I’m a school librarian at a public junior high school. My work hours and schedule are very much reflective of a typical school day – I’m there from about 6:45 AM until 3:00 PM.
On the positive side, I get to spend a LOT of time with my family. I have all national holidays off, including a week at Christmas, a week in February, and a week in March. I also have 10 weeks off during the summer. My parents were both teachers, and I think I went into the profession because I really appreciated the lifestyle it afforded us growing up. Unlike many other teachers, I don’t have to bring a whole lot of work home on the weekends – I plan lessons, but I don’t grade papers, so most of the time work stays at work, unless we have a big project coming up. I’m also well compensated – I can’t complain about my salary and I have really excellent benefits. Although we’re by no means rich, and we live well within our means, I’d say we’re comfortable. Hopefully my children will not have to go without things they need.
I struggle to come up with negatives about my career choice. I sometimes get a little bored/itchy to try something new, but that doesn’t really impact my family. I always get nervous during budget time, as my position isn’t mandated, so that can be stressful, but otherwise, I think I have one of the best jobs possible for a working mom.
My career definitely positively impacts our family. I am fortunate enough to make enough money to keep Missus Scooter at home caring for Baby O. My work is extremely flexible and places high importance on putting family first. I get a regular work-from-home day and tons of flexibility when needed. They are very generous with time off (4 weeks per year). In addition, the work we do is really meaningful and something I am proud of. I am really really happy with where I work and who I work for.
I work at home and Hellobee is my full-time job (people ask me that all the time).
Pros: (1) I’m my own boss and with that comes a lot of flexibility. If the kids are sick or if I’m sick, I can take a day off. I can take time off for pretty much any reason I need/want, though I really only do when necessary. (2) However I do use “work hours” to do home-related things like go to the market, clean, or cook. I don’t know how WOHMs do it all! (3) I was home with Charlie until he was 21 months and Olive until she was 16 months when they started daycare, so I saw every milestone and spent time with them in the middle of the day, every day. (4) In the near future, we hope to live abroad for a while because our jobs are online, so we can work anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. (5) My job is very fulfilling. I love helping people and I love what I do… there isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing right now so I feel very lucky! Hellobee has also helped me become a better parent, and I love that everyone that works for Hellobee is a WAHM!
Cons: (1) I think being your own boss is difficult because you have so much more work and responsibility, but you also have no one to answer to and keep you accountable (bad for a procrastinator like me!). (2) My work is never done because there is always something that needs to be done or should be done to grow the business. (3) I squeeze work into all my time when I’m not with the kids since the lines between home/work/life are always blurred, which means I usually work until I fall asleep. (4) It’s much easier to neglect yourself (especially when you’re a mom) when you work from home than if you commute, so I’m always in my pj’s and always look like a hobo. (5) We rarely take vacations, and if we do, we work during them, and we don’t take holidays off. (6) We pay for all our own benefits and income isn’t stable. (7) A lot of people get lonely working at home, but luckily I have pretty low social needs.
Despite the long hours and stress that comes with having your own business, the flexibility is really impossible for me to give up. And once you’ve been your own boss, it’s hard to work for someone again. I could also never, never, never be a full-time SAHM. It truly would be the hardest job in the world for me. Being a WAHM gives me the best of everything I’m looking for — a fulfilling job, flexibility, and more time with my kids than I would have if I were a WOHM.
I work at home as a freelance illustrator, so I do illustration work under contract for clients as well as personal commissions (like portraits) and sell prints.
Pros: My work has a lot of flex. If I need to take some time off, or just work very little it’s easy to do; I just turn down projects and stop actively searching out work. I can work whenever I have the time, and Mr SH is home quite a bit so if I need to really work a lot for a short time, he can take greater responsibility for the home stuff. I need time to grow my business, so it’s great that I can get more involved as the girls get older and I have more time and energy to devote to it.
The biggest pro is that it’s my passion, and a parent who’s doing something that makes them happy is good for the whole family!
Cons: Well, currently I don’t make a lot as I’ve been finding it hard to carve out much extra time with two little ones. This will get easier as they get older, but I can’t be relied upon to make a certain amount even then. I’m making spare cash — not contributing to the day to day expenses of our family. It’s also a job that requires creativity and focus, both of which can be hard when you have sleep deprivation.
