3 Reasons Why I Choose to Work

Choosing to be a working parent is not easy. As just one example, there are loads of things you miss out on if you choose to work outside the home while you raise kids.

I have a new one-year-old and when I am not at home I am missing his first everything!  On those off-days when I am able to pick my preschooler up from school I notice him saying good-bye to all of his friends as we leave. I think he is doubly excited to have my attention as he makes sure I know that he did not go in the time-out chair that day, so can he watch his favorite TV show when he gets home, please?  My Kindergartner was home sick a couple weeks ago and we read a book together and just-like-that he is already reading every word on every page. You see? We miss things while we’re at the office.

But then, sometimes, when I get to be home, my mind wanders to the long to-do list I hope to accomplish while at work. Or, I wonder what I’m missing out on when it comes to bench-marking a big project with the team. Even worse, there are times I feel like I’m letting the team down by not being a part of the collaborative work.

All of this is true. Regardless on which you choose, you miss out. But, here’s what I know:  working can be good for you! Let that sink in, a minute. Sure, having a pay-check is nice (and very important… i.e. you have kids to support), but that is actually beside the point.

Here are three key reasons why I choose to work:

  1. I have a set of strengths that makes the world just a little bit better because I’m sharing them.

Is there anything better than the feeling of contributing something to your work and receiving an accolade from a team member or a customer who was directly impacted? It’s o.k. to take a moment and assess your value on the job! I am sure there are countless examples of when you added your thoughts to a process or a project, and then the entire team won because of your input.

What’s more, when you talk about work positively at home or share with your family how you helped do something amazing on-the-job, they are reminded of the power of hard work. They are reminded that you are valuable inside your home and out!

Recognizing and sharing your strengths allows you to continue to do a good job, it reiterates the need for you in your role, and it gives your children insight on what they might find valuable in their future work roles.

  1. By showing my kids that I value work, they see work as valuable.

Having people like you and me in various roles helps everyone everywhere! We need us! And by choosing to work, you are indirectly teaching your children that choosing to work and share our gifts is a valuable contribution and use of time. We need people who enjoy giving back through their chosen careers.

I remember hanging out in my parents’ bedroom on school mornings. I saw my mom put on her fancy work clothes or help my dad select his tie. My mom helped me pack my lunch and reminded me about my forms and homework sheets. Then, she’d pack her own things in the car. I’d hear the snap of my dad’s briefcase and then we’d all be out the door. These mornings were important in teaching me first-things-first. I had no idea what their jobs were, but their attitudes let me know that they took it seriously. So, I wanted to be a person who was responsible and on-time, and who took my job seriously while wearing fancy clothing.

  1. It saves us.

I am so fortunate that I am able to have both: work and parenthood.

I love being at work! I love the responsibility, the autonomy, the pressure to accomplish as much as possible in a 9 hour day, the interaction with adults, and the accomplishment of helping my coworkers or customers directly.

I love being at home! I love taking care of my family, I enjoy seeing everything new my children are taking in, I love putting my home back together after the tornado of life nearly destroys it each week, and I feel settled when I can do what I was genetically called to do with my family in my home.

But, I need both. I need the reprieve of work. I need the sanctuary of home. In fact, I am unsure if I’d appreciate any one walk of life as much without the perspective of the other.

Home-stuff is hard work. Work-stuff is hard work. Perspective is everything, so always remember you’re doing a great job. Thanks for your hard work at home and at the office. We’re all so lucky to have you and your talents, here.


A graduate of The Ohio State University with a Strategic Communications degree, Ashley Barger resides in Findlay, Ohio where she is currently the Director of Communications for a $30 million office supplier, FriendsOffice. In addition to raising her three boys alongside her husband, she serves on three local boards of directors and manages her blog, Ashley Working on Purpose.  

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