My experiences as a WOTHM are most likely shaded by the type of work I do. I work in what could be termed, historically, a "man's world." The Financial Services/Banking Industry - financial markets, stock markets, large amounts of money, big buildings downtown filled with lots of folks in suits - over the years, this has not been the most friendly environment for women.
Thankfully, women have made huge strides in this industry. Women are CEO's and CFO's and Presidents and Vice Presidents and managers. It is interesting to observe different women in various roles in an organization like the one that employs me as well as other organizations I have worked. You can tell a lot about a woman and what she's been through in her life by the way she behaves and treats others.
But, some other time, I might write about the traits I observe in women in general in the Financial world. And some other time, I might write about the tradeoffs in the "career" of a WOTHM that men simply don't have to make.
For now...I'd like to give you a little peek into my world of work as a Catholic mother of five.
- Work is a place I go for 8-10 hours five days a week. I rarely call what I do my "career" anymore. I support my family by doing good work.
- When I encounter new acquaintances, there is sometimes a bit of awkwardness when they find out I have five children. It's okay. I've learned to give the benefit of the doubt. because most of the people I work with only encounter a mom of five children at church or school and it's usually a part-time working mother or a stay-at-home-mom.
- I crave friendships with other moms of 3+ kids in the work force.
- People like to tell me why they only had 2. Some of the most common reasons I have heard over the years:
- The two I had were enough for me.
- I could barely function with my <insert son/daughter>
- I would have liked to have more, but my husband went and got snipped
- The daycare bill for two (or three) about broke me, financially.
- I never ask people why they only had 2 (or whatever number) children...they just offer up their reasons to me when they find out I have 5.
- I get told a lot that I am lucky because I have a "good husband." This is absolutely 1000% true. There is no way I could function in my life without my husband. He is a solid, down-to-earth guy who loves his kids and his wife in that good ol' fashioned sacrificial way.
- I miss my kids. I do. I would be untruthful to say I didn't. I miss their parties at school. I miss out on going on field trips. I miss after school clubs. This is probably the aspect that most identifies my sacrifices to work outside the home to support the family.
- I often compensate for my absence by being far too lenient with my children. Thankfully, I have that good husband to fall back on who reins in my leniency and disciplines as necessary. And it's not that I don't discipline my kids, but I find that I'm no where near the heavy-hand I always envisioned I would be with my children.
- We eat in restaurants. A lot. I'm a horrible cook and when that good husband of mine, Craig, isn't around to cook dinner before heading to work, I will more often than not, settle for peanut butter sandwiches and chips, or a trip to Cici's pizza or something like that. I'm not proud of it...but it is the truth.
- My house is a wreck most of the time. Probably for about 20 minutes during the weekend it might get cleaned up. Craig usually succeeds in getting things cleaned up on his days off during the week, but I'm lousy with follow-up.
- I never do the grocery shopping. Again, this goes back to that good husband I have. He handles all of that.
- I pay the bills and keep the books. Whatever our financial shortcomings are...are all MY fault.
Finally, here is an example of some anxiety of a WOTHM mom of a large family. I had a wonky cycle recently. It was one of those things where my hormones were out of whack and it was hard to tell where things stood. I was concerned I might have become pregnant.
And you know what my biggest fear was? My biggest fear was what everyone at work would say if I ended up needing to schedule maternity leave for the same time in 2012 that I was gone in 2011.
But, we weren't blessed with that particular circumstance. I was neither saddened or relieved when the cycle ended. But I was quite a bit perturbed that I felt anxiety about that particular aspect.
So there you go. Just a glimpse into the life of a Catholic wife and mom of five who works outside the home. And I realize, too, that I couldn't do any of it if I didn't have a good husband. :)