For Some Working Moms, a Part-time Job WORKS Best!
My eldest son, Jack, will be 9 in August and is already smarter than pretty much anyone I know. He taught himself to read before he was 3, and loves cooking, retro video games, Harry Potter, and Star Wars. He wants to be an astrophysicist “with a focus on deep space exploration, because we need a better understanding of what’s out there” (his words, not mine).
My step-daughter, Lola, is 8 ½ and is as joyful as her brother is smart. She loves drawing, Pokemon, fairies, and puppies, and wants to be a Veterinarian or President, or the first professional female Quarterback. Her aspirations change daily.
My youngest son, Archer, will be 2 in August and is a total mama’s boy! He loves to chase after his brother and sister, ride his tricycle, play cars, and always finds a good lap to sit in for reading.
When Jack and Lola were babies childcare was not an issue. Their grandparents were there to take care of the kids while I went back to work. When Archer was born, we made the decision to have me stay home for as long as we could. After one year of “getting by”, I knew I needed to go back to work.
It took me a while to find the right job, but about 2 months ago I was hired by the PACE Staffing Network. I work in their headquarters office, as an Employee Services Coordinator, taking care of the weekly payroll for all of their field employees. I currently work part-time – Monday’s, Tuesdays and Fridays.
My biggest challenge as a Working Mom is reconciling the pros and cons of being away from my children. I say that because love being a Mom, and have never been one to work for personal reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I always give my job my best, but I work only because I know it benefits my family financially.
My older children were told why I was going back to work, and why I would no longer pick them up after school. Thankfully both are in after school programs they enjoy.
Archer, on the other hand, was not happy to be dropped off at a new place with people he didn’t know and the transition had its challenges. While I knew that he would ultimately benefit from the social interactions of day care, it didn’t make it easier to walk away from a crying and confused baby who up until two months ago had not been away from me for any length of time.
The most difficult part of managing the working mom gig is managing the difference between the requirements of my job and what goes on in my home. The challenge is trying to balance what have become two very different jobs, avoiding exhaustion. It requires me to be very organized, doing double of what I once did in half the time. I think it is important for me to show my children that supporting our family financially is not solely the responsibility of their father – that Mom and Dad are partners in all things related to the family.
One of the benefits I have as a Working Mom that not all working parents want to admit, is the availability of adult interactions . It’s not that I don’t love talking about how Mickey and Goofy are going to save the clubhouse from Plundering Pete, it’s just that sometimes I enjoy talking about who died on Game of Thrones the night before.
PACE has been so supportive in helping me manage my work and home life balance. I am in a special position here because PACE is very prepared to work with the several Working Moms who work for us in part-time or flextime roles. Our CEO, Jeanne Knutzen, has gone above and beyond to help me manage my transition back into the working world. My immediate supervisor, Dawn, is also a working Mom and was empathetic of my situation right from the start. I used to joke to her that I wasn’t going to wear makeup for the first couple of weeks because I’d being crying my mascara off, and I think she knew it wasn’t really a joke….I cried big time!
PACE has helped me find my footing in my new job, providing much needed patience as I struggled to figure out how to get the kids to school, the baby to day care, and me to work on time. They’ve even opened the door for me to do some of my work from home, to help cut down on the cost of childcare. They want me to be successful and they want my family to be positively impacted by the work I do here, completely exceeding d my expectations of what to expect from an employer.
There are many employers who I know are not very forgiving with issues that just come along with being a working parent. Sometimes you need to take a sick day because your kid has a fever of 103 and needs to go to the doctor. I don’t think that should not be a situation that someone should fear being fired for but sometimes it is. After my first son was born I returned to work after being off for 12 weeks. I was a total wreck; sleep deprivation coupled with a healing C-section. I also felt guilty leaving my newborn for 8 hours a day.
I asked my manager when and where I would be allowed to pump breast milk for my son, and he let me know that I could use my lunch and bathroom breaks to sit in a stall in the ladies room. Knowing full well that there were multiple offices that were currently empty, I asked if for sanitation’s sake I could pump in one of those. He said no.
Thankfully, our HR manager had a different point of view and arranged for me to use one of the empty offices every couple of hours.
When I look back to my interview with that company, I remember being asked by two different interviewers if I was married or if I had children. At the time it didn’t occur to me as odd, but I can’t help but wonder if I would have been hired if I was married or had children prior to being interviewed.
We here at PACE Staffing are grateful to Alicia for sharing her story with us and for being a dedicated PACE Staffing Network, working Mom/employee! If you are a working Mom or know one, please share your story with us today! If we post your story, we will make a donation in your name of $50.00 to the Boys and Girls Clubs after school programs.