Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Fayette-Mom: Missing work

Posted May 23, 2011

Jennifer Joyner

I miss work.

That’s kind of hard to believe, given the fact I work from home, clocking 30 hours a week. I also have this little writing career on the side, so I certainly have a lot of professional pursuits.

But I must admit — I miss going into work every day, the interaction with my colleagues, the celebration of a job well done. It’s difficult to feel part of a team when you’re miles away, only present via email or conference call.

I know what many would say about this — am I crazy??? I’m living the dream — able to earn a living and still be home with my kids. What could possibly be wrong with that?

And believe me, I know. Because of the generosity of my employer, I’ve never had to pay for daycare, never had to miss a school performance. I’m always here for my children, and there’s simply no price you can attach to that luxury.

And yet. I am someone who, quite simply, loves to work. I thrive on being competitive, on scoring a big “get," on being a part of a team that does great work and is the best. That kind of involvement feeds my soul, and as my kids get older, I notice more and more how much I have missed it.

An experienced mom once told me that as your kids get older and become more independent, they actually need you more. She said the idea that moms can go back to work once their kids are in school is a fallacy.

Is that true? On the one hand, I do see my kids branching out and needing less of my minute-by-minute help. But then I think about my working full-time, and I wonder, who will help my kids with their homework? What about all the after school activities that they need to get to? And if I worked a 10 hour day, along with a lengthy commute, how much would I actually get to see my kids?

There are no easy answers. I’m facing a dilemma that moms have had for years, and I don’t see it going away any time soon. I have no doubt that my children come first. They always will. But I also struggle with how to be the best mother I can be to them, and I wonder if my being happy and fulfilled professionally would also make me an even better parent.

Most of all, I don’t want to have any regrets when it comes to my kids — there’s too much at stake. If I never work another day of my life, I know I will be OK as long as they are alright. Having that firm belief as a foundation to fall back on does help.

Still ….. if anyone has a crystal ball they’d like to loan me……

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in September. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. Find her here on Go Ask Mom on Tuesdays.



Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • vickycoreytant May 24, 2011

    I don't think you will ever regret this time at home. Most of my days were spent at home with my kids and I have never regretted it. They are on their own now and I'm so glad I stayed with them.

    They will definitely need you more as they get older trust us on that trust us older mom's on this one. Hang in there. Its gone before you know it.

  • NCMOMof3 May 24, 2011

    I am a family child care provider, so I work but I'm also able to be here for my kids when they get home from school. this was very important to me. I do miss out on school functions because, let's face it, lugging 5 toddlers around to school functions is not so easy. I'm fortunate that my husband's working hours have allowed him to attend 75% of school functions and my mother in law pitched in as well. So, my children were represented. But, a way you can have that sense of accomplishment and a job well done as your children get older is to find volunteer work that you can have the children take part in as well. There are so many things that rely on volunteers that would be thrilled for your professional expertise

    Good luck

  • mfgecu May 24, 2011

    I would give anything to have your job... wanna trade?

  • AWakeMom May 24, 2011

    I'm one of those lucky moms who gets to experience the workplace where my child goes to school. I'm sure she doesn't always look at it like it's a blessing, but I sure do. I get to experience everyday high school with her. She's my baby, so the opportunity to do this with her, her last few years at home make up for the time I wasn't able to be there when she was a baby/child. I wouldn't trade it!

  • JAT May 24, 2011

    There is a lot to be said for adult, human interaction at a workplace. It makes you feel part of the adult world and adults need that. If you're one of those moms who don't miss the work world, that's great. But if you're used to, enjoy it and are stimulated by working, then you are happier working and that makes you a better parent even if you don't spend every waking hour with your child. Don't feel any guilt. If your kids are happy, that's all that matters.

  • missparrothead May 24, 2011

    Yes- children need you at all ages and stages in different ways. I work full time (2days/wk at home) and have 2 children ages 8 & 11. I still do not want a more demanding job when they get in their teens which requires more hrs. I want to be an active part of their lives. While my preference would be to work part time, at least my employer offers a very generous time off policy, so that helps. I understand about the people interaction in the office.

  • howdiditgettothis May 24, 2011

    All ages have stages -- for both kids & parents.

    For me, I missed the carefree "water cooler talk" about mundane things.

    When they were younger, I found that as I reached out to other moms during kids play dates, or at the gym, pool, etc. that helped bridge the gap of feeling isolated.

    As they have aged, I find they need me just as much -- their needs are just different than they were a few years ago...

    Obviously macharsam doesn't realize that most stay at home moms are like single parents, in many ways. I also think you must be very left brained, by your comments.

    My husband's "hands on" parenting time probably averages 2 hours a day --- so the vast majority of all the actual work of not only kids -- but household needs -- falls on my shoulders. And YES - I even work outside the home part time myself.

    Perfect? No - but this is reality in many homes/marriages -- and why many mothers I know say they feel like a single parent.

  • mshunt4 May 24, 2011

    Thanks for sharing. I have struggled with this same 'loss' since leaving my job about 5 months ago. I elected to become a stay at home mom. Now with my 3 month old and 3 year old I am busy but I do miss the adult interaction, educated conversations, immediate gradification from accomplishing a task. However, when (on those not-so-often occassions), my 3 year old says "thank you" to a stranger I am reminded of why I made the decision to be so involved. I have began to get more involved in local organizations and created a website to help moms fit in 10 mintues per day outside with their children ( hoping to reap the feeling that I am working. Thanks again for your post.

  • florimac64 May 24, 2011

    Video conferencing may help. That way, you can "interact" with your colleagues...:)

  • snowl May 24, 2011

    You're talking as if you are an only parent. All the responsibility, and the guilt, if you may, should not be on your shoulders. If you truly want to work at the office, it can be done. Your kids will be fine. Just do it. In my day, (raised 2 kids) working from home was not an option.
    p.s. helping your kids with their homework?....make sure they are doing it. Be available to help, but don't hover and have them depend on you for that too. Build independence, that is the key to your independence. "The kids are all right"....don't worry so much. JMHO.