toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

December 17, 2006

keeping things together

Like all women, Hope has come a long way since the 1960s but she, being a single mom, knows from personal experience that having it all is an unrealistic expectation and that the most a single working mom can do is keep things together at home and survive as best you can at work.

"I know that some moms - single and married - manage to beat the odds," says Hope, "but most of us are forced to make huge career sacrifices for the sake of the children and take on some pretty nasty humilation, too. But you do it to survive!"

When her children were young, Hope believed it was far more important for her to keep it all together at home than to strive for power and glory in the workplace for the simple reason that she represented home to her children. There was nobody else but her to keep things together at home, and if she lost the love and trust of her children then she would lose everything.

"A lot of working moms just don’t realize that their children play a far more important role in their lives than the women think they do," says Hope, "Children keep us grounded far more than a job does."

"I saw it as my duty to give my children the very best start in life and the best start has very little to do with money," says Hope. "Instead, it has everything to do with the time and care I gave them and most of all the blessing of a loving, stress-free home environment."

"To achieve that aim I took on the least stressful job I could find," says Hope, "and no matter that I was being paid half as much as I was worth I hung on to that job for dear life because it was giving me what I wanted. I jumped through a hundred hoops a day to keep my boss happy because as long as he was happy he wouldn't fire me and upset my homelife."

"I believe that the first seven years of a child's life are vital to his or her future development," says Hope, "and I have no regrets about the enormous personal sacrifices I made for my children. I was aware right from the start that no amount of remorse will ever undo the damage done to kids by a mother who neglected them in order to further her career, or to chase a guy."

To her credit, Hope’s three children have grown up into happy, well-adjusted teenagers and while life is much easier for her there are still significant responsibilities with teenagers living at home.

"I'm still in the same job," laughs Hope, "and I'm still keeping it together at home.

"Support is something I never really got in large enough measures to improve my circumstances," says Hope. "Being a father and a mother to young children was relatively easy, but its hard being both a mom and dad for older children. They still depend upon me to provide a safe, stable and happy home, and because I don't want to rock their boats I'm still jumping through hoops for my boss."

"The demands of my job no longer conflict much with my mothering duties," says Hope, "so life is easier in that respect, but my boss never lets me forget how much time off he gave me when I had to put my little children's needs first."

"When a conflict between work and home arose, I always stuck to my guns about never letting work interfere with my home life," says Hope, "and my boss was pretty good about giving me time off to keep things together at home. And so he should have been for paying me half as much as I was worth!"

"The belief that I can have it all when the kids were older kept me sane during those early years," says Hope, "but I'm discovering that I probably won't be able to achieve that goal until my kids are working themselves."

"Until then, I guess I'm still stuck in this low paid job," sighs Hope. "I'm surviving, sure, but I'd like to be thriving!"

"I can't understand mothers -- married or not -- who put their kids into nurseries after birth in order to pursue their careers," says Hope. "Maybe I'm missing something but why bother having children if you’re not prepared to look after them?"

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