Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Working Momma

There is nothing I love more than being a mom!! It’s a tough job, but the rewards are awesome.
I will admit, the rewards at first are not really there. There is a lot of giving and little receiving. A baby needs you at all times. You feed, change, cuddle the child at all hours of the day, and all he/she does is sleep. Once they pop in that first smile, your heart rejoices!

Luckily, Little JCrew is so interactive and responsive now, that I’ll be “receiving” from him when the new little man comes into our lives. Can you believe we’re less than three months away?!?!

That being said, the next three months are going to fly! I’m ready in some ways and not in others. The day I found out I was expecting, I was so excited for another delivery!! Crazy thought, huh?! But I really had such an amazing experience before, that I wanted it again. This time, I’ll need to savor the moment like I did before, because this will be my last. I just pray there are no complications and it can be a savored moment with positive memories.

The transition from one to two kids does not have me nervous. Should I be? My bet is that Little JCrew will be walking by then, so I will have a harder time keeping up. But he’s so active now, that I’m having a hard time imagining it being harder for me when he’s walking. Am I missing something?
Since changing jobs this year, my maternity leave is nothing. I have to use whatever vacation leave I have saved up, and it’s not much. But there is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The FMLA protects a mother’s job for 12 weeks but does not require pay; however, if you work part-time, work for a small company, or have worked at the company for less than a year, the FMLA does not apply, and you’re completely screwed.  About 50% of the workforce isn’t protected under the FMLA. I have talked with my company boss, and I am protected. I’ll be taking two weeks of my vacation time and four weeks unpaid. It will be a short six weeks off, with minimal working from home during that time.

The United States has poor maternity benefits. I frequent message boards and there are a lot of Canadians on there. They appear to have the best maternity benefits! It’s basically a whole year off with your baby! Some might think our benefits correlate to our taxes paid to the country. Our poor maternity benefits have little to do with the amount of taxes we pay – it’s about how our taxes are spent (other countries with lower tax rates provide much better benefits than those in America), as well as the laws that companies must abide by. See the map below.

Now, I’m not sure exactly how I would handle maternity leave for that long. The reason I work from home during my maternity leave is so that I am not left behind as things keep moving forward. It helped me so much when I came back last time. I didn’t have to play the “Catch-Up” game at all.
My thought process behind this post started with the news of Yahoo’s new CEO, Marissa Mayer. She is due in October; just like me. She loves to work; just like me. And she told her employment about the pregnancy in June; just like me. Yahoo knew she was expecting and still hired her. She plans to work during her maternity leave; just like me, as well. There's just one big difference... she's a CEO! There is a lot of criticism out there regarding her role as a mom and a career person. Some say she shouldn’t have a child if she doesn’t intend to raise them (expecting she hires a night nurse/nanny.) But in some cases, women work and still want to experience the joys of motherhood.
In the Jenson Crew household, I have traditional roles. I have the traditional job at a company and the traditional job as mommy. I am fine with being a working mom. I’ve tried to explain to the men in my life that Mom’s don’t get a day off to be sick! Dad’s do, but Mom’s don’t. Being a full-time mom without a company job is hard work. You have a house to run! There are no such things as fairies! If there were, I’m sure many moms would be utilizing them to clean up messes and run errands. Errands are fun to run, but not when you have to drive all over town or have a fussy baby (or two.)

Being a stay-at-home mom is worth a salary. All the responsibilities a mom has to do adds up! She is qualified for any job position within a company. Stay-at-home moms run their own company, called a family. Important decisions have to be made, kids have to be cared for on so many levels, meals have to be prepared, the house needs to be maintained, laundry has to be done, bills need to be paid, grocery shopping needs to happen, and the list goes on! If you ask a stay-at-home mom what she does all day, she can make you a detailed list. They don't just eat bon-bons.

If a stay-at-home mom does all this during the normal work day, then when does a working mom do it all? A mom's job never has non-working time. I always looked forward to the day Little JCrew would sleep through the night (it only took 10 months!!) But I am reminded that the waking in the middle of the night will continue with potty-training,nightmares and sickness! I'd say there is an end in sight when they turn 18, but then you are worried about a phonecall in the middle of the night from college. A parent's job will never end.

As much as I am ready to welcome Baby B into our home, the timing of it all has me nervous. Having babies so close together, my vacation time saved up is low, and plus I switched jobs, so my vacation time started over. How was I supposed to know? … We might be having someone come live with us for a while up until Baby B is born. It’s all dependent on a house being built, and you know how that process can go! … All I know, is that my job as a mom comes first and that’s what I have to focus on. I am to put my kids first and provide for them. That means, my needs and wants come second.

In Mr. JCrew’s perfect world, he’d live in a house with four walls, a bed, a fridge and a computer. He has little needs. He doesn’t want much (however, he does create a list of wants easily if asked.) I, on the other hand, like projects (if you couldn’t tell) and have a need to work. If I wasn’t working for a company, I’d be working at my home on something. It’s just my personality. I might as well go work a company job to make money to do things I love. Not a bad ideal. Right now, I don’t have a choice not to work, but if given the choice, I’d still work.

Being a working mom, I strive to find balance between home life and work life. I never bring my work home or talk about my work. It’s just a job and doesn’t define who I am. I am Little JCrew’s Mom! That’s exactly who I want to be. It’s harder balancing family time with working. Because I have 8+ hours away from my child during the day, I am slower to sending my child off to the nursery at church or going on a date night without him. I’m not as anxious to have a girls’ night or hand the kid off to the Mr. when he gets home from work or school. I don’t ask for much outside help because what little time I have, I want to be with my child. Housework may pile up from time to time, but I can be confident that I am spending my time wisely playing with my little man.

I must say that being a working momma requires a good support system. I am incredibly blessed to have my family here. I have no worries about how my child is being raised. When I am gone at work, I know he is getting the same love and attention that I would be giving him if I was at home with him. (THANK YOU, MOM and DAD!)
As the time inches closer to Baby B’s arrival, I have excitement and fear lumped together; and it seems to be lumped in my stomach! I cannot wait to be blessed with another child that God is granting me responsibility for. No matter what the rest of 2012 holds, I know it is nothing I can’t handle.

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