Working Moms, Why Do You Work?

piggy bank

I announced my third pregnancy somewhat earlyish, on this blog, a while ago.  Several days ago, I lost the pregnancy.  I would like to do a more in-depth post about the miscarriage because I had not realized the many factors and decisions involved in going through that process.  Someone out there might benefit from reading that story if they are going through something similar.

But for now, I’m just doing what my energy level will permit:  reflecting.  I’m moving past the loss, and I feel a bit silly using the word ‘loss’ because this pregnancy seemed more like a series of events than a thing to have acquired and then lost.  Life just moves on and everything is ok, really, at least for me.  A few days afterward, my boss emailed me to let me know I use too many commas when I write.  And I was annoyed, but only in the typical annoyance way that was over the next minute.  And things are fine.

The prospect of caring for a newborn next summer set in motion a mental shift.  I knew that I didn’t want to schlep a baby to infant daycare so I could schlep myself off to work, caffeine-fueled and mentally rehearsing my day.  I also didn’t want to pay for that again.  I have been in saving mode, thinking of ways to cut back on expenses, rather than worry about putting more time in to cover additional costs.  And I also loathe the idea of working more hours to make more money, actually (my pay is in part revenue-based, not straight salary).  I mean, it’s a nice, somewhat reliable way to raise needed funds.  But you don’t get rich that way.  You get rich by investing your time and energy into a revenue stream that will yield passive income in time.

So with the saving mode activated, a fire also lit beneath me to find ways to make money that don’t involve trading hours for dollars.  I have a few ideas germinating that I will share in time.  And now, even without a third child and new car payments looming in my near future, that mental shift seems to have become permanent.  It’s not just about having more money and finding better ways to make money, though.  It’s about this question:  Why Do I WORK?  Do I work (as an attorney, my day job) because I love the practice of law and find it fulfilling?  Do I work because I feel responsible for serving our clients?  Do I work because I want to protect children with disabilities?  Or do I work because this has been, so far, the only way I know how to make money?

I am not even going to pretend that I have already answered the question.  I do think, however, I will need to get crystal clear on the answer pretty soon.  Without that clarity, I know I’m going to dabble and flounder and probably not accomplish much of anything.  Jack of all trades, master of none is not an admirable state.

Image Copyright M. Dunn


3 thoughts on “Working Moms, Why Do You Work?

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Melanie.
    I work for many reasons the first being lifestyle. We would be living in a much smaller house, have one car, little retirement savings, etc. on one income. I also work because as a nurse I make a real difference to my patients and this builds my self esteem. Finally I work to show my children that women belong outside the home.

  2. Firstly I want to say sorry for your loss
    Although I dont think my words will do anything to comfort you.
    I have been thinking about why I work lately. With a new venture ahead and the realisation that the nursery staff may know my child better than me is devastating. I need to work more to provide for my children, to keep my business afloat and in line with competitors, for my childrens futures too and yet a part of me says why. Why not spend that extra time at home with the kids. Im sure I would if I could really.

    1. I have to work because of my law school student loans. My husband’s income is not enough even if we cut back. My daughter just turned one, and having a baby is not remotely close to the nightmare I was led to believe it was. I would gladly stay home and have a million more if I could afford it. I’m 35, so I don’t have much time left!

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