Right now I am an adjunct instructor at two local community colleges. At this very moment I’m teaching only one class. Because of that, I would say that my “job” is to be a SAHM, and my paid work is just extra, on-the-side stuff.
I like being an adjunct because it is the ultimate in flexible– I can take up to three classes at either school, and can decide which ones fit into my schedule. Right now only night classes really work for me, but fortunately it is hard for my school to find instructors for night classes, so our needs match up. In the summer when the grandparents are available for babysitting and Scribble is eating solids, I may begin teaching some daytime classes.
Unlike freelancing, I can depend upon a set amount of money for my efforts. But I’m also not paid by the hour– some days I can just cakewalk through my lesson plan, and other days require grading, sitting office hours, etc.
One thing that is frustrating about being an adjunct is that it isn’t a job that will ever lead to a full-time position for me. Adjuncts typically don’t get paid enough to make it the equivalent of a full-time job; if I taught a full load every semester (including summer), I would still be making half of what a full-time instructor or professor makes. And adjunct don’t get benefits, no matter how many classes they teach! Also, adjuncts aren’t usually first in the running for full-time positions if they do open up; departments are more likely to select a candidate that has recently graduated over one who has been adjuncting for a few years. So when it comes time for me to get back into a full-time job (likely when we are done having kids and they are in school), I will have to move on to some other sort of work.
I enjoy teaching more than any other work I’ve done, so I’m glad to be able to do it in a way that doesn’t disrupt my family life too much!
Mr. Blue and I are both attorneys. The direction each of us should take with our careers has been the topic of much discussion lately because it would just be really difficult to parent our two little boys if we both take a traditional firm route complete with tons of hours and stress.
Pros: (1) I have a much higher salary potential now than I did when I was an elementary teacher. I barely made ends meet then, but when our school loans are paid off, our law degrees will mean we can do some things for and with our kids that our families were never able to do. (2) It is mentally stimulating every day, which I enjoy. Being intellectually challenged during my day makes me more fulfilled and means I’m more willing to focus on my family when I’m home. (3) It’s a salaried job and most legal positions are conducive to taking some work home, so I’ll have some flexibility if I need to go to an appointment, pick the kids up early, etc.
Cons: (1) Long hours and lots of stress. I’m in about as relaxed a position as the legal field has, and I’m still working more hours than I did in my previous career and spending more time worrying about work. Thinking about neither of us seeing our babies for more than 1-2 hours of awake time a day (when they’re infants) hurts my heart. (2) Less flexibility. There are very few jobs in this profession that allow you to work part-time, or if they do, your “reduced schedule” still means you are working 40-50 or more hours per week to get in your billable hours. There are a few work from home jobs but they aren’t easy to find, and usually require that you’ve been with a firm or company for several years. (3) As sad as it is to say, the legal profession is not always mommy-friendly. I will have to choose very carefully where I work after my current position ends, so I don’t have to choose between spending time with my family and getting “mommy-tracked.” (4) Complete with the ability to make a higher salary comes 6 figures of student loans. Debt naturally adds stress and makes us feel like we have to consider options that might not be best for our family time but are necessary to get out of debt quickly.
I was a biology teacher and a scientist before I turned SAHM. I think although I have given up my career (I do not intend to return to teaching), it is part of my identity and does change who I am as a parent.
Pros to teacher: I know some of the ins and outs of the public school district in my area and I can advocate for my children during their school years. My love for science influences the activities I do with my kids. We go to the science museums, the marine mammal center I used to work at, and zoos and aquariums. I love being able to answer all my kids why questions about the world around them.
Pros for SAHM: I am the one raising my kids the way I want. I don’t have to worry about when they are sick and taking off work, and trust me with four kids I think I would be calling in sick more than I could be working. I like being able to spend this time with my kids; soon they will be in school and I don’t want to miss these early years.
Cons for being a science teacher: I am a nerd but they just don’t know it yet. I’m sure they will figure out that the evolution of a male peacock’s feather is not nearly as exciting and interesting as I made it out to be. I was the daughter of a teacher, and I knew that if I got a call home from a teacher I was in deep trouble. I also have high education expectations. Not necessarily top of the class expectations, but I want them to try their best and work hard to be successful.
