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The Working Mom/Stay At Home Mom Hybrid

21 Oct

The day I started my own business, it became my first baby. I devoted my time and energy to watching it grow and take on a sustaining life of its own. But in May 2013, it was no longer my sole priority. As we welcomed our first son into the world, I knew that my life as an entrepreneur would gain one more layer of complexity. People were both curious and concerned as to how soon I planned to return to work. The honest answer is that as soon as I stepped foot out of the hospital and through our front door, I was back at work. Of course I slowed the pace considerably for a few weeks, but by June I was running at full speed.

We live in a world where people want things to fit nicely into little boxes, but my career has never packaged up so neatly. Becoming a mother didn’t make me any less of an entrepreneur. I’m sure some wondered if I would continue working or if I would just transition into a Stay At Home Mom. I had moments where I wondered the same thing. Now over 5 months in, I’m proud to raise some eyebrows when I explain that I am both a Stay At Home Mom and a Working Mom – I am part of a growing generation of Hybrid Moms. As a Hybrid Mom you truly work two full time jobs. It’s not a part time gig or a hobby on the side. It’s a full time workload and an equal source of income for your family. I’m fortunate to have the flexibility in my schedule to take on both responsibilities and to have clients who understand my commitment to also serving as the sole caretaker for my son during the work day.

Defining your career as a mother has become a hot button issue and one that I’ve seen argued from many different viewpoints. Now that I wear both hats, I’ve become emotionally invested in this topic and am discouraged to see such strong accusations and hurtful generalizations being strewn about. Many women are choosing to become Stay At Home Moms and in an effort to mainstream this career choice, have put down other women’s choice to work. I am most bothered that these choices are made to feel mutually exclusive, like you aren’t a full time mom if you choose to work. As a Hybrid Mom, I don’t get to turn off my motherly responsibilities just because I have a looming project deadline. If Holden needs me, I’m always on-call.

My mother worked a full time job while raising three kids. She didn’t have a cleaning lady, cook or personal assistant to run her family’s errands. She was all of these things, plus she worked outside the home for an additional 40 hours per week. As a child, I never felt I lacked time with my mother either. She had a home cooked meal for us each evening, helped us with our homework, was involved in our activities on the weekends and she even stayed home with us many days that we were sick from school. One argument supporting the Stay At Home Mom claims that their job is to be the CEO of the house. I don’t disagree. I only wish to make the point that my mom was every bit the CEO (and a fierce one at that) while working full time. You can do both and be both – they’re not mutually exclusive. The growing number of Hybrid Moms brings hope that we are beginning to realize this and that we have enough support to give us the confidence to make this choice if it’s right for us.

By definition, yes, I am a Stay At Home Mom. I take care of my 5-month old son full time (this also includes being his sole source of food). But I am a Working Mom too. I provide a range of Public Relations consulting services for anywhere from 8-12 different clients on a daily basis. In addition to these two full time jobs, I still have time to attend weekly networking meetings, write for fun on my blog and hit the park at least once a day. You may wonder what I sacrifice to “do it all.” It’s not mental or physical health—I run 20+ miles per week with yoga scattered in between. It’s not sleep – we all get 8+ hours per night (with our cat, Pinot getting quite a few more throughout the day). We have a clean house, fresh groceries and clean clothes. I’ve even chosen to go the route of cloth diapers and making my own baby wipes, which certainly adds a few extra steps to our daily routine. It’s quite often that I get the response, “Well you’re just not normal.” I find this to be the most offensive of all. I feel what I accomplish in any given day is very “normal” and attainable with merely organization and discipline.

My life is not perfect – there are absolutely days when I feel like this balancing act may all come tumbling down. I’m fortunate to have a husband who is supportive and involved. It’s teamwork that makes raising our little family possible. Because I’m a Hybrid Mom, I can attest that each career has its own unique challenges and rewards. I’m fortunate to do both, but I won’t say that it’s luck. It comes with hard work and determination to make it work. The best we can do for each other is to support our decision to do what is right for us and our family. For some, one career is quite enough. For others, we may enjoy balancing a bit more. Whether our title is Stay At Home Mom, Working Mom or Hybrid Mom, the most important word comes at the very end – and no matter what, that means we have the hardest but best job in the world!

park

Monday afternoon at the park with Holden

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24 Comments

Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Business & Success, Life

 

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24 responses to “The Working Mom/Stay At Home Mom Hybrid

