Guest blogger Jessica Katz: I have always felt like being a mom is harder than any job I have ever had -- and I have had some tough bosses. I knew it was tough after I had my daughter and missed my old job, because I hated that job.
My daughter was the toughest boss I had ever had. There was no "hold" button, I could not send her to voicemail and there were no lunch breaks. And, like many past bosses, she was always screaming at me. It was nonstop. At my old job, if I needed a break I would surf the Web or doodle. With my daughter, there were no breaks. I was on 24/7.
I was sitting with a new mom recently, and she was telling me how she couldn't wait to go back to work. Being home with the baby all day was driving her crazy, and it was so much harder than her job. She was exhausted and frustrated. Another mom at the table who was already back at work was sharing how much happier she was to be at the office. "Work is easier than being home with my kid," she confessed. The fourth mom at the table had found a compromise by working three days a week. She said she couldn't not work because she would go crazy; she needed something else to do besides baby duty. But when she did work, she felt guilty.
After having my daughter, I knew I wouldn't work, except for the occasional freelance job from home. But after a few months, I missed getting dressed, going to an office and interacting with other adults. It was then that I started my baby group. I met a group of moms who'd all had high-profile careers before their babies. And shockingly, every single one of them was a little bitter to be home, resenting the fact that their husband got to be out of the house all day while they were stuck home with the baby.
I have to admit that being home is way harder than I expected. I think partially it has to do with the fact that our generation is having children later, at a point where we have a career and an independent life. My mom had me at 23 years old and had yet to really have a career, so there was nothing for her to really give up. I was 31 when my baby was born -- it was a whole new ball game.
I decided that they are only small for such a short time, and it goes by in a flash; that I am really fortunate to be in a position where I can be home with my baby. As tough as it is, I consider it a gift. Soon enough, she will be in school and I can work all I want to. And not too long after that, she will be all grown up.
But that doesn't discount how hard it is. My husband can work all day just fine, but two hours with our daughter and he needs a nap. Women have a lot to sacrifice when it comes to being moms. It is a tough choice: You can feel unfulfilled at home and guilty at work. But every mom finds a way to make it through the day over and over again -- even if it feels like it will never end.