Thursday, April 14, 2011

My place - in the woods and in the home

If you know me, you know I love my job. I have worked my butt off to get where I am, I have moved countless times, went to school for quite a while - all to be one of those people who can say that they love their job and it doesn't feel like work.

I am a wildlife biologist and very proud of that because I know what I did to get here. I know it hasn't been an easy road but one that I would do all over again.

And then enters motherhood. I guess I should point out that I am the first employee in my program that has had a baby. My program covers two states and there is only one woman that is a field employee in those two states - I will give you one guess who that woman is. Yeah - me. While I was pregnant I was asked by our program director what my plans were after having children. "Um, work." was my answer. I explained that I loved my job and I planned on loving it after I had children as well. He told me that recently another female biologist in another program had a child and then decided that working wasn't for her, so she quit her job. I think he was trying to feel me out to see if that was on my radar. It wasn't, but I have to admit I was a little nervous about feeling differently after having my baby.

Fast forward 1.5 years and now I am an officially a working mom. My son goes to daycare five days a week and I work straight through 8 hours without taking breaks so that I can pick him up as soon as possible and spend the rest of the day with him. I wake up at 5 am to workout before going to work, so that I don't waste any of his waking hours working out. I juggle, I manage, I am tired, I feel overwhelmed sometimes, but you know what? I love it. I think I am doing a pretty damn good job at both my job and being a mom. My son is awesome, well adjusted, laid back, and I love him more than I realized was possible. And I think I am managing my job quite well also - I cover two states which requires travel and long days at times. I do it, happily, even while missing my son and my husband.

Recently I found out that someone I work with feels that "a woman's place is in the home, raising the kids." and while I initially blew it off, it just keeps coming up in my thoughts. While I respect women that choose to b full time moms and stay at home with their children - I also have a respect women who choose to work and raise their children. I don't like the thought of people looking down on me and judging my choices. I think I get annoyed when people assume that I would rather be home with my son and feel sorry for me because I "have" to work. Well yes, financially I do have to work. But even if we didn't depend on my income, I would work. Again - I love my job, it is something I have been passionate about my entire life. Of course, if I had to choose one or the other- I would definitely choose to be a mom. But my point is - I don't have to choose. I can do both. I can be an awesome mom and a pretty darn good wildlife biologist. I don't have to feel guilty, I don't have to answer to what other people think I should do, or what I should be. Because you know what? I am me and I kind of like myself. And I really feel like my son is going to benefit from that in the long run.


  1. I think what you're doing is amazing. It sounds so awesome. Wildlife biologist sounds so great and I would love to learn more about it one day. I have been working since I was 13 and it killed me when started hearing "Woman's place is in the kitchen" I am a full time working professional and full mom. I do more in 24 hours than any of these happy talkers do. It is tough, but I guess that's called live your life to the fullest. XO

  2. Erin - I've never visited before, but this post really interested me. I'm a working mom of 3 wonderful girls. I've worked since each for about 4 months old. And they are each wonderfully happy and amazing kids. And ~ I am a happy and well-adjusted woman! My kids are well-cared for and I provided a place for them that I trust. I know they are getting great care and are in a loving environment.

    And -- I am happy doing what I love. I worked hard to get where I am. I am a professional who uses my brain and am stimulated. I get the adult time that I need to make me feel like a fulfilled adult, and know that I am a mom who is providing for my children, at the same time.

    Then, I go home and am "mommy" to my girls. They look at me and ask me about my day and I tell them. They see me able to fulfill so much -- from my job, to my volunteer activities, to things at school, to homework with them -- and I know I am a positive roll model to them. Because we, as women, CAN do it all. If we choose to be SAHMs, then we CAN do that. If we choose to work outside the home and be full time moms, we CAN do that. We can do everything...

    And I like showing my daughters that.

    That is just my personal opinion. But it has kept me going for 8.5 years. It kept me going when I moved away from my daughters for a job for 10.5 months. It keeps me going when I miss them during the day... just because. I love them so very much. But I know this is the right thing for us.

    Good luck!

  3. I am a full time working mom as well. I love being a successful career mom & while we could get by w/o my salary it makes our lives much more enjoyable. I also work with people who think I shouldn't work and have told me as much. I remind them that they don't know my situation & they don't know our bank accounts and unless they are willing to pay me to stay at home, they should keep their opinions to themselves.

    There are days that I want to give it all up and be a stay at home mom but deep down I know that I would have a hard time doing that. In the end, we're all different. Some people make great working moms, some people make great stay at home moms, some people could do either. We don't all have to be the same and people should not try to put their morals on others.

  4. Thanks for you comments! It is nice to hear from some working moms that are happy in their double lives.
    Rebecca- I was one of three girls and my mom was a working mom (a nurse) and I LOVED having her come talk to our class on career day - I was so proud of her.
    I hope our kids are proud of us too :)

  5. Great post and thank you for sharing! I'm proud to have always been able to contribute to my family this way and if I didn't "have" to, I couldn't imagine it being another way. I feel like I am an example to my children and this is realistic. I'm also excited that we live in an era where I can have the best of both worlds with officing at home full-time. This, too, is a delicate balance, but no matter, it's my only real possibility right now. I love it.