Combining Work and Motherhood

45 year old, Michelle Singer, made the decision after the birth of her first daughter, Maya, to be a stay-at-home mom, but it wasn't without struggle. So much of our identity is tied up in what we do, particularly those who are late mothers, it is not like I was working for two years and then had a child, I was working for many, many years by the time I left the work force, so it was very hard for me,says Michelle Singer. When Maya turned two, Michelle went back to work.I always liked my job, I think for women who particularly don't like their jobs or again for what ever reason have continuously decided to take time off it is an easier transition, I missed it terribly, particularly because I have such a social job, being in the entertainment business and being in the music business which is youth driven it is very lively, and I really, really missed that,says Michelle. According to new research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, combining work and motherhood is keeping women healthy and in good shape over the long term.They had better mental health, they were found to be less obese and overall seemed to function better and were happier,says psychiatrist, Dr. Janet Taylor of Family Circle Magazine.

Dr. Taylor, says that initially, returning to the workforce can be a highly charged emotional process, leaving women feeling overwhelmed and guilty. "We are socialized from little girls to grow up and want that prince charming and the white picket fence and the reality now is more women have higher numbers in college, higher number in graduate school, law school, medical school, so we are having to make that choice, and the reality is you have to really look at yourself and what is right for you and once you make that decision just understand that you are constantly making, floating through roles in life and making decisions and it just depends on your sense of control, your self fulfillment and the support that you get from others," says Dr. Taylor.

Analysis of the researcher’s data showed that by the age of 54, women who had been partners, parents and employees were significantly less likely to report ill health than women who did not fulfill all three roles. Weight gain tended to occur at a faster rate among the homemakers and obesity was most common among long term homemakers. Now, with the addition of 13 month old Abigail, Michelle admits that although at times the juggling act is overwhelming, she’s fulfilled and happy as a working mom.

“As you get your routine more in place and you figure out what you need, and where to give and all of that it just becomes easier,” says Michelle. Dr. Taylor says having a supporting partner and family can make all the difference for working moms. Also, fellow working mom colleagues are a great resource for support. Time management is key.

 Organizing and planning your days ahead of time, can really take off some of the heat. Things like preparing and freezing some meals can help. And taking some time for yourself, even if just for a half hour, take the opportunity and go for a walk, do some exercise…this can help ease the transition between work and home.


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