I am happy to say that I am the newest contributor to Working Moms Against Guilt! My name is Monica and I work as a Program Manager at a Fortune 100 IT company. I live in Buffalo, NY and I am mom to Lydia, who will be one on Thursday! My story may be pretty typical for a lot of moms, especially in the United States, but consider me surprised when I quickly learned that working and being a mom was not as easy as I originally thought it would be.
I always had the intention of working when I became a mom one day. I finished my MBA at the age of 25 and always assumed that I would have a career because how else would I pay off my ridiculous student loans? My pregnancy with Lydia was a surprise, my husband and I were not planning on having children for another 4-5 years. We had discussed an idealistic lifestyle prior to my pregnancy where I would stay home while the kids were young and then go back to work. At the time, this made sense to me, after all, we had 4-5 years to get out of debt and save a little money. During my pregnancy, I even convinced myself it would be possible to quit my job and stay home after Lydia was born. It was the evening before my return to work that I came to terms with the fact that working was my reality and we simply could not afford to pay our bills without my income.
Since I spent my maternity leave in denial that I would have to go back to work, we had not made daycare arrangements. I had not prepared myself for how long and tiring the days would be trying to manage 9 hour workdays, a 2 hour commute and practically no time for my newborn, little alone the house or my husband.
The first 6 months were rough. I was overcome with mom guilt and I felt trapped by my career. During this time I still managed to get a promotion and negotiate a flexible work schedule to work from home two days a week. This arrangement is particularly rare for the office I work out of and I feel extremely fortunate that I’ve been offered it. Despite all of this, I still found it difficult to manage all of the responsibilities I had. That is when I turned to the blogging world and started my own blog for working moms called Redefining Mom. I really just wanted a place to vent my frustrations and connect with other women in similar circumstances. More than anything, I found blogging to be a great outlet for bringing attention to the real issues that face American working moms: the lack of maternity leave in the US, practically non-existent flexible work arrangements, unfair expectations placed on working moms because they are perceived as “less effective” because of outside “responsibilities” and the overall crisis that American families are facing in two income households.
My hope for being a contributor to Working Moms Against Guilt is to bring attention to a lot of the challenges that working moms and working families face and come up with solutions in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. Whether you are a working mom, work from home mom or a stay at home mom, we all face our own challenges. We all deserve to know that our best is good enough!
Thank you for reading and allowing me to be a member of this awesome community of moms!