Cons to SAHM: I have no breaks; my oldest just started preschool three days a week, but up until that I had four children at home with me nonstop. If I am being honest there are times when they drive me absolutely crazy. I have little mental stimulation and sometimes the crazy gets to me and I get cranky. Because there are four of them, there are many days that we just stay at home because leaving is a lot of work. Money is also a concern because we have to live off of one income.
I’m a project manager for a large pharmaceuticals company, and the job satisfaction in project management really depends on the company you work for and of course, the management.
I’m fortunate that I work for a company that values work/life balance and have a manager who is very supportive, easygoing, and flexible. Liking my co-workers is a big reason why I love my job too.
Pros: my commute is only 10-minutes, and I have the option of working from home pretty much whenever I want. I dictate my hours and don’t feel the rush to be in at an exact time every day (unless I put it on myself). I can also leave as long as I get my work done. There is no micromanagement and I feel empowered in my role. This allows me to go pick up/drop off my daughter at preschool without a mad rush, or plan doctor appointments without feeling stressed at having to take time off.
Pretty much everything I do can be done in front of a computer, so sometimes if I have to take off during the day for a couple hours, I’ll log back in at night to do some extra work. After my maternity leave, my boss is allowing me to telecommute full time for as long as I need until I’m ready to come back into the office for adult interaction. This will be so helpful, especially since I hope to breastfeed as long as I can.
We get most major holidays off, and I have 23 days of paid time off a year so there are plenty of opportunities to schedule family outings or vacations. We have annual reviews and I get a raise every year + bonuses. I am decently compensated with good benefits, and like Mrs. Tricycle, we live within our means and are comfortable.
Cons: It’s hard to think of any cons right now that pertains to how it affects my family. My job does have its high seasons and low seasons, and during high seasons I’m more stressed or work late, but because my husband also has a flexible job he can pick up the slack where I can’t.
Overall, I’m in a good position to be in for a mom of a young child.
I was a SAHM for 18 months, and now I’m a WOHM, working 4 days a week as an independent contractor as a web producer at a museum.
Pros: I loved having complete control and awareness of everything about baby. Obviously I got to spend a lot of time with family and had a lot of flexibility about running errands during the day. I didn’t have to get dressed up or do makeup and hair, and I saved a lot of money from not having to keep up a work wardrobe. Also, being able to just take off for trips or being available to have lunch with people any time I wanted to was great.
Cons: I really did not like the pressure of being the primary caregiver 24/7. Stay at home moms never get a break from doing their job because they’re a mom 24/7. Even when you take a “break” (as everyone always tells you to), you have to prep the person who’s taking over for you (timings of feedings, bottles, timing of naps, what baby likes, etc) and then the entire time you’re away, you’re worrying about what’s going on with the baby. As a Type A control freak, I did not feel comfortable with leaving the baby with anyone since I was the only primary caregiver. Also, obviously, no income… I took on 3 part time jobs after a while, and that led to zero time together as a family, since every moment Wagon Jr. was home from work I’d rush off to a part time job.
Pros: Now as a WOHM there are other primary caregivers for my kids who know just as well as I do (or possibly even better!) what baby likes and how to take care of them. I don’t have to think of activities for Wagon Jr. and I can totally trust my mom or the nanny to put LMW down for a nap or for bed. It’s a lot easier for me to separate myself from thinking about the kids since a lot of my day I don’t have to anymore. I look forward to the time I spend with my kids rather than dread it as another work task. And obviously the extra income, even though much of it goes to childcare costs, is great (and necessary in our case).
I’m also lucky because I only work 4 days a week, which means every weekend is a long weekend for me, and Mondays I spend at home with LMW all by myself. I was also able to establish 8-4 work hours which means we get to put both kids to bed every night.
Cons: Obviously, less time with my kids, and missing things. For instance, right now we’re starting LMW on solids, but we can only really experience her starting solids on weekends since we get home so close to her bedtime each day. So we’re not really the ones teaching her how to eat solids. I’m sure we will miss many firsts. We have a lot less flexibility as to time off and since I’m a contractor, all my time off is unpaid (which really sucked when I had to take unpaid maternity leave).
