This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2014.
It's Women's Money Week again! Today's topic is kids and work.
I worked for about two months after my daughter's birth, while she was still in the hospital. I went on leave when she came home, but her health problems ultimately dictated that I stay home with her for at least a few years, so I resigned my job and have now been a homemaker for over a year. So my experience with kids and work is limited, but I had planned to continue working had my pregnancy and birth been normal so I'll share a few random thoughts.
First of all, mad props to all you working moms. Seriously - I know our situation (therapies, multiple doctor's appointments) is a little different from most, but kids take up a ton of time just with regular stuff. So to balance a job and a whole professional identity on top of being a mom - well, I'm impressed by that.
Second, one thing I wish I had understood before having kids is that having kids is nothing like you expect. I had all sorts of plans for how things were going to be, and the reality is that you just can't know until you're there what it's going to be like. I wish I could take back every instance when I said "When I have a kid, I will always...." or "I will never...". (Because boy, has that backfired on me - planning a particular kind of birth, determining to breastfeed, expecting to continue working - all of those things have been taken out of my control.) If I could tell 18-year-old me anything it would be to pick a career that is flexible with regards to dipping in and out of the workforce, and to not get married to the idea of anything before it actually arrives in your life (and my 18-year-old self would no doubt ignore me, but at least I'd have said it).
Third, I would like to give my daughter the role model of a working woman. I think it's important for her to see that women can be financially independent and have identities that don't center around their families. In my marriage, our roles have broken down along gendered lines for a variety of reasons, and we are happy with that for us - but I want my daughter to know that there are lots of different ways to build a family structure and be happy. She's too little to pick up on this stuff now and she needs me at home, but when she is older I hope to impress these ideas upon her.
Lastly, I think take your kid to work day is kind of lame. I never really participated in it, though, so maybe it's not. Did you ever go to work with your parents and find it valuable?