If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog, you know by now that I work part time. One of these jobs that keep me busy is as a high school cheerleading coach. Yes, this commitment is only for part of the year but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important one to me or my family.
The hours I put into my coaching position extend well beyond the time spent with the girls at practice. I care for my daughter during the day, head to practice in the evening and, once my daughter is in bed (I can thank my saint of a husband for putting her down every night) my nights are usually spent coming up with a plan for practice the next day, coordinating fundraising activities, answering emails from parents and school administration, and choreographing and learning new material to teach. Add on top of that the fires I need to put out as they come up during the day – which often require me to wrangle my daughter into the car and drag her to the school with me – and my part time gig starts to feel more like full time work, on top of full time mothering.
But that’s not what bothers me. After all, what working mom isn’t used to a little hard work and challenge, mixed with some multitasking? No, what gets to me is the response I hear more often than not when I tell people that I’m a cheer coach. There I am, proudly sharing what I do, and I hear:
“Oh that’s nice. At least it gets you out of the house for a bit.”
Did you feel me cringe through your screen?
Okay, so maybe the comment doesn’t seem that bad at first. But here’s where I take issue.
I feel like the comment is dismissive of my job as “real” work. Sure, coaching is something I do on a part time basis. And yes, the pay could be, um, way better (honestly, who wouldn’t want to see a little extra in their paycheck?) but it’s still a job that helps provide for my family. And while it does physically get me out of the house, it’s not merely a hobby, or something I volunteer my time doing. I had to apply and interview for this position, just like you would for any other job. I had to go through extensive certifications and trainings to qualify for the job. I need to continue my education just to keep my position. But what my job isn’t, is just an excuse to get out of the house and away from caring for my child for a few hours. This part time job gives me purpose outside of my mom duties.
It’s been quite an adjustment for me; after all, when I had my daughter I left the full time position I had in my field to be home with her. While I don’t regret that decision for a second, the cold-turkey approach takes a bit of getting used to, and being able to step back into the workforce, even on a part time basis, is refreshing. So it stings a bit when I feel like the work I do isn’t being valued equally by the people I encounter.
Being a mom will always be my most important job. But I take pride in the work I do outside the home, too! Are there any other moms who work part time that have similar experiences?