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How Do YOU Do It?

Do you work full-time? Are you a stay-at-home mom? How do you balance it all? How do YOU do it?

OK, mom, have you ever asked yourself, "How do I it?" "How do I balance it all?"

There are people who still think stay-at-home moms sit around all day eating bon-bons. While another group looks down on full-time moms for bringing store-bought cupcakes to school functions.

God bless Sarah Jessica Parker for shedding light on this topic in "I Don't Know How She Does It," a B-movie starring the famous mom of three. But we're not talking about celebrities here (sorry, SJP, no offense). We're talking about real moms and dads who have the toughest job in the world: being a parent.

How do YOU balance raising kids and working? Or being a stay-at-home mom (or dad)? I "get" it. I've worked full-time, part-time and I've also been a stay-at-home mom. And I've never had a nanny or full-time sitter.

Not long ago, some mommy friends and I started discussing this very topic. We traded stories about our own experiences. One friend, who I will call Kara, admitted that when her kids were infants, she felt like she was going stir crazy. “Being home full-time just wasn’t for me.” That’s when Kara decided she was a better mother when she worked outside of the home. Later on, when she was able to work part-time, she liked it even better.

Another friend, who I will call Lily, admitted that she adored the infant years, but when she had to go back to work full time, something didn’t feel right. “Seeing the sitter take my daughter everywhere killed me.” Lily eventually started working from home part time, giving her the best of both worlds.

Another mom who I will call Sally worked as an attorney in Boston for years. Had Sally not quit for good when she decided to have children, there was no way she could raise her two kids without the help of a full-time nanny. (Something she didn't want for her kids.)

These women had choices, and chose the path that worked best for them. They made these choices for a variety of reasons. I could go on and on (and I will eventually, believe me) about my experience as a working mother. The bottom line is I’m at my best when I’m working from home part-time.

That’s where I feel like Jackie. That’s where I feel I'm the most balanced. If my kids are sick, I can stay home with them without feeling guilty that I’m missing work. I can walk them to the bus stop, pick them up from school, and never miss a practice.

When I was working full time, the pressure of missing work for a practice or coming in at an ungodly hour just so I could leave early for a pediatrician appointment was emotionally and physically draining. I have to hand it to those moms who work full time, I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how I did it!

I can’t tell you how much stress I carried on my daily commute. But I’m happy to say that although I still have my days, I’m much happier today as a work-from-home mom. (And I think my boss is a pretty cool lady too.) I guess it all comes down to doing what works best for you.

Here is the trailer to the movie, "I Don't Know How She Does It": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjQIv1KI59s

How you find balance as a parent? Share your thoughts/comments here. 

Also, feel free to stop by my blog to hear more about my misadventures in motherhood at http://www.ventingsessions.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

TryingForGreen March 28, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I love being a stay-home mom. It's what I was meant to do. However, that doesn't mean there aren't days (many days), when I'm ready to run down the street screaming. Being home with two boys under the age of 5 is easily the hardest job I've ever had and it's 24 hours a day! So how do I find balance? 1. Playdates. When one of their friends gets dropped off to play, their attention is immediately on someone other than me. And while they play pirates or superheroes in the next room, I can catch up on emails, return a phone call, even -gasp- read a magazine. 2. A babysitter. Once a week a sophomore from BHS comes over for 3 hours in the afternoon. I can take a shower, run to the store, do whatever errands I dread doing with the boys in tow. My husband & I also try to go on a date night (outside the house) once a month. 3. A garden. The boys always want me to be outside with them, and this way I can putter around doing something that is a great passion for me, while they run around the yard playing and getting some of that never-ending energy out. 4. Time away. Once a month I try to go to my parents' alone. I leave the boys with Daddy and go north to be pampered. Also, once or twice a month I again leave the boys with Daddy and go out for dessert or tea with a girlfriend. I think the key for me is to make sure I'm not just "Mom." To be a whole person with other interests is vital for my happiness, for balance.
Jackie Hennessey March 28, 2012 at 02:28 PM
TryingForGreen, good for you! You sound like a very happy mom, daughter, wife and friend. You have found what I believe many mothers strive for in this wonderful but sometimes bumpy ride we call motherhood: a well-balanced life. Congratulations!
April Keyes April 26, 2012 at 02:21 PM
ahh, being a fellow work at home mom i get it totally. stay at home moms dont have it any easier than working moms. im just lucky to have the excuse "I was trying to make money working today" as the reason why my house is a pig sty!! :) and i love tryingforgreen's garden idea...no better way to tire the kids out than running around in fresh air!!
Jackie Hennessey April 26, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Wise words, April. Now...as I work from home today, I will think of you and giggle a little as I cringe at the layer of Golden Retriever fur floating under my couch. So much to do, so little time...

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