15 Unexpected Benefits of Being a Working Mom
It’s no secret that being a working mom can be hard. There’s endless juggling, never enough hours in the day, and, of course, the ever-present mom guilt. But six years into this working mom gig, I can confidently say that there are benefits to being a working mom as well. Here are 15 unexpected benefits of being a working mom.
I vividly remember my first morning back at work as a working mom. I cried most of the way to work. I broke down again when I saw the photos my husband had so thoughtfully set up in my office. Then I closed my office door and….silence.
The silence was a stark contrast to the noise that had become ever-present in my life. It wasn’t until I was confronted with the quiet of my workplace was that I realized how much I missed it. As an introvert, the relative silence at work recharges me for the chaos and noise of raising young children.
Uninterrupted thoughts and conversations
Before children, I thought being able to think a full thought and have an uninterrupted conversation was a given. Now I realize what a gift it is! I cherish my work hours for the chance they give me to get through a full thought uninterrupted and have conversations with other adults without pausing to attend to the needs of young children.
None of us enjoy paying through the nose for childcare, but the reality is that for many of us, it’s a sunk cost. I pay for full-time childcare whether I use it or not.
That means that we can make the most of our childcare hours. I can run errands on my way home, or prep dinner before picking up the kids. In theory, I could meet a friend for drinks after work, or hit the gym. We can use those “bonus” childcare hours to squeeze in a little me time, or accomplish some of those tasks that are so much easier to do without kids.
On a similar note, an undeniable benefit of being a working mom is that you can actually take sick days. If my husband or I are sick (provided that nobody else in the family is sick), the kids still go to daycare, and we actually get a day to rest and recover. When I was home with the kids full-time, I had to practically be on my deathbed before I would ask my husband to stay home from work and take over kid duty.
You can justify a cleaning service
Truth be told, I kept our cleaning person while I was on maternity leave, and I’m all about outsourcing what you can to make your life easier. But if I was home full-time, I recognize that our cleaning person is one luxury that I would have to give up. It’s much easier to justify – and pay for – when I’m working.
I first heard business travel described as a “vacation from parenting” on the Best of Both Worlds podcast. Thankfully, I don’t travel often for work, but when I do, I try to appreciate the vacation from parenting and the rest of my day-to-day responsibilities.
While we’d love to be content without external validation, it’s nice to have someone tell you that you’re doing a good job every once in a while. Very rarely do we get this type of validation for our parenting efforts. At work we get feedback on our work, and recognition for a job well done.
If you’re lucky enough to have fantastic co-workers, you’ll understand the benefit of work friends. In the all-consuming years of raising young children, our own friendships often fall by the wayside. Not so with work friends, who are there for us 8 hours a day, day in and day out.
Yes, your commute qualifies as a benefit of being a working mom! My commute is a quick 20 minutes, but that’s 20 minutes of child-free time in the car by myself. I listen to podcasts, listen to my music instead of listening to their favourite song for the umpteenth time, or just enjoy the silence.
Provided you don’t fall into the trap of working through your lunch, your lunch break is an excellent chance to run errands, squeeze in a workout, go for a walk, or find a quiet spot to read. When I was home with my kids full-time, I would have killed for that 30-60 minute break in the middle of the day.
Cliché, but it’s true. I start work early, and I relish the quiet each morning to catch up on emails and savour my hot coffee. This just doesn’t happen on mornings at home.
Related: The Reality of Being a Working Mom
You get to look forward to the weekend…and Mondays
You know you’ve been there! Some weekends, Monday morning can’t come fast enough (and then if you’re anything like me, you end up missing them again before noon).
Contrary to what I would have expected, being a working mom gives me a greater sense of balance in my life. Parenting can be all-consuming, and I struggled to maintain any semblance of my pre-child identity when I was with my kids 24/7. As a working mom, I wear many hats – and for me, that’s a good thing.
Related: Finding Balance as a Mom
After a long day at work and daycare, those end-of-the-day hugs are everything.
Finally, I would be remiss if I listed benefits of being a working mom and didn’t mention money. Whether you’re the breadwinner in your family, or your salary helps pay for extras that you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise, the financial benefits are an irrefutable benefit of being a working mom.
What benefits of being a working mom would you add to this list?