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Fayette-Mom: Missing work

Posted May 23, 2011 8:49 p.m. EDT

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.