I’m a SAHM – lots of pros/cons (depending who you ask) regarding this.
- Lots of one on one time with my child, endless opportunities to be with him, help him, teach him, etc.
- His schedule is never disrupted by being in a daycare or with other children.
- I’ve been able to continue breastfeeding through his first year with few issues; pumping is stressful and it would have been hard had I been working away from home.
- I have the flexibility to do what I want. I opened an etsy shop as a hobby, and I’m wanting to go back to school – being home allows me to do that.
- I get sole discretion in how I raise my child, what he watches, where he goes, what he eats, who he plays with, etc.
- “Free” childcare
- I feel I don’t contribute to the household at all by not making money and finances are tight
- Being a SAHM isn’t very fulfilling for me personally.
- I have little to no interaction with other adults and feel very under-stimulated.
- Life is stressful being a SAHM when freetime is consumed with entertaining a baby, cooking, cleaning etc.
It’s give and take for sure. I am happy, looking back on it, that I’ve had this first year to solely devote to my son and loving him. It’s been great. But at the same time I’ve had the itch to contribute to our household in more monetary ways – especially since being a SAHM hasn’t been kind to our bank account.
I’m a WOHM. I am a pediatric hospitalist and communications researcher. I love my job and my girls so much, but there is often a tension in getting the balance right. My work is seasonal and right now I’m in my high season (hello flu and RSV!). It can be very hard to feel like I’m doing a great job at all my responsibilities when working an 80+ hour work week.
A great part of being a hospitalist is that when you are off, you are off… but add research to the mix, and you are never really off!
A huge perk of my job is having a giant knowledge base about child development, childhood illness, and child psychology. That means my work makes me a better mom and my homelife makes me a better pediatrician, so I do feel like everything I do in life is value-added and it means I read a lot of books for work that help at home and vice-versa. The synergy is empowering!
I also love when I see Little Jacks pick up on diagnosis and treatment. She knows what croup sounds like and what to do about it. She also has reccomendations for her little friends when they are “not feeling well” ( which usually involve ibuprofen and blueberry tea!). I burst with pride that she can use a stethoscope correctly and can say the word stethoscope as if it was an everyday word. It makes me feel good to know that she’s proud of what her mama does, even if it is hard sometimes to leave the girls to go take care of other children!
I am a WOHM. I am a director of student affairs at a university. I am new to this role, and it is a big job. I am still adjusting to the pace and added responsibilities and stress of the job! For those who are familiar with the field of student affairs/higher education, what I do is I oversee everything from admissions/recruitment, academic advising (course planning, transfer credits, substitutions, studying abroad, career planning), scholarships, enrollment management, curriculum planning, etc. It’s both highly administrative and highly interpersonal, and I love that I get both aspects in my job.
I know the question is more focused on my chosen profession/field and if I feel that has any negative impact on my family. The answer to that is, no, not at all! I love working on a college campus; it is a wonderful environment and I think (hope) it keeps me young!
The only pros/cons I could give about being a WOHM would be much of what many of the bloggers have already mentioned. I think any one of us will tell you being a mama is hard any which way you do it (SAHM, WAHM, WOHM, etc.)! I had an extended maternity leave (about 5.5 months) during which I had a small taste of what it would be like to be a SAHM.
Mrs. Tricycle shared her sentiments about this in a recent blog post, but for whatever (uninformed) reason, pre-baby I had imagined my maternity leave as a wonderful, restful time with me and the baby. I had absolutely no idea how difficult of an adjustment I would have to being a mother, and how terribly affected I would be by insomnia and sleep deprivation. Those first couple of months as a new mom were HARD (to say the least).
I love being a working mama. I love my job, and that plays a huge part in my decision to work (I would imagine if I hated work, it’d be a big impetus for me to stay home)! But like all WOHMs, I miss my baby. Mondays (after the weekend) are particularly hard, and going back after vacations or extended periods of time with my girl are even harder. But this is what I have chosen to do at this point in my life and I love it.
Right now, I’m a SAHM and also a WAHM as a freelance editor and writer.
