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Finding My New Village -- Hundreds of Miles Away

Morgan Kelly Burke
Feb. 13, 2012

One mom's shares her journey as a working mother on the move as part of the Care.com Interview Series

Just months ago, Maija was juggling a full-time job, a full house (three kids plus her sister), being a wife to a police officer, and tons of responsibility. Moving more than 1,800 miles from family and friends to pursue her career and leaving her husband's shift work behind meant building a new village of support -- and making him the chief. The author of Maija's Mommy Moments tells Care.com where she turns for help, because no matter where you are from 9 to 5, your job as a mother never ends.

Tell us why you work.

I have a fabulous career with excellent opportunities and a working-lifetime worth of potentially greater opportunities. I am lucky (very lucky!) and I have always known this. Though I know that I would have made a great stay-at-home mom, I was never able to realistically consider that option, financially. What I also know is that both working and mothering is hard work no matter where you are from 9 to 5.

What have you experienced as some of the greatest challenges of being a working mom?

There are days I really wish I could just stay home and cuddle with my kids. Of course, my kids always seem to get sick on the days when I have major meetings. Finally -- and every working mom will understand this -- the daycare drop off is sometimes the most heart-wrenching challenge of all.

Practically speaking, however, the biggest challenge I find is dinner. Sometimes it is overwhelming to even think about how to feed your family healthy balanced meals when you don't get home until 5:30pm and the kids are rooting through the pantry for the first thing that looks edible.

What do you feel are the best parts of being a working mom?

I earn a good salary with good benefits, and it allows me to not only support our family and provide for extras like dance lessons and family vacations. I also believe I am serving as an example to my children - that with a little hard work you truly can be whatever you want when you grow up.

Everyone's heard the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child." Tell us, who's in your village?

As a working mom, I have depended on numerous people to help me. We've had two live-in nannies (one amazing, one the complete opposite). When my husband was working shift-work, I relied heavily on my in-laws, my parents and sister for help (especially when I had to travel for work or for non-regular-work-hour events). Now that we've moved away from our "village," when my husband returns to work and/or pursues a professional degree, we will be looking for another nanny and are hoping to find another amazing one.

Since moving, we have had to rely on finding babysitters. We have found one but are still looking for another one. It is a little bit of a challenge to find someone who you trust completely and who is also available on the weekend.

Do you consider your spouse part of your "village?" Can you explain?

When my husband was working shift-work, I did not regularly consider him a part of my village, simply because his work commitments made it impossible. [Now], he is the chief of my village (so to speak) and we rely on each other regularly to make our life as full, as organized and as stress-free as possible. We're not 50/50 yet but we're getting there.

Maija is an internationally syndicated work-outside-the-home mother of 3+1 (the +1 being her teenage sister and not her husband) who shares her story at Maija's Mommy Moments. She's gone from being a stressed out cop's wife to moving across the country to pursue her own career and "bringing home ALL the bacon." Get more of Maija on Facebook and Twitter.

See who other working moms turn to in our Care.com Interview Series: Who's In Your Village ยป

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