I chose my family over my career – working mom

I chose my family over my career – working mom
Spread the love

I chose my family over my career – working mom

For the last few years, I’ve worked for a pretty great company. After I got pregnant they allowed me to work from home two days a week to help supplement the cost of day care and to allow me the opportunity to watch my son reach all of his first milestones. This accommodation helped me tremendously after my son was first born. I worked hard and I was rewarded for that.

work life balance working mom

A few weeks after I returned from maternity leave, I received a promotion. Before accepting, I requested little to no travel in addition to the work from home privilege. I was assured this new role would easily meet this need.

You may remember a post I wrote shortly after that promotion (“How to make a single mom quit her job“) that alluded to some not-so-great happenings at my office. This was the beginning of the end of any form of work/life balance for me at this company. This once amazing environment that rewarded me for my hustle and quality of work, was now back pedaling.

Being a mom, a single mom, was hindering my ability to slave away at a desk for this company and travel 6 times as much as they originally agreed to. They stopped caring about my circumstances and started looking for reasons to write me up and push me down.
Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 11.29.12 AM

I was exhausted and stressed and decided I didn’t want to live that way anymore. I don’t live to work, I work to live. The second work stops letting me do that, and makes me choose between my family and it, it will lose. Every single time.

Now let’s take a step back for a minute. I’ve always worked extremely hard to accomplish my goals and build a career for myself. My professional accomplishments defined my self-worth and I never left a job without something better lined up.

But I made a decision this time around. I made the decision that my son mattered more than my career, and if it came down to it, I’d leave the place that was sucking my soul regardless of whether I had another job lined up or not.

Side note: I’m very fortunate to have a supportive mother who would have let me and my son move into her home while I looked for another job. I could rent out my house to bring in a little income so my son and I would be ok. Without her, I don’t know that I’d have been able to make such a choice.  Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 11.27.37 AM

I set a date and began my job search.

I couldn’t take just any old job, I needed one that understood my responsibilities and desires to choose my family before my career.  And I planned on being fully transparent about that up front.

My criteria:
– Less than 3 work trips per year
– Ability to work from home
– Flex hours
*Bonus* Paid maternity leave

Maybe you’ve read the recent pushes for a family-first mentality in the workplace. The NY Times recently published a piece about a woman-led law firm that lets partners be parents. Or that Facebook recently announced an extended paid parental leave policy for all full time employees no matter where in the world they live.

The only way this is going to become commonplace if more and more people start demanding it. So after applying to hundreds of jobs, interviewing with a handful and declining a few, I found one that understood my mommy needs.

I put my son before my career. I chose my family over my job.

Now, I get to attend Mommy & Me gymnastics classes that are only held during the day in the middle of the week. Now, I can go to doctor’s appointments and be home with my son if he’s sick. Now I can easily run errands while he’s at daycare.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 11.35.32 AM

I can do these things because my new employer wants me to. I can do these things because my new employer understands parenting doesn’t stop between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. As long as my work is completed on time and at the quality it should be delivered with, then who cares if I work from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or 6 a.m. – 12 p.m. / 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The hours on the clock don’t matter as much as the work itself, and why this isn’t a widely accepted way of thinking is truly beyond me.

Tell me how you maintain a positive work / life balance as a working mom in the comments below. 

Spread the love

12 thoughts on “I chose my family over my career – working mom”

  • Love this!! I have struggled with the same things being a single mom and building a career. Like you, I decided to put my family first – finding a position that lets me be a parent, while being assured that I would get the job done regardless. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • It can be a difficult decision when you’ve worked so hard to get where you are, but when you find that balance, it’s a magical thing!

  • A great post that I totally empathize with and feel needs to be shared. While my soon-to-be-former company has been largely parent-friendly in its attitude and practices, some colleagues and managers have been bias against single parents in particular. Meaning, if/when a married colleague requests time off or special arrangements to attend to her kids or family, she is granted the time and support. Yet, single moms are given a lecture about job responsibility, etc if/when they ask for the same time or support. Ironically, it’s the single parents who rarely ask for help, possibly because they are incredible jugglers. In the end, I firmly agree that family is first. The money will come. People first.

