It took me nearly three years of motherhood to figure out that a SAHM, in the world of parenting blogs and message boards, referred to a “stay at home mom.” The discovery, of course, led me to wonder—do we working moms have our own acronym? WOMO, perhaps? Or CAMIMAMA—for “career-minded mama”??
Would such a label help us WOMOs / CAMIMAMAs feel better about ourselves? That we aren’t alone, but part of a larger group? Would a group identity strengthen our spirits when we are stuck on a maddeningly slow commute home, around what is supposed to be dinnertime?
I’ve been a WOMO ever since I gave birth (maternity leave excepted). For a while I worked full-time and then scaled back to 3 ½ days per week, which provides a little better balance for our family. “Balance” is the key word in my life—like every WOMO I know, every day is a perpetual balancing act between the needs of my job and the needs of my family.
Most days, I feel okay about the balancing act and the choice I have made to be a WOMO. I chose to continue working for the same personal reasons as do many other WOMOs—ensuring the financial security of our family, finding intellectual stimulation in my work, setting an example for my daughter, etc. I know SAHMs (and even SAHDs—whoa, you guys need a different acronym!) have equally as legitimate personal reasons for their choice to stay at home with their children. So I don’t compare my WOMO self to my SAHM friends or judge either group.
But I admit that there are days when my WOMO mojo isn’t flowing and I feel anxious about the impact of my decision to work on N. Since she started preschool a few weeks ago, she has (at times) shown increased levels of frustration and acting out, both at preschool and at home. There are some moments when I wonder—is she having trouble adjusting? Is this preschool a good fit for her? Is this just a phase that almost-three-year-olds go through?
I do recall that N had a period of adjustment when she started day care back in January. She acted out at first, but after a couple of months she became comfortable in the routine. She grew to love her day care and her acting out subsided.
Now her routine has changed again and the acting out is back. We are confident that N is in a good preschool so we are just trying to be as supportive as we can through these transitions and cross our fingers that it’s just a phase. I honestly believe that it is just a phase—N is generally a very happy and well-adjusted kid, even with a CAMIMAMA. (Just trying out that acronym too!)
Whatever I am, I do know this: I am fine with being a WOMO—and, gasp, even enjoy it!!—as long as my family is okay with it. If I have a HAFA (“happy family”) then I feel I can do anything!
I am a WOMO, hear me roar! Actually that was just me yawning on my way to bed.