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Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Third shift

Posted March 6, 2011 8:07 p.m. EST

When women first entered the workforce in droves in the seventies, the phrase called "second shift" was coined. It referred to the fact that after a long day at work, mothers came home and started their second job - cleaning the house, making dinner, and basically tending to all of their family's needs.

Three decades later. we are still taking on the second shift and, in most cases, after an even longer workday than women who originally "wanted to have it all" did. Lately, I've realized more and more mothers are also now taking on a "third shift." This involves home-based businesses and side projects that help us earn a little more in an unstable and quickly diversifying economy.

Let's face it - job security is a thing of the past, so more and more women are going back to school, starting businesses and picking up extra work outside their regular jobs. Most of this is done late at night after the kids are in bed, prompting the obvious question, "When do you sleep?"

The "third shift" is also a place where women who have no intention of traditional retirement plan their escape from their nine to five lives. It is a time to hone those skills that will keep us all working in an uncertain economy that demands we be a jack of many trades in order to survive.

So sleep will have to be put on the back burner for the time being. Thank goodness for coffee...

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.