Pros to being a SAHM:
As @mrs. wagon said, I like having control of Little Y’s schedule. I know exactly how much awake time he needs, when to put him down for his nap, and when to put him to bed. I feed him what I want, and I definitely like that he doesn’t get sick much since he’s not in daycare. We go wherever we want, whenever we want to. And yeah, I like that I can get by wearing jeans and yoga pants every day — I’m lazy!
Cons: @Mrs. Pen said it well. For me, being a SAHM is understimulating. I love my child and try to expose him to things he’ll like, but I do really miss the feeling of going to an office, having adult conversations, and accomplishing external goals. And yes, being a SAHM comes with its own brand of stress. My patience can wear thin easily, especially toward the end of the day when I’m trying to put together dinner for Little Y and he just won’t leave me alone long enough for me to do it.
Pros to being a WAHM:
Of course, flexibility. I can work during naptimes, after bedtime, and mornings when Papa Y is able to take Little Y. The money is a nice bonus, but definitely just that — I think I would have to really devote full-time hours to freelancing to make something approaching a normal salary. I like that I’ll have something on my resume instead of a gap, particularly in this economy. And I look forward to the times I work — I get to focus in a way that isn’t possible when I have my SAHM hat on.
Cons: If Little Y is in bed or with Papa Y, I feel pressure to be working. And if I’m (God forbid) taking a break, I feel guilty. Freelancing also doesn’t give me the social aspect that working in an office would, and I definitely miss having a full-time salary with benefits. Oh, and what @Mrs. Bee said here: “It’s much easier to neglect yourself, especially when you’re a mom, when you work from home than if you commute, so I’m always in my pj’s and always look like a hobo.” Yes. This exactly! I just rarely think about taking care of myself. Drying my hair is a once-a-month event, if that.
All in all, I’m really grateful that I can spend so much time with Little Y and do some work on the side. But I’m still open to going back to work for the right job. It will have to be a really good fit, to outweigh the flexibility I have right now, though.
I am an attorney working for a non-profit trade association. I’m a WAHM after having transitioned from being an in-office employee four years ago. When Mr. S and I got engaged, I moved 1200 miles to start our lives together and became a remote employee. We’ve moved a couple times since then and I’ve “taken” my job with me. I have a full office in our home with everything you’d find in an office-office, minus the watercooler and camaraderie.
1. The flexibility cannot be beat. I take Little M to daycare when we’re ready in the morning and don’t have a specific time I need to show up to an office. The in-office culture is the same way, but the flexibility to do work in the evening to make up for a particularly slow-to-get-out-the-door morning is a huge pro.
2. I don’t have to get dressed up every morning so that saves on morning stress and has saved us money since I don’t need new clothes very often.
3. Mr. S has to move for his job fairly often and my job can move with us.
4. I save money on car and fuel costs since daycare is less than 2 miles away.
5. I can spend time with Little M instead of commuting.
6. I can put a load of laundry on whenever I need to take a break instead of having it all pile up for the weekend.
1. I make a non-profit salary and because the saying “out of sight, out of mind” is very true, there’s little room for career advancement or compensation for hard work.
2. Because I’ve been doing the same thing for more than five years, I do crave change, but because of #1 it’s hard to advance my career and get the stimulation I would like.
3. Even if I wanted to change jobs, I wouldn’t give up the pros of what I have right now.
4. Because of Mr. S’s career, which he cannot leave, I sometimes feel like it wouldn’t be wise to change jobs and then have to move in a couple years and be jobless.
5. When Mr. S is away I can go weeks where the only face-to-face conversations I have with an adult are with Little M’s daycare provider.
6. My office has a lot of fun perks, parties, events and teams and the culture is such that everyone is friends inside and outside of work. Because I’m not there I don’t get to join in. Plus, we’ve grown so much in the eight+ years I’ve been there (I was an intern during law school) that I don’t know most of the employees anymore. When I do go to events it can be a little uncomfortable for me since there are some very tight friendships and a lot of conversations revolve around outside-of-work activities that I’m not privy to.
7. It gets lonely – I think this was more of a factor during the first year or two before we settled into our current home. I’ve made a big effort to make friends here so I don’t feel so lonely. It’s really hard to make friends outside of school or work when you’re in your 30′s though! I imagine it gets a little easier when kids start going to school and you start to chat with the same parents at the bus every day.
