Monday, March 1, 2010

Working Mom

I was having a conversation with Lisa this week about her new regular column at Catholic Mom. I’m so proud of her in how she’s developing as a writer and I’m impressed with her Little Moments and insights about daily events. She wanted to know when I’d be submitting regular columns to Catholic Mom. She seemed surprised when I told her that I don’t really feel like a “Catholic Mom.”

And I don’t. When someone asks me who I am or what I do, Mom is not the first response that comes to mind. I’m simply “Shelly” and the titles that follow are complex.

After years of developing and evolving my own self-identity as a daughter, sister, college student, graduate student, employee, Archivist, wife, sister-in-law, mother, and Catholic, I never considered myself just one of those things. Because I had a career that I loved first, and did not have the choice of leaving it when I had my first child, I’ve never really thought of myself as “Just a Mom.” I’ve always been a “Working Mom.” I’ve worked hard to find and maintain a sufficient balance in my two lives and do what works for our family.

I still love my career. I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive employer and access to positive, trustworthy, childcare. My job is five minutes away from the house and elementary school. The school is dominated by some wonderful stay-at-home moms who are as high-powered in their role as “Mom” as I am at my office. Ironically, at a time when many of my friends who left their careers to stay home with infants ten years ago are re-entering the workforce, I find myself wondering what it would be like to stay at home.

When I read posts that are 100% focused on being a Mom, I don’t always connect. I can easily see and understand the working-mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate. I occasionally listen to Lisa vent about having to do this or that and not having any time and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Yeah? Well I have to do the same things and I’m working 40 hours a week around it.”

I’d like to write more for Working Moms out there – our struggle to find that balance. My challenge will be finding the right tone. I don’t want to come across as complaining. I love my job. I love my family. I want to be successful at both, even though I recognize that I won’t be perfect at both.

I want to connect with more women who know what it means to feel conflicted when they can’t take a day off work to go on the school field trip with their kindergartener. Or who have to say to their older child you can’t join the church choir because they practice from 4-5 p.m. and I just can’t get you there. But they also love their career, their job, and know that feeling of satisfaction on the days when it all just clicks into place and you feel like you truly have it all.

So I’m challenging myself to write more, perhaps once a week, for those of you in the same situation. Please let me know you’re out there and what you’d like to hear about. We’re “Catholic Moms” too, even if we don’t feel like it all the time.


  1. Hi,
    I am also a working "Catholic" mom. I do, however, have a great "mommy" job. I work for a pres-school that happens to be where my youngest attends. I also have school hours and work a regular school calender. But...I still have the conflicts with my other child and his school needs. I can't ever be the "room mom". I don't get to go to all of the parties and special events that he has and I am unable to volunteer during the school day (which is constanly being solicited).
    While I do LOVE being at the school with my daughter, I am one of the school administrators and am therefore unable to participate in all of the things her class does either. I have to pick and choose, and I often feel very envious of the "stay at home" moms and wish that I could have the time that they all have and yet still complain about.
    Even more...I would give anything to have just ONE DAY here and there to myself. When I am off of work, my kids are out of school.
    I got out of town with my kids during our spring or summer breaks and my husband stays behid to work. He gets every evening to himself to go out with friends, go to a movie, or just sit and watch WHAT HE WANTS on TV. I NEVER have those little luxuries.
    But...when it all comes down to it. I am so blessed to have a wonderful job that I LOVE and to be able to have the afternoons and holidays with my kids.
    I am blessed that I have a great husband that works hard so that I can work my part time job. He does help me to have a few hours to myself each weekend.
    I just wish we were more disciplined in our Catholic routine to acctually make it to church regularly instead of using sunday mornings to "breathe"!

  2. Elizabeth, it was great to hear from you. Your comments actually gave me a few more ideas for future topics. I will pray for you to find some more "alone" time within your schedule. Mine increased as my daugthers became older. I'm confident you'll find yours!


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