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Between a Rock and a Hard Place, the Classic Question Arises: Do I Stay or Do I Go - How and When?

Updated on February 23, 2012

Your Money or Your Life?

Sometimes it seems that you can't have both. Money - no time. Time - no money. Where does it end? The Catch-22 seems to always be the same. After being a stay-at-home mom for 7 years without my own money to play with, there were no funds for the little extras that make life worth living. Then I found a job, thank goodness - but no longer have the time to do the things I'd hoped to do with the money from my job.

How to find Balance

Most working moms seem to do a terrific job of finding balance. There's the mom who gets up at 5 to cook lunch so she can immediately go out with her kids when she gets home from work. There's another who simply puts off eating to take her two-year old on a bike ride the moment she gets home. It seems like many moms are good hearted people, energetic and determined even beyond their capabilities, to accommodate their children, husband and still keep their financial independence. Hats off to them all <3

Some women seem to be even more attractive after throwing themselves into this work + homemaker + day and a half in one day lifestyle option. But this very busy lifestyle can also be dangerous for the moms. They must also take care to keep an eye on their health, get regular exams and take a little down time before their bodies say "enough!". This can be a challenge, for sure.

As a working mom - employee, I was grateful to get a day off on an important even. We attended a great outdoor music - food - cultural event. It was the first time in years that we managed to attend due to the time and money conflict described above. Thankfully, the stars aligned in our favor. We managed to do it all - luna park, balloons, food, handouts, music.

So much to do, so little time :)

No, my son is not Asian...
No, my son is not Asian...

Available Options

Honestly speaking, what career choices are available for working moms?

Traditional female professions include teaching, restaurant positions like waitress or hostess, nursing, prostitution, cleaning lady, volunteer worker, grocery store employee, hairdresser, and dental assistant, among others. The court reporting position was also a viable option since the 1980s. It's often been noted that traditional "female" jobs have been low-paying, due to the assumption that her role was a support one. It was assumed that a woman's primary vocation was to raise their children and could not be counted on to fulfill the primary breadwinner role, although throughout history women have frequently been breadwinners to their families. Paychecks during the summer is another issue, since most teachers work ten months a year.

I remember as a teenager being encouraged to become a teachers for the reason that I could be home in the summer in order to be available to vacation with my future husband someday and to be home while our children would be home from school.

Teaching, of course, is a very noble profession. The future lies in the hands of the youngest generation, and teachers mold these individuals in an intellectual, cultural and emotional way. In schools, children are learned order, behavior, responsibility, the effects of wrong choices, and socialization, which in some ways, is the most important lesson of all - learning to live in harmony with our fellow man.

Home Schooling: As the school system gets increasingly violent and complicated, lack of control reigns and guns are even being brought into the schools, an ever growing number of parents are choosing to pull their children out of school and home-teach them. Detailed programs are available and in some ways, a mother can cater to her child's learning style perhaps the most intuitively and effectively!

Teaching has unfortunately lost its popularity as a career option due to several reasons. First, it is difficult to survive on a teacher's meager paycheck. The hours are long and socially less respected and appreciated. In addition to the actual teaching, there are after hours' work lik lesson planning, correcting homework, parent-teacher conferences, endless required filling out of paperwork and other baloney - like data gathering on student attitude and aptitude, family environment and so on, as directed by the teacher's administrator. It can seem that the teacher is married to his or her job.

Young women were also previously encouraged to be nurses. True, this job continues to be in great demand, just open any newspaper. The pay is quite reasonable for the work required. Nurses work days, evenings, weekends - but tend to have a reliable schedule which can be planned on or worked around. Nurses can be more or less educated, but a nurse who completes a four-year college program in 2011 can earn a solid income, with some variations in pay depending on where she lives.

A huge paradigm shift occurred between the 1950s and the 1980s. everything turned upside down, and now women were encouraged - even expected! - to become business executives, doctors, lawyers, astronauts. All fine and good - more power to them! (To us, I mean :)) But the catch 22 of home versus career. Anything can be managed - live close to the job. Find an employer who will accept a four day work week thus getting a three day weekend.

