Why I choose to work outside the home.

VacuumI’ve been a work-outside-the-home mom for over four years now. Let me start this post by saying all moms work their tails off, and I completely respect everyone’s personal decision, whether it’s to stay home, work from home, work part time or juggle the full 8-5, M-F gig. No matter what you choose (or circumstances choose), I salute you.

For me, full time is the right fit. But, I didn’t always see it this way.

When I first became a mother, I struggled with this decision, much more than I ever do today. I questioned if I was doing the right thing. I played with the budget, crunched and re-crunched the numbers, to discover the magic ticket to stay home and snuggle my chubby-cheeked cherub. Nothing made sense, at least not to the extreme I was willing to bend, and I kept moving along.

Over time, I realized:  this wasn’t so bad.

I was watching my baby bloom into a vibrant, talkative toddler. She was social and smart and secure. And, I was enjoying the challenge and fulfillment that comes with building a professional reputation. Even with never-ending to-do lists (that I secretly love), I realized I could find some balance, whether wearing sweatpants or suit pants.

With my second baby three years later, the thought of staying home didn’t really cross my mind. I adore being a mom, and the first 12 weeks of pure bonding are straight-up bliss. But, somewhere around week 10, I started dreaming about the ways I could contribute thoughtful, creative, meaningful work (and sip hot coffee on a quiet Monday morning while enjoying adult conversation).

Work is truly a blessing — for me, my kids and my family. I work in healthcare, which means I get to bring my brain and my heart to work. The stories that happen in my industry are some of the best and brightest, because they’re about life and death.

When I feel content in my career, I’m a happier mom and wife. I bring the energy home. I savor the quiet snuggles in the early morning hours and cherish family time on evenings and weekends.

And, my kids actually benefit from me working. They’re well-adjusted little people. I know they’re learning more from people trained as teachers than they would from me (likely, with the help of a screen of some kind). Most of all, they’re witnessing daily how mom and dad work hard to be responsible and focused contributors to society. I, too, grew up watching my mom teach and my dad farm. They’re always watching and absorbing more than we realize.

I could say life is busy, or I could say life is full.

Today, I’m choosing full. Full of the good stuff.

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