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One Working Mom in a Sea of Furloughed Federal Employees
Working mom on furlough with her family.

One Working Mom in a Sea of Furloughed Federal Employees

Working mom on furlough with her family.

By Jill Reinhart

I am one of hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees. I am a working mom.

Or at least I was, until last Tuesday. Then I became a stay-at-home mom against my will.

My 9-year-old son is ecstatic. My 13-year-old daughter is unfazed. The dog thinks she’s won the lottery. And I am angry, disappointed, and worried.

This unplanned time at home, however, has allowed me a few insights. One, I like to work. I thought I knew this, but now I am certain.

I like my full, busy days balancing a challenging, fulfilling job with an equally challenging, fulfilling role as Mother and Head of Household.

One without the other is like yin with no yang.

Now I am spending my days focused on one role. Mornings allow me more time to help with breakfast, homework, and I can put son on bus instead of my husband driving him to morning care. Once everyone is out of the house, I can exercise, take the dog for a walk, have my coffee, watch the news (here’s where the angry part comes in), then get dressed in time for lunch. A couple hours of errands and “to do” lists and everyone starts filtering home for dinner, homework, activities, and the normal business of evenings.

Life is slower and I have more time for me, but I am missing my job.

I miss my co-workers, my work, and the feeling of making a difference in the world outside my own every day.

I worry because the bills keep coming in but I don’t know how long savings will hold out to pay them. I am not happily enjoying furlough as a paid or unpaid vacation, depending on how this all turns out.

Instead, I am reflecting on my values and choices for my life, and gaining certainty that I have chosen the path I want.

And I would like it back now, thank you very much.

Jill Reinhart is a happily married mother of two working full time in the Indianapolis area. She enjoys the natural world, protecting it in her work and enjoying it with her family. Follow her on Twitter @jillmelrein.


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8 thoughts on “One Working Mom in a Sea of Furloughed Federal Employees

  1. Nice blog jill….I hope lawmakers make decide soon what they will do, I share your dissapointment on this situation and also want my job back.

  2. I’m so sorry for you and the other government employees who have been put in this position. It will be worked out soon, hopefully! Hang in there, momma!

  3. Hi Jill,

    Your Mom shared this with me. Your thoughts and reflections were well taken. Choice is a wonderful thing that many women in previous generations did not have. Soon you will be back to work knowing it is just where you want to be.

    Your Mom’s friend, Sharon McDougall

    1. Great blog site. And I certainly understand your frustration. We will be ready to use Hall that stored up energy when we get back to work. Which I too hope is very soon.

  4. Jill, I am fuloughed also and I feel the same way. I have a three-year-old son and a disabled husband, so the house is getting VERY crowded. Not to mention, we are broke and not sure when the unemployment benefits will start coming in.

    1. Leann, I hope things are resolved today and we can all get back to serving the people of this country! I hope retroactive pay or unployment come soon for you and your family. Hang in there!

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