One of the toughest decisions a mother has to make is whether to join the workforce or go back to work after having a child, especially first time mothers. Whether it’s on a part-time or full-time basis, it doesn’t matter. But in this tough economy, most mothers simply cannot afford to stay-at-home and be full-time parents, and that’s the reality of it.

I am a mother of two beautiful children and I struggled with leaving them at home in the beginning and even weeks after I had returned to work. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make but I had to continue supporting my family. The problem I faced after I had my second child was possibly losing my job if I didn’t return in 6 weeks. It was tough but I didn’t have a choice.

The biggest advantage of being a working mom is that I am able to support my family. Other than that, I genuinely get the chance to miss my kids and I can’t wait to get home to see them everyday. Just seeing the smile on their little faces never fails to brighten up my day.  I always look forward to opening the door and having my two babies run into my arms and give me lots of hugs and kisses. I beam with joy as I listen to each of their stories while they talk a mile per minute about their day and how much they missed me. Being away from them has helped me to gain a better understanding of my love and appreciation for them.

One of the biggest obstacles I face (almost daily) is stress. As a single mother, I have to deal with the financial burden of supporting two kids and myself. Another thing that stresses me out is feeling like I’m not a good or good enough parent. For instance, my oldest is 6 years old and just started Kindergarten a few months ago and I’ve managed to miss my first parent-teacher’s conference.

Another obstacle I face is sleep deprivation. I find myself going through periods of crankiness and irritation after working a 10-hour shift. Sometimes I just want to go home, lay my head down, and close my eyes for a few minutes instead of charging head-on into my role and duty as a mom. On those days I depend on the TV, computer, or video games to keep my kids occupied while I catch my breath.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if I could be a stay-at-home mom sometimes but I am doing my best to balance motherhood and work. Some days run smoother than others and every day comes with its challenges and demands. No one said that it would be easy and so far it isn’t.