The reasons that many moms consider working outside the home are many. First and foremost is no doubt the income. It’s difficult for most families these days to survive, much less put money away for college educations and retirement, on just one income. With the moms working, monetary woes are lessened for the family. Another reason moms think about working outside the home might be considered selfish by some---fulfillment from doing their vocation. Some might say that being a mother should be all the fulfillment moms need. There is fulfillment in raising your children, but for many women, there has to be something else in their lives, too. Raising children, while rewarding, isn’t something you can do for the rest of your life simply because your children grow up and move away. Moms need something in their lives they can call their own long after the children are grown. And the practicality of it is that if the moms began their careers before their babies’ arrivals, having a gap of 18 years on their professional resumes makes it a bit difficult to pick up where they left off. Even a few years makes a big difference. For mothers, the clock is always ticking, whether it’s the biological clock or the career clock.
Money and fulfillment are two strong motivators for moms considering entering or re-entering the work force, but there is a big price to be paid for them, too. Are those things worth the missed time with their children? For most people, children are their biggest achievements in life. Raising happy, responsible, self-sufficient human beings who have the ability and desire to impact the world in a positive way is the most important job any of us will ever have. Then there are selfish reasons on this side, too. Aren’t working moms missing out on the precious little time they have to spend with their children? Will the moms regret seeing their children learn new things? And what about learning? Is putting children in day care the same as allowing someone else to raise your child? These are all questions that go through the minds of moms considering entering or re-entering the work force.
Then there’s a question of happiness. Where are moms the happiest? Some moms need to work outside the home to feel satisfied. Others are content at home and would feel too much guilt to work. Then there are still others for which the answer to this question varies from day to day. That’s the toughest spot to be in. But no matter the answer, moms should be where they are happiest because that will make them better mothers to their children. Even if moms work, if they are happier there then at home, it will translate into better quality time with their children when they are not working.
What works for some moms, won’t work for others. Each of us has to weigh the pros and cons and look at our own lives and home situations to figure out what works best for our families. For mothers, it’s hard to have it all.