot of functions in the mornings with mothers who stay at home and don’t work outside of the home. I will be the first to tell you that these are hard working mothers; they just do not have an outside job.
One of my very favorite stay at home mom friends said one day that she had a working mother friend who got down on her from time to time. Apparently the working mother felt that the stay at home mom should be using her ‘education’ and ‘skills’ out in the workforce. My friend who stays at home said very matter of factly, “I don’t work because I don’t want to. This is what I want to be doing right now.”
And then she asked me why I work.
A few days ago I was flipping through a magazine and read a quote from a working mother who said that she worked because she wanted the unique gifts that her job could provide for her, and because with those gifts she felt she could provide more for her family.
I realized then that this is exactly my answer as well.
I enjoy every single minute of my work (well, okay, for the most part-minus some of the stress!) I enjoy becoming engaged in projects and figuring things out. I enjoy providing a service. And yes, I enjoy the money.
Overall, though, I believe that working keeps me more balanced than I could be if I were not working. It gives me something that is my own.
I suppose the key to finding happiness as a mother is to realize what it is that makes you happy and that makes you feel the most balanced, whether that means that you are working or staying at home. If you can afford to stay at home and you want to stay at home, then staying at home is what will probably make you feel the most in balance and content, and so this is the best option for you.
If you want to work and you go out and work, doing something that you love, you will feel more content and balanced when you are part of the job force, and this is what will work best for you.
I’ve seen the arguments between working mothers and stay at home mothers and I can’t understand them. We all have to decide what is best for our families, and what is best for us. If you are staying at home and you hate it, that’s not the best choice for your family. If you are working and you hate it, again, this is not the best option.