Why I Need (and Want) to Be a Working Mom

Why I Need (and Want) to Be a Working Mom

One mom muses about why working makes her a better, albeit more stressed, parent.

By Nicole Fabian-Weber

Most days, my alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m. I'm exhausted from being up a few times during the night with the baby. I desperately want to hit the snooze button and stay in my warm bed a bit longer, but I know that my toddler daughter is going to be up within minutes -- and if there's any chance of having a cup of coffee while it's still hot, it's now.

I shuffle downstairs, pour my coffee, and turn on my computer. Soon, my daughter is up, and she needs breakfast, a hair-brushing, and a diaper change. Then, shortly after that, the baby is up with an entirely different set of requests. We clumsily stumble through the morning, the three of us, as my husband has already left for work. And then, a few hours later, around 9 a.m., I start working myself.

I don't think I need to tell you that I'm not living a relaxing existence right now. As many moms know, balancing work and motherhood is no easy feat, and there are many days that I curse this balancing act and want to give up.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

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I love being a mother -- more than anything else on this earth. I love watching my children grow. I love teaching them. I love being there to comfort them when they're scared, sad, or hurt. I love watching them interact with each other. But I also like working. In fact, even though most days I'm stressed out and barely have a solitary moment to myself, I think it makes me a better mom.

When my daughter was first born, I had a 12-week maternity leave. I drank up my baby girl every single second that I could while I was away from work. Truth be told, I wished I had a longer leave. But when I went back, I felt more like myself again, like things were in order and as they should be. I missed my daughter on the days that I had to be in the office (I was fortunate enough to work from home three days a week), but when I was done with work, I felt revitalized, rejuvenated, and ready to put on my mom hat, regardless of what that entailed.

When my son was born, things were a little trickier. I was no longer a staff employee, but instead a freelance writer. I had no office to go to, no maternity leave, and two kids to juggle. I cried quite a bit those first few weeks (and maybe still do now, almost six months later). After I put the kids to bed each night, I crack open my laptop again and finish up the things I couldn't get to during the day. Many nights I just want to turn on my TV and veg out to a mindless reality show. But I work. And, again, it's what's right for me.

By no means do I think I deserve a medal or even a pat on the back for being a working mom. Millions of other women are in this situation, or a version of it. Some work out of necessity, some work because they want to, and some, like me, work for both reasons.

I can't lie. There are days that I envy mothers who don't work at all. I know it's no walk in the park for them either, but I can't deny the fact that I sometimes think, "What I would give to not have to look at my email today and just focus solely on being a mom. Or to not have to work after the kids have gone to sleep." But I think if that were my situation, I wouldn’t be the mom I am.


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I'm no superwoman. Like all mothers, I love my children fiercely with every bone in my body, but I still get mad, sad, frustrated, and confused. And if I'm being really honest, I think I would feel those feelings more if I didn't have work each day. See, for me, it's about more than a paycheck. Work keeps me in touch with the outside world, with successful, inspiring women who keep me on my toes. Work is a way to connect me with the life I had before my children arrived – my former self. It's a way for me to not get completely swallowed up by motherhood, which I likely would if I didn't have an outside job.

Who knows if this exact situation will work for my family and me forever? It's doubtful. Maybe I'll go back to a staff job. Maybe I'll switch to a completely different career. I have no idea. But for right now, this is what I need. This is how I think it should be -- waking up each morning and precariously balancing two very different aspects of my life, working over a cacophony of toddler feet running back and forth, being interrupted numerous times by a baby who doesn't like to nap, and then, doing it all over again the next day.

Because without all the craziness, I'm not quite sure who I would be.

What do you like about working, or not working?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl and a baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications. Right now, she’s probably fantasizing about sleep.

Image ©iStock.com/OJO_Images

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