    • OH MY GOSH YES! This is the same thing that happened to me. The stigma surrounding single parenthood is that we are needy and can’t fulfill our responsibilities, but in reality we are better at it. There are just some instances though that are never going to change: If my son is sick and can’t be at school, sorry but I have to be home with him. There is no one else and he can’t stay home alone (OBVIOUSLY!) Props to you for being on the way out of your place. Being understanding and accommodating on the surface is superficial and solves NO problems. So proud of you!

  • Great post! My daughter is 13 now so she’s older and more self-sufficient. When she was younger, I was fortunate to have a great job. Really I’ve been in great positions for years. My very first professional position wasn’t that great because I had a micromanager but I didn’t have any children then either. So, now it really is blissful. Even so, I’m working to build a full-time business. I’d love to own even more of my time.

    • Keep pushing and doing great things! You have a little cute baby and I’m sure he’s just loving on his mama. You’re doing great work here and in the group!

    • That’s so great that you’ve been so fortunate and amazing that you have the goals to turn your business into a full time thing! Take control over your life and your circumstances, that’s the best thing you can do for your family.

  • If only there were more employers like this! Hats off to you for having the courage to stand by your believes and values. Many cave under pressure and it’s not entirely their fault. It’s circumstances and timing and everything else. No mom needs to ask permission to be there for their child or take them to the doctors’. Thanks for sharing this post and for your honesty! 🙂

    • You’re so right. If more employers celebrated parents and allowed them to make the best decisions for themselves, people would be more inclined to work harder! They would give back more to the company in return.

  • I LOVE this! I went through something very similar after returning from my maternity leave. I had loved my actual job, but knew the company didn’t always treat its employees the greatest. My first week back I wasn’t given a room to pump in. I was told that if I couldn’t prove that I’d been studying work related materials during my maternity leave then I was probably no longer qualified, as marketing is ever changing. I quit then and there. And accepted a position working from home 3 days a week, and in an office 2 days per week. Quitting that job and getting to stay home with my girl was the best thing to ever happen to me. Although I have returned to working outside the home full time, I found an amazing employer. It sounds very similar to yours! I’m so happy for you and thrilled you get to be a mommy first.

    • WHAT! You could easily have a lawsuit over both of those things. They have to provide you with a room to pump legally AND they can’t make you work or “study for work” while on maternity leave. They could get in SERIOUS trouble for that. I have more information on both of these laws that I’m going to link to below, if you really wanted to push it. I am so incredibly sorry that you faced that sort of discrimination BUT I am also so happy for you that you have found a better place that celebrates your mommy hood! Keep ROCKING it!

      http://themommymyway.com/index.php/2015/04/25/transitioning-back-to-work-after-maternity-leave/ (This touches on FMLA – which is short term disability and the company can get in major legal trouble if they make you work while on disability no matter WHAT the reason for taking the leave. Maternity leave is the exact same coverage laws as someone in a coma or undergoing surgery. Your employer couldn’t enforce that, legally or at all, for any of these other cases so it is the EXACT same for maternity leave. Gosh this makes me so angry for you! But again, so happy you are out of that place!)

  • I too quick my career to be at home with my kids, but I did it when the kids were teens!!! It was very stressful for me as they were giving me the Heisman at the same time I was prepared to do whatever was needed. It wasn’t hard for me to find good help when the kids were little. Just about anyone could have given them a juice box. But, try finding someone who can drive them to after school practices and talk to them about boy/girl drama…that was a hard challenge! I couldn’t fill it, so something had to give. It was my career. I blog now as the kids are off to college. I kept telling friends, looks, we saved for them to go to college, I’m not using those funds for rehab, or attorney fees. It worked out for us. I took me at least a year to adjust.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *