Thursday, November 5, 2009

I <3 My Job

Really. The one I get up and get dressed and get in the car for several days a week. It's odd, especially when I tell people that I do tax returns, but I really do love it.

I knew very early on that I was not stay at home mom material. I love my kids. I love spending time with them, working on homework with them, reading books, washing hair, all of it. I enjoy loading them up to go places. I have a blast cooking with them. But, I also love to work. I have a great time going into my office and solving people's tax problems. I get a kick out of making the numbers come together. I enjoy the heck out of a cup of coffee with a side of adult conversation. I barely survived my maternity leaves. I would truly go out of my mind as a stay at home parent.

My background in this area is somewhat mixed. My mother was a stay at home mom until my brothers and I were in school. At that point, she took some small part time jobs with the school, allowing her the flexibility to still be there when we needed her to be, but giving her something else to do during her days as well. She was a lunchroom supervisor, helped in the library and office, that kind of thing. After my parent's divorced, though, she could no longer do just those little things. She went back to school and got a degree in education, and worked her fanny off. I remember periods of time where she would work four or five jobs at a time to make sure we could take part in extracurricular activities, or have a class ring, or just be able to enjoy what was left of our childhood.

As a result, I was really exposed to both sides of that coin in my own childhood. I took my first job at 15, having been told that I would have to pay for my own driver's education course, plus gas and insurance. I had a friend who's parent's owned a video store close to my home, and I worked there through high school and into the start of college. And I've never looked back. After the video store closed, I worked for Sears, selling vacuum cleaners and sewing machines. Then I was an assistant manager for a retail teen clothing store. I took a customer service position with a bank, and ended up also working in the investment side as well. During all of this, from the time I was 19, I also worked during the tax season for my current boss. If I was off at one job, I went to the office and did taxes. I helped with processing. I frequently pulled 40 hour work weeks at my "full time" job, and 40+ hours the same week at the tax office. And I LOVED it.

Eventually I had the opportunity to become a full-time manager with the tax office, and I never looked back. I knew that the taxes were where my heart was, and I had just had my second child. I loved the idea of the flexibility I would have outside of the tax season. I also loved that my boss and his family were like family to me, and considered my kids like their own grandkids. It seemed to open up the best of all possible situations for me.

Even after the birth of M, the idea of not working never crossed my mind. For my family, if one of us was to be a stay at home parent, it really would be my husband. While I am not domestically challenged, he is far better gifted in many of the homemaking areas. He spent years working in restaurants, so dinner for five is no big deal. He also lived on his own as an adult for many years, and is more than capable of washing dishes and doing laundry. (We have about a 13 year age gap between us. He had never been married before me. He learned how to cope with adulthood!) And he is content with doing those things, and that being his job. If we didn't need the support of his income, he would be a stay at home dad. Right now.

Instead, for now, we share the home front load. We've found a pretty good balance, although I won't lie- he get's a little stressed out during tax season. (I work EVERY day, open to close, during the season, with very few exceptions. That's about 16 weeks of Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm, Saturday 9-5. We also do some Sundays, 1-5. And there are several of those weeks where we're so busy, home happens closer to 11pm or later. That's asking a LOT of my husband!)

It's helped, too, that the kids are getting old enough to do more for themselves. They can fix things to eat. Fold laundry. Certainly pick up their own toys and such. That puts less work at home on us as Mom and Dad. And my children also know that the expectations on them are higher during tax season. That I need them to help more. To fight less. That I don't have the time or energy to mediate silly squabbles. And I'm lucky enough to work for a guy who really does value family. I am able to bring my kids to my office if I need to, and during tax season, that's exactly what I do. I pick them up from school, bring them back to the office, and park them around the break table to do homework. I still go to the school for my library mom shift each week. I still get to be mom, just not always at our house!

So there it is. I love my job. I love being a mom. And I think I'm doing both fairly successfully. Are there days where I fall short on one side or the other? Probably. But I bet there are days where I would fall short even if I was only doing one of them. And I think, in my own little biased opinion, that I have pretty happy, well adjusted kids. I don't think they have suffered any because I work outside of the home.

*Please allow me to throw in this little disclaimer: This post is not to say my way is right, or better than yours, or hers, or his, or whatever. This post is to share what my way is, and how it's right FOR US. As much as I know that NOT being a stay at home mom is right for me, I also know that there are any number of fabulous stay at home parents, moms and dads both, who have made the right choice for them. :)


  1. I admire your being able to manage all that so well! After tax season, how much/how often do you work?

  2. Depends on the month, really. For example, May, June & July I really can get by with coming in once a week, typically only from about 9-3. I check voicemails and emails regularly and am available to clients by appointment basically at their convenience. Each summer also has a couple of business trips, one to our national convention and one to an IRS forum for continuing education.
    Starting in August, we pick up steam again. We run a tax school for current and prospective employees, plus people who just want to learn more about taxes. There are 3 of us who rotate teaching, so from Sept. - right before Thanksgiving, I'll work 3-4 days a week. Most of those end up being 9-9 type days as well, because we have evening classes.
    Our first loan products roll out right before Thanksgiving, so we'll be pulling longer hours again here in just a couple weeks, but that will only be for about two weeks. Things kick up for real in December as we get offices ready to reopen and employees up to speed on tax law changes. I'll be looking at having real, five-day work weeks for most of December. We take a couple days right at Christmas, and then, our lives are over until April 15th!

  3. I think thats awesome! I also love doing taxes...there are a few of us crazy people out there!