Due to circumstances way beyond my control (read: freak weather and a very, very, very important work meeting that couldn’t be rescheduled) I was forced to do something radical with my children…
Put them in charge of getting themselves off to school while I was at work.
This is not something they had ever done before. It was not something I was comfortable with. But we had no choice.
I made them breakfast, helped them get their things together, called my husband and neighbor so they could be checked on, set the oven timer and then… I left them. And I prayed. (No worries, folks. Everything worked out fine and in fact, they now want me to leave early more often. Naturally.)
It seems like lately things have sprung up that have created some interesting childcare dilemmas for me. A school delay here. A rescheduled meeting there.
I’m just so incredibly thankful that my kids are old enough that I can begin to trust them alone for small periods of time.
But what about all of those other women out there who have smaller children or have to leave their children alone on a regular basis? Talk about tough childcare/career decisions!
My own journey into entreprenuership began because a female CEO (a mother herself) brought me into a closed door meeting one day and told me in no uncertain terms that she “expected more time from her employees.” At that point I was working 50 hours a week and my boys were six and seven years old. One had been undergoing testing for short-term memory issues and learning disabilities. I guess the fact that I had been shuffling my work schedule around aggravated her.
So… I quit. Because what it came down to was the fact that she was making me choose between being with my family or work.
And that is a pretty easy choice, don’t you think?
I reached out to some of my other working friends in the blogosphere to get their input on being a working mother:
“I have been working from home since 2004 and the past two years I have had tremendous mommy guilt, and it was mainly due for working 70+ hour weeks. While I don’t feel guilty about working, I’m proud to show my children that I’m following my dreams, and encouraging them to do the same in life, but I feel guilty for such long hours. The biggest decision for me was quitting my job this January to find more balance and focus on building my business instead just working for someone else. This way I can feel less guilty, because I am building a legacy for my children.” – Katja Presnal, Skimbaco Lifestyle
” I became a stay at home mom upon the birth of my daughter to avoid working mom guilt. Also, my mom works full time and although I had a stay at home dad (priceless!), I still missed her terribly, especially when she worked evenings and missed banquets, softball games, etc. When I began working from home, I hoped to find the best of both worlds, and some days I have that. But other times I struggle to keep the lines from blurring. When your office is in your home, it can be all too easy to neglect time with the kids for time with clients. I know that the money I earn is providing a nice life for them, and the fact is that they aren’t getting dropped off at daycare in the dark and picked up from daycare in the dark – I appreciate that – but I still struggle with the guilt. I suppose that no matter what our choice, we’ll all feel torn in some way or another.” – Amy Lupold Bair, Resourceful Mommy
“Six years ago, I started working full time out of the home. I hated it and felt so guilty leaving the girls. When I was home, we’d spend as much time together as we could. I made sure I was off for every performance. The tough times were when they were sick and I had to work. I eventually quit because the stress wasn’t worth the few dollars I made.” – Gena Morris, The Morris Bunch
” I dealt with my working mom guilt by quitting working for other people. Now I make the schedule and I make the workplace rules. If I want to go to a school play or take the family on a mini-vacation in the summer, I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission.” – Amy Bradley – Hole, The Bee Dot