Overall the pros far outweigh the cons and I’m very grateful for our situation.
I’m a part-time WAHM… which also means I am a part-time SAHM. My little guy goes to “school” (read: a pre-school program at a daycare center) two days a week, soon to be three. So I have 12 hours a week that’s truly “work” time. I am a freelance graphic designer. I used to own my own business, but I now freelance mostly for other small design shops vs. direct client work.
- I’m my own boss, and I can take on as much (or as little) work as I want.
- I make my own hours. I’ve grown my little network of “shops” that I get work from to include mostly ones owned by other moms. They know I may be working at midnight instead of the traditional 8-5. They know about random sick days. They only care that it’s done on time. (And I’ve been successful at that so far!)
- Being creative is critical to my happiness in general. So I still get to do what I love… even if it’s not on the same scale as it used to be. (I’m a former ad agency gal)
- Extra cash… even the little bit I bring in makes the difference in whether we take vacation or not… do fun things… go out to eat.
- Some others have said this… but the line blurs easily… am I home, am I at work? Am I a mama, am I a designer, am I just me?
- Creativity doesn’t always hit during those 12 work hours. And sometimes that stays with me… making my patience short for the family. I also find that I often try to squeeze in one more email when I should be fully focused on my kid. I’ve caught myself zoning out of playing trains or building legos in favor of trying to brainstorm a solution to a creative problem. It’s not fair to either of us.
- I also find that clients don’t always give feedback on time, or need something immediately. There are “work” days that become cleaning days and SAHM days that become work days. And that is very difficult to juggle. It’s hard to watch 4 or 5 potentially billable hours slip by. And it’s also hard when you are begging your child to watch TV for half an hour so you can review something long enough to figure out if you will need to stay up half the night to still meet the deadline. (Ok, so clearly I don’t ALWAYS make my own hours! It’s been a rough couple of weeks.)
We’ve actually decided to send Spencer to school three days a week starting this month… in part because he needs and wants the extra time with his friends, but also so that I have a little breathing room for a couple of projects that will hit hard. Plus, I should be able to do all the things he can’t STAND to do like grocery store trips and errands without him… making those two days he is with me, more about him, and less about a list. I should have it all figured out just in time for summer break to hit. Ideally, all of this will be a non-issue when he’s in school full-time. But, hopefully, I will have another little one to take care of then!
I’m a part-time WOHM. I teach Kindergarten Language Arts and Social Studies every morning (my students learn Math, Science, and Health in Spanish in the afternoons) and leave school after my students finish lunch, which coincides with when Lil’ CB finishes preschool down the hall.
I actually worked full-time last year and scaled back to part-time this school year because I had a hard time juggling everything last year. It was a difficult decision to make, but it’s turned out to be a great one for our family!
I honestly love my job! I am so blessed to be in a profession that I love and that excites me. I love being with my students and helping them learn and grow and I love learning and growing with my colleagues.
Even with being in the classroom, I feel that I get a good amount of adult interaction each work day, which is an added bonus. I’ve made great friends at work and Lil’ CB has become great friends with some of their kids, too!
Working part time gives me and Lil’ CB afternoons together after we have spent our mornings in our respective classrooms. It’s allowed us to get to different classes; go on playdates; visit the library trips; run errands, etc., and get home in time to play before making dinner. It’s a great balance for all of us!
And, I’d be lying if I didn’t mention the awesomeness that is summer break (and winter break and spring break, too!).
While summer break and other breaks are totally awesome, the one minor complaint is that we are limited to taking trips during those specific times. While we’d love to take advantage of the super deals in January, I wouldn’t be able to take time off during the school year.
I worry about things like maternity leave for our second adoption because my leave directly affects 22 little ones and their learning, along with my team that would have to step in to help my long-term substitute. Ideally, it would be great to travel to Korea to pick up Lil’ CG in late Spring so my leave would trickle into summer vacation, but I have no control over that. And it stresses me out a little to think that we could travel in the middle of assessment window!
Even though my contract hours are 4 hours, there is NO WAY I can get everything done within that time. I bring home work nearly every day and every weekend. Usually it’s not too bad, but during times like report card grading it can be a bit rough to try and it get all done!
How does your career choice positively or negatively impact your family?