For the last 11 years I have had at least one child at home with me for a large chunk of the school day. But now my youngest has headed off to full-time kindergarten leaving me with an empty house from 8 to 2:30 – except for the trusty dog of course.
From age 29 to 40 I have been a stay-at-home mom who worked some from home, but now I am at a crossroads in my life.
Do I go back to work full-time, do I maintain my same amount of work hours from home but keep a very organized and neat home, or do I try to take on more work hours but not quite be full-time?
Just mentioning on the blog yesterday that my youngest had headed off to school started a debate about what does a stay-at-home mom do all day while her kids are in school.
Here are a few opinions from the blog yesterday:
August 6th, 2012
What does a mom with all school aged children normally do during the 6 hours the children aren’t at home?”
August 6th, 2012
@ Jarvis, here is what my friends do. work out for an hour every day. Keep their home neat and tidy. Beds made, dishes always done. Get all the laundry done so there are never piles of laundry on the table or the sofa. Plan and fix healthy meals so their kids are not being fed a constant diet of pizza and chicken fingers. Grocery shop so they are not the ones in the store with a screaming child at 6pm, volunteer at the school, go on field trips with their kids. Pay bills, meet handymen, cable people and take care of other household chores. They are rested and have little stress once their spouses and children get home. They can then focus on homework without trying to do dinner, homework, laundry etc.. all in the three or four hours they have to spend with their families every evening.
Seriously, people can say all day long that they can do it all but families are by and large better off if they have a dedicated person to run the home. It is a full time job. Now I’m sure that many will respond that they work full time and their homes and families run perfectly but those people who can truly give 100percent to work and family are few and far between. I know I can’t. I don’t know a mom who sits around watching movies or eating bonbons every day. Basically they do all those things that the rest of the world tries to squeeze in after 6pm and on the weekends.”
August 6th, 2012
“Seriously, people can say all day long that they can do it all but families are by and large better off if they have a dedicated person to run the home.”
And where did you get this data? For the record, I’ve been a stay at home mom, but I had kids at home with me. Sorry, but once my son 3, I returned to work full time. You can work full time, cook healthy dinners and take care of the home. In my house, taking care of the home is EVERYONE’S responsibility. Make up your own bed. I have a family member whose husband is a doctor. Every time I see her she looks like she’s gained another 10lbs. Her house is far from clean. I would say that she spends much of her day sitting around eating bon bons and whatever else she can find. She does do community service work, so I guess that counts for something. But her job is MUCH easier than what I do.
On topic, no party for me. I’m teaching the kids. Back to work I go.”
Of course money is a factor in the decision to go back to work. Like any family we could use the extra income, but I also feel like I need to be there for homework, getting them to all their activities and serving a nice home-cooked dinner. (From what I see from friends with middle-school kids and high-school kids the extra-curricular schedule is even crazier than when they are little.)
I would love to work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. so I could get them to school in the morning and then be home when they need me. (I don’t want to give up the mom blog of course. I love examining modern family life with you guys. But I could take on more work with them in school.)
This fall, I am teaching digital media again at a local university and that really is perfect. I teach a four-hour lecture one day a week while my kids are in school. I can plan my lessons and grade from home. I am hoping to maybe teach a second class next semester.
So here are my dream jobs if anyone is hiring!
1. Teach more classes at the university. I love teaching journalism. I love being with the students. It is invigorating, fun and challenging. I feel like I have great first-hand knowledge to share with them, and I am equally good at listening to them. It’s amazing how many just want to talk to someone.
2. I would love to work for or start a non-profit literacy group for kids. Remember that blog I ran a few months ago about how middle-income kids receive about 1,000 hours of one-on-one reading time before they start first grade and low-income kids get 25! Low-income kids are working from such a disadvantage before they even enter school. This would be such an easy thing to fix. I would love to organize a program that brings volunteers into churches, daycare centers and schools to read to underprivileged kids.
3. I think I would be happy working for some type of child advocacy group – organizing, promoting, recruiting volunteers, working with the children.
My passions are children and education and if you could roll journalism into that some way I would be a fulfilled worker.
What do you think: Should moms go back to work full-time out of the house, in the house, or just work part-time when all the kids are in school? Are homework, running the house, and those crazy activity schedules reason enough to stay home?
What would your dream job be? What hours would it be? Would you change industries?