Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guest Blog by Author Mysti Parker

Would You Like Some Guilt With That?
Navigating the Emotional Waters of Returning to Work
After Full-Time Mothering

It begins in the womb. You worry the Tylenol you just swallowed might turn your precious child into a Cyclops. Mothers' guilt doesn't lessen as children get older. When stay-at-home moms decide to rekindle their careers or education, stress can reach its peak.  In the tug-of-war between work and family, how can you resist the urge to throw in the towel and forget your dreams?

Being at home full-time with children might seem like nirvana to those who haven’t spent years in the trenches of motherhood. Why would a woman even bother trading in her mom hat to head back out into the workplace?

Beth Line of Nashville, TN, is the mother of active 7-year-old twin boys, Nathaniel and Zachary. When she and her family moved, life became a little overwhelming.

 “I had become a stay-at-home mom while we lived in a different state where I had a close group of friends and we did “mommy” stuff together and life was grand,” Beth says. “Then we moved to Tennessee, where I didn’t know anyone and suddenly it was just two toddlers and myself all day, every day.  I had no local support system and was suffering from loneliness and mental drain from complete focus on kids all the time. I decided to go back to school, just one class at a time at first, to have something to put my stamp on and say ‘this is for me’.”   

As wonderful as this new-found independence might sound, according to Kim Woodall of Greenville, KY, returning to school wasn’t smooth sailing:

“I signed up for an Anatomy & Physiology class.  It was sheer torture.  I had a terrible teacher that told us every class how lazy we were yet she never gave us any homework back, nor did she review it with us.  I can remember failing a test and crying all the way home and thinking, ‘If I can’t do anatomy there is no way I can be a nurse.’”

Classwork challenges aren’t the only hurdle. A sudden change in Mom’s availability can step on feelings and expectations within the family and beyond.

Beth says:

‘I was… apprehensive about the time commitment, and the change from being an always-home mom.  My priority was still my kids, and I didn’t want them to suffer from having less of me available.  I also had to swallow my mom pride at times and admit that I just couldn’t help with a school function, or make a homemade birthday cake, or that I had to hire a babysitter to cover some afternoons.’

Though both Beth and Kim admit that their families were very supportive, tensions can run high when the family starts juggling schedules, as they did for Kim:

“My husband was extremely picky about where I worked and got really mad if I picked up overtime.  Sometimes, overtime was mandatory, but in a nursing environment, being a team player and helping the others out by taking their weekend or a holiday if they have a special event come up is something you need to do.  That team becomes just like family.  So, it was a struggle and until I quit the floor and went to work on a Monday-Friday schedule in an area that I found not very challenging.  I loved patient care at the bedside and miss it very much.”

With all these obstacles, is going back to work even worth it? For Beth and Kim, and countless other moms, the resounding answer is “Yes!”  Not only are you earning additional income for your family (and who can’t use more money nowadays?), but you’re accomplishing something just for yourself.

In my own case, it’s forging a writing career. Some days, it’s tempting to leave it all behind and keep riding the laundry wagon, but when all is said and done, I know that every book, article, or story I publish is a little hurrah on my personal goals list. Moms need something to lay claim to, something (unlike dishes and laundry) that doesn’t have to be repeated over and over again. Whether it’s a degree or a nursing license or a shiny new book cover with your name on it, your family will benefit from a mother who perseveres toward her goals. Your children will understand the rewards of hard work.
And if you’re fortunate, like Kim, who went from student, to nurse, to nursing teacher, you’ll find your niche and a great deal of contentment.

Luckily,” Kim said, “God found me a job that works with my schedule, yet lets me be creative.  I have found teaching to be extremely rewarding.”

So, if you’re a mom who’s been pondering the idea of returning to work or school, understand that the road isn’t free of emotional potholes, but the destination is worth it. Now, get moving!

Serenya’s Song
Tallenmere Book Two
by Mysti Parker


In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, no one ever said love was easy... 

Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she's no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured small-town gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she's ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.

Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.

When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property at the edge of town, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in Summerwind may die.

Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they've always dreamed of.

Purchase Link: Amazon

Author Bio:

Mysti Parker is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and is the first in a fantasy romance series. She is also the proud writer of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award.


Twitter: @MystiParker

A Ranger’s Tale: 
Melange Books, AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords

Serenya’s Song: Melange Books


Mysti said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Wenona!

TJ said...


You know me, so obviously I have no experience with being a stay-at-home mother, but I do remember coming home to complaints from my ex saying she had great converstions with the dog that day. I have always known that being a mother, especially a stay at home mother must be one of the most challenging careers out there and one of the biggest obstacles are the mental exhaustion and boredom. Hobbies, schooling and/or social contact with friends are required to survive.

Thank you for this posting. Here's another Godiva!

Jack Eason said...

Another great article Mysti :)

Mysti said...

Thanks, TJ! That's one reason I started writing--just to preserve my mental state. I needed something to exercise my brain!

Thanks, Jack! I'm learning from you, of course. :)

Leona said...

My mind zoomed back to my four little angels that kept me a stay-at-home-mom.(It was a popular choice for many then.) After that, I babysat grandkids, and now, I simply stay at home.

I wish I had discovered writing all those years ago. I think I read a gazillion books while the kids were in school. I remember Big Red, Son of Big Red, and maybe even a grandson - all those dog, cat, horse books my kids wanted me to read also. Memories! lol

I enjoyed your post, Mysti, and agree with the need for personal fulfillment.

Mysti said...

Thanks so much for commenting, Leona! Being a mom is the best and hardest job in the world, and I'm actually looking forward to grandkids.

Personal fulfillment for a mother can come from the job of mothering itself, certainly. But, I think every mom needs something, not necessarily a job, to focus on, because burnout can come so easily. Could be a hobby, volunteering, being active in the church, etc. It's important to not forget that you're still Mysti, or still Leona, and not just Mom. :)

judysnwnotes said...

the very thrust of your post delayed my visiting, though this time around it is grandkids living with me. I thoroughly agree that mom's need an outlet for self beyond "mommy" - and the kids gain from it too. I wish I'd done more of that when my own kids were young - but I'm doing it now, as grandma, though I still feel the same tug when granddaughter or grandson interrupt my writing and say "Will you read to me, Nana?" (or play with me) -- I have a very hard time saying "not right now"....

Mysti said...

Thanks Judy--Nanas can't say no, right? I don't plan on it, anyway. Lord knows our kids' Nana spoils em rotten! :)

I hope people don't think I'm putting motherhood down, because I'm not. I'd choose my kids over writing if it came down to it. I think most moms would, yet it's great to have something that's just your own to accomplish, whatever that something is.

My mom, for instance, was a crafter. She loved making all sorts of things and even turned my brother's old bedroom into her craft room when he moved out. That was her "thing". Whatever your "thing" is as a mom, go for it!