  1. Mallory

    October 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

    So often I have felt looked down upon for choosing to be a SAHM and I appreciate what you do, and other working moms, SO MUCH! For me, as a military spouse, I had a really hard time finding a job I could make into a career while following mike wherever the AF sends us. I also have the interesting twist of suddenly losing my husband for months at a time and being not only sole caretaker of the baby, but of the house, cars, you name it. When we decided to add to our family, I knew the best choice for our family was for me to stay home because my job was neither satisfying nor lucrative enough for me to keep. We would have spent more in childcare than I was making each week! I feel like that’s something a lot of moms struggle with and it forces them out of their careers. I am fortunate to feel like I didn’t give anything up to become a SAHM & raise my daughter full-time, and while some days I feel like my hard-earned bachelor’s degree is going to waste, I know that I’m putting the skills I earned along with that degree to work in teaching her 🙂 I have friends whose children are in daycare 40ish hours a week and they have literally said to me that it’s ridiculous that my house isn’t spotless every day “because you have time for that, but I don’t”. If we could all just support one another for being the best moms we can, there would be a lot fewer moms with hurt feelings and a much better support network for us all. Yep, I’m home with my daughter for those 40 hours they’re at work outside the home, and I spend that time tending to the every need of a demanding toddler. Some days, snuggles and books are more important than vacuuming, even for us SAHMs with all the time in the world 😉 I don’t think that any of the 3 mom choices you described are “harder” or “easier” than any other … They’re just different, and shouldn’t be judged. Some people are lazy at their 9-5 jobs, some are lazy at home. But some nail them both, or put all their time and energy into one or the other and that is FINE! Keep doing what you’re doing momma, your balancing act is one I admire like you wouldn’t believe and you’re doing it beautifully!

     
    • Stephanie Shirley

      October 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      This is an awesome perspective, Mallory – and your comment really means a lot! You’re a perfect example of when SAHM makes a lot of sense and is the right choice for your family. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that some people are lazy at their 9-5’s and some people are lazy as SAHMs. And the opposite is true as well. As women, we seem to put pressure on each other (and ourselves) to define our self worth by our career choices. There’s so much more to us – and life – than that! Hope you and your family are doing well..and with a wonderful mom/wife like you, I am certain they are 🙂

       
  2. Mary Ann B.

    October 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Great term “Hybrid Mom” and great article! Technological advances today makes being a Hybrid Mom all the more possible and affords the working mom the opportunity to do more from home. With good organizational skills and a strong support system a working mom can strike a good balance between work & home. My advice would be for you to keep your “foot in the career door” so the industry doesn’t pass you by making it difficult, if you so choose, to re-enter the working world once you become an “empty nester”. And aways remember: Of all the rights of women the greatest is to be a mother.

     
    • Stephanie Shirley

      October 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

      I think you give some extremely valuable advice for moms – keep at least one foot in the career door and appreciate that being a mother is a great privilege. It takes balance and strong relationships to make it all work, but it also takes a positive perspective. With a happy heart, even an ‘imperfect’ work situation can feel perfect to you!

       
  3. Beate

    October 28, 2013 at 3:17 am

    He is adorable!!!! Well worth staying home for! AND with you using cloth diapers, you will soon see how much he likes them and be potty trained in no time. They say boys are later, but my 18 month old grandson LOVES to stand on his steps-tool and spray the bathroom, aiming for the one cheerio my daughter puts in the toilet. We always had our own business and my husband and I stayed home with the kids. The 3 children worked in our business and earned their money to buy their own cars at 16. They also had a 1/ 4 acer of blueberries to grow to pay their way. Needless to say: Our children have the work ethic, we modeled as stay home parents and now have a great handle on life , raising their own children. Live could not be better. You made an excellent choice, Stephanie. Money comes and money goes, but the benefits to see the first tooth come in, being their for the first skimmed knee are out of this world.

     
    • Stephanie Shirley

      November 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      Thank you for the encouragement! It’s a balancing act for sure, but I’ve been trying to enjoy every moment (even the challenging ones).

       
  4. thewritertracy

    October 29, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Welcome to motherhood. This “war” between working moms and SAHM moms has been going on for as long as I have been a mother (20 years). I’ve been a working mom, a SAHM mom and now I work part-time which is the best blend for me personally. I hate all the judgement and try to stay away from it. I think it stems out of insecurity and guilt. We as women should focus on supporting each other’s decisions, instead of tearing each other down. I personally think the best mom is a happy mom and that looks different for everyone. Good for you for being brave enough to do what you want and for making it work for you!

     
    • Stephanie Shirley

      November 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Thank you for the comment, Tracy! It’s so unfortunate that it has to be a “war,” but I think the battle is with maintaining our own sense of self worth as a mother, wife, friend and the many other roles we play. I agree–we all need to come together and encourage each other for making whatever decision is best for us.

       

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