My Choice :: Work Outside the Home Mom

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My first day back to work "Selfie"
My first day of work “selfie”

When I first decided to go back to work, there was a major practical reason: family finances. We had just relocated to South Carolina, and we were stuck paying rent for our West Columbia apartment and a mortgage for our house in New York, which had not yet sold.

After about two weeks of bills piling up, I realized how tight our finances were going to be stretched while our house sat on the market. I knew what I had to do. I found a babysitter, went on a total of five job interviews, and after a few weeks, I received an offer from the one company I hoped to hear from the most.

Lucie having fun in the care of her babysitter
Lucie having fun in the care of her babysitter

I was nervous to leave Lucie all day at first. After all, I had been a stay at home mom the first year and a half of her life. But the babysitter made it easier by text messaging me photos of Lucie playing throughout the day. When I saw what a great time she was having, the transition was a lot easier for me.

Once I overcame the nerves of leaving my daughter with someone else, I realized I truly enjoy the adult interaction and mental stimulation of working a full time job. I also enjoy my time with Lucie, but realized when I was home full time, I had checked out a bit. I was letting the television be her parent, because I was emotionally exhausted trying to entertain her all the time. I was unable to hold an intellectually stimulating conversation with my husband without discussing the accuracies and inaccuracies of “Dinosaur Train” or what science lesson was taught on “Sid the Science Kid”.

I have great respect for women who have the energy to be stay at home moms, but having tried that role myself and then gone back to work outside the home, I’ve realized working full time is much better for me, my family, and our sanity. I feel like I’m contributing to my family financially (and the health insurance from the company I work for is pretty great too), and my husband and I are more equal partners in parenting. I’ve noticed my self-esteem has vastly improved as well, since I’m realizing my potential intellectually while contributing to the success of my family.

barbara quality time
Quality time with Lucie

Recently I began working an afternoon/evening shift at work, which leaves me some time in the mornings to spend with Lucie. Because I work nights, my husband has the responsibility of caring for Lucie after he gets home from work, bathing her, and putting her to bed. I’m not there for her nighttime routine, but it’s okay.My husband and daughter also have some special one-on-one bonding time as a result.

I have a one hour dinner break, and I come home almost every night to eat dinner with my husband and daughter as a family. This shift transition has allowed my husband and I to have weekends off together, and we realized we now spend quality time together vs. quantity of time.

If you asked me one year ago before we moved to West Columbia if I was thinking of returning to work full time, I probably would have laughed at you. Since rejoining the work force last June, I couldn’t see myself NOT working full time again.

What started out as my attempt to help with the family finances became much more. In fact, I’m a little worried I’m going to go stir crazy when I’m on maternity leave in a few weeks (I’m pregnant with #2 due in April).

I love my family. I love being a mom. But I also love my career, and I wouldn’t trade this path I’ve taken for anything.

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Barbara Reggio is a wife, mother, and small business owner. She has been married to Jonathan since May 2011, and they are partners in parenting their two children, Lucie (January 2012) and Asher (April 2014). The Reggio family relocated to West Columbia from Long Island, NY in March 2013 when Jonathan accepted a job transfer. She has the best of both worlds working both outside the home at a Customs House Brokerage and running her home based business, Trendy Babywearing. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Maritime Studies from the State University of New York at Maritime College. When she is not working or writing articles for Columbia SC Moms Blog, Barbara enjoys walking at the Riverbanks Zoo with her family, babywearing, reading, singing along to the radio (loudly) in her car, loom knitting, documenting her children's lives with photography, and writing on her personal blog http://www.trendsettermom.com/. Barbara is currently working on her goal of becoming a lifetime member with Weight Watchers.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I also feel being a WOHM would help my self esteem. But child care cost for three kids would take any of the financial gain. And while I know I would benefit from it self esteem wise, I can’t imagine I would be ok spending all my time away from them and most the times still have all the work when I get home (because husband frequently goes out of town) and not have any money to show for it.

    But I do look forward to getting back into a career when 1 or 2 kids go to school.

    Good Read!

    • Sarah,

      To be honest, once child #2 is born, money will definitely be much tighter in my household with having to pay for childcare, and I can understand your position that it may not be worth it for your family with three kids not yet in school at this time for you to go to work outside the home. However, even if I am not bringing home a large salary in my current position after paying for daycare, the health benefits offered by the company I work for are better and the premiums for a family are less than half of what they would be to take insurance through the company my husband works for. That alone makes it worth it for me, because we are saving money in that regard.

      I am incredibly lucky that my husband does the majority of the cooking in my house, and this has always been the case- he enjoys it, and I’m not great at it. He also does laundry! I know this is not the typical household chore breakdown, but this works for us.

      We had about a six month period where Jonathan was traveling out of town before we moved to SC and shortly after during which I was a stay at home mom, and I did everything myself. It was during this period of time that I ultimately decided I needed to return to work.

      I’m very lucky that after working for 8 months, I was able to switch to the evening shift, and this does allow more time for me to spend with the kids during the day before going to work, and ultimately, when I return from maternity leave, I should only need to pay a nanny to watch the kids for a maximum of three hours a day between when I leave for work and when I return home, which really isn’t so bad. Most of the time I will be at work, the kids will be asleep anyway.

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