My own experience -

I was the first of my family (children, that is) to get a college degree. It wasn't such an easy thing, not because I wasn't up to it, but because I had to juggle college with working from the beginning til the end! Nevertheless, I felt driven to learn, at first only general ed because I had no idea what to major in. Later, as I began working in an office environment, I saw that numbers sat well with me and I pursued a degree in business. From there I specialized and double-majored, later doing a tax internship and finally opening my own business

A new culture is emerging

As traffic and commuting becomes a less and less desirable reality, the option of working from home seems more attractive. After all, with the rising cost of gasoline, there are no commuting costs and less expensive insurance premiums. A less extensive wardrobe, two hours time gained, and closer proximity to the home and family are all pluses. Minuses include less ability to concentrate at home, telemarketers, children interrupting, and inability to separate what needs to be done at home (like cook lunch) with the job to be done (write or edit a report).

I found a great Hub on this subject,

Writing jobs can be a good source of income, through HubPages and other similar firms.

There are editing, administrative, virtual assistant positions and ghostwriting opportunities on Elance and o-Desk, as well as Freelancer.

From what I have seen, quotes expected for quality work can be quite low, even criminally low, so workers must carefully access how much their time is really worth and not settle for less.

There seems to be a new culture of "less is more". Perhaps because of the pinch of the economic crisis the world has been feeling these past two or three years. That would be in keeping with the pendulum swing of the opulent 80s "more more more!".

Minimalism is becoming popular (owning less, feeling freedom from too many possessions, obligations and Facebook friends - in short, lightening up). Getting out of debt and simplifying one's life. This is also in keeping with the "down with capitalism" culture and the new savvy popularity of freelancing.

The Internet as a Potential Employer and Liberator

Is there a Downside to Freelancing? Analyze this...

Will I get fat? Will I wear bunny slippers till 11 am without guilt? Lose all social graces, become a recluse - forget to brush my teeth and wear cologne? LOL - but - who knows?

According to some financial blogs that I have been faithfully reading, to jump into Freelancing requires a savings of three to six months or more. If you are already unemployed, no jumping is required, but from something relatively steady (a golden handcuffs job), best to prepare before making the jump.

Freelancing is like rain - it will definitely rain again, but who knows exactly when! Jobs are like that. And a job doesn't always mean a check. I freelance, and so far, have a wonderful experience that no one has "stiffed" me yet. There was one customer, however, who waited a good two months to pay me - a sizable amount! Next time I would ask for milestone payments or make some alternative arrangement. After all I did the work, sent it off, and then began wondering when I would be paid. I was lucky that it ended out the way it did. :)

Being your own boss

People who work for themselves tend to put much more into their jobs - because it's THEIRS. All of you (including me) with entreprenuerial traits need to be honest - either a part time freelance job or a full-out, work for myself stint takes courage, good planning and a safety net.

There is no such thing in life as a guarantee - but - to answer my own question, the answer is yes, it's just a matter of time before flying the coop.

Looking forward to hearing your comments.


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    • profile image

      leann2800 6 years ago

      Great hub. I think a lot of people can relate to this situation.

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Thank you, ajcor, for the wonderful and compassionate response!

      Thank you molometer as well for the fan mail and interest.

      I have written a follow up hub (shall we say, Happy Ending?) entitled "Turning it all around Financially".

      How to resolve the job from hell - how to escape from dissatisfaction and wasted time?

      For me it was to move towards the solution - develop creativity in finding another way to make a living. The problem situation has been completely resolved in a step by step way. Becoming a freelancer has been for me the ideal solution. All the details are in the sequel Hub. All it took was another four or five months of effort after this initial Hub was published.

      Hope is what gives us all the inspiration to keep plugging to make the stubbornest of dreams come true!



    • molometer profile image

      molometer 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello EuroCafeAuLait,

      This is a very thoughtful and well considered hub. Many people will benefit from reading your thoughts on 'what it is' to be a woman today. The demands etc.

      I tend to go along with the idea that, we only live once and we should take nothing for granted. I hope you are successful in all your endeavors. Good luck and I look forward to following your progress.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 6 years ago from NSW. Australia

      what a hard place you are in EuroCafeAuLait!! and what a great job you have made of learning a new language, staying in less than fantastic job and teaching your children how to be responsible...none of it easy but frankly I have no advice for when you make a break from your current situation as I like to know when and where the money is coming!! too hard for me..but go well however and whenever you make the jump into freedom...cheers