Work & Motherhood: All the Variations + What We LOVE and HATE About Them

A couple days ago I received an email from the school district reminding me that school starts in 17 days.

Seventeen days.

Now, there are two types of people. One type will read that email and probably think to themselves, “Oh wow! There’s only 17 days left of summer? That’s not enough time!” But if you’re like me, then you’re the other type of person who will read that email and think, “Ugh! There’s still 17 more days until school starts? That’s too much time!”

As a work-at-home mom, I don’t look forward to school breaks and summer vacation because that means my school-aged child is home ALL DAY. EVERY DAY (minus the days she’s at camp).

Which means she needs to be entertained ALL DAY. EVERY DAY. By me (so she thinks).

That, combined with the fact that she and her younger brother don’t usually get along the greatest, means summer time for me is anything but a productive time of year when it comes to getting work done.

On a particularly stressful day this summer, I was lamenting all of these things and how behind I felt on all things work related (and let’s be honest, all things home related, too). At one point I remember thinking this was my least favorite thing about being a work-at-home mom. Which then made me wonder what my favorite thing was. Which in turn led me to wonder how other moms are currently feeling about their work situation.

So, we asked YOU to tell us what your work situation is and what you LOVE about it and what you HATE about it. Here is what you all had to say.

And, in case you were wondering, of the 28 moms that make up the Iowa City Moms contributor team:

4 are stay-at-home moms
8 are work-at-home moms
11 work outside of the home
5 do some combination of all three

Stay-at-Home Moms: What You LOVE

“Being available whenever my kids need me.”

“I homeschool my 9-year-old, I have a 3.5-year-old with a medical condition. as well as a 16-month-old. I love being with my kiddos.”

“Currently a stay-at-home mom for the first time and it’s my favorite for sure. I get to spend so much time with my daughter and I can get household things done during the week, so we have more time for family fun on the weekends.”

“Getting to experience everything with the kids and the flexible schedule–very important when they are sick, snow days, activities, etc.”

“Spending time with my son and watching him learn new things.”

“I GET to stay home and raise my kiddos.”

Stay-At-Home Moms: What You HATE

“Hating housework and never having creative ideas when I am alone at home with them at school.”

“I dislike the constant never-ending feeding, diapering, laundry and dishes. With the addition of our son’s medical condition, there is never enough time or sleep.”

“I miss the quiet time going to work.”

“There is little to no me-time and it leads to losing yourself to the caretaker/homemaker role. Also, the ‘stay at home’ assumption, ‘stay’= doing nothing. Invisible work that never ends, no coffee/lunch breaks, no holidays, no sick days…no pay…terrible work conditions, I better talk with my employer…do we have a union or something?”

“Not having recent “work” experience is making finding a job difficult.”

“I feel like I don’t have ‘me’ time much and don’t contribute financially.”

Work-At-Home Moms: What You LOVE

“Being home for the kids AND earning money for the family budget.”

“I love being able to be home with my kiddos so we can have a flexible schedule, especially in the summer.”

“Seeing my kids during work breaks.”

“I find immense value in the work I do (early childhood education.) It creates a purpose in my life, gives fulfillment and meaning. So much of what shapes our life happens in the first 3 years and I’m glad to be able to provide a safe, consistent, loving environment not only for my daycare kids but to be that person for my own children.”

“Love being with my kiddos; no childcare costs.”

“In home childcare. My own children can go off and play with their toys whenever they want, they can sleep in (rarely happens), I get to spend TONS of time outside but come in whenever I want.”

“I get to see my babies all day and take snuggle breaks.”

Work-At-Home Moms: What You HATE

“Juggling kids’ needs and works’ needs in the 24 hours/day, and really making intentional time choices and plans, feeling like it never ends.”

“I don’t like feeling like I clean the house, pick up, make food, and do it alllll day long. It gets pretty dang annoying.”

“Kids not always understanding that my work time is my work time.”

“The hours and the toll it takes emotionally to be engaged and present for little people 10+hrs a day.”

“Freelance can be unstable income and getting across to my kids that I have work to do. I’m not your entertainment.”

“My floors–HOW do they get so dirty? WHY are they so dirty? I sweep and by the time I’ve turned around it looks like I’ve invited a herd of cattle in to party a month ago and didn’t bother to sweep up after them.”

“I feel like I’m half-assing work AND parenting.”

Work-Outside-of-the-Home Moms: What You LOVE

“I don’t have the temperament to be with my kids all day, and working outside the home ensures that my time WITH my kids is well-spent when I am at my most patient and caring.”

“Being a teacher, I get to enjoy summers and holidays off with my daughter.”

“Adult interaction.”

“I’m my own boss and make my own schedule. I love what I do and many of my clients have become like family.”

“I’m blessed enough to work in the school system, and in my children’s schools I can enjoy both worlds of working and being a part of my children’s schooling years. I have times off with them and summer breaks. It works greatly for us and I’m truly thankful.”

“My husband is the stay-at-home parent, and has been by choice for over 7 years. I’m fortunate to be able to focus on my work when I need to, while knowing the kids are in fantastic and capable hands. When I’m home, I’m home and I feel like I have the best of both worlds. Having an employer that values family and work/life balance is such a plus–I don’t have to miss anything.”

“I don’t know if this is a favorite but I would say normal work days are very routine and having a routine is very helpful. And a positive favorite is spending time in the car with the kids and just listening to them talk about their day, the things they see on the way home, weather, their singing, etc.”

Work-Outside-of-the-Home Moms: What You HATE

“Not always having the flexibility to leave work for every child’s activity that happens.”

“Feeling like there is just never, ever enough hours in the day to work, parent, exercise, sleep, be a supportive spouse, and spend time with friends. I need a CLONE.”

“I have to be strategic when using my PTO to attend those school events with my daughter.”

“Not being able to stay in my pajamas all day.”

“I was only going to work 20-25 hours a week. I’m definitely full time and feel like I miss out on things sometimes.”

“Only having two days on the weekend to get everything done around the house and also my boss not being so accommodating with me taking sick days for the kids.”

Other/Combined Work Situation Moms: What You LOVE

“Stay-at-home mom during the day, bartend at night. I contribute financially.”

“I work outside my home now, taking care of my three nephews! I get to bring my daughter with me!”

“[Work outside the home] for 9.5 months a year and [stay at home] for 2.5 months a year. Favorite is getting to go do really fun things during the week with the kids at places that are WAY too busy on the weekends.”

“I’m home when my kids are home and I’m at work when my kids are at school. I work part-time (8-1:30) at an elementary school. My favorite part is how it’s a perfect fit for our family–I get the best of both worlds!”

Other/Combined Work Situation Moms: What You HATE

“My health has taken a dump and I’m exhausted 24/7, and my house is a mess.”

“I still don’t have me time—solo trips to the store are my jam!”

Care to add your favorites or least favorites for your work situation? Share in the comments!


Becky is a Minnesota Native and Wisconsin Badger fan living in the heart of Hawkeye Country. Since graduating from high school, she has lived in Duluth, MN; Birmingham, UK; Minneapolis, MN; Louisville, KY; and Madison, WI, but is now happy to call Iowa City home. She and her husband have been married for ten years and have a spirited four-year-old daughter and a mischievous baby boy. Becky juggles working from home and keeping two kids happy each and every day. In her free time, she enjoys working her side business, spending time with friends, relaxing with a good book, and eating snacks.


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