Homefront: Reflections of a working mom

Last fall, I went back to work full-time for the first time since Jimmy was born and boldly stepped forward into the world of working motherhood.

I was excited about my new job but nervous about my ability to balance my new responsibilities with the ones I have at home.

Now, four months later, I’m taking a look at what went right and what areas still need some attention.

On the positive side, Ron and the boys have learned to stand on their own two/eight feet in more ways than I thought possible, at least for small increments of time.

They still track me down when the least little thing goes wrong, but all four have learned how to follow my guidance over the telephone instead of waiting for me to come home and fix their problems.

For example, after Jimmy called me in a panic to report that he didn’t have a clean pair of jeans, I reminded him that he could pick up his own dirty clothes off his bedroom floor and put them in the washing machine.

By following my instructions, he even managed to wash the jeans and transfer them to the dryer. Now, he is better at remembering to put them in the laundry basket.

The three older Zich men have reached the milestone where each knows at least one quick meal to prepare for himself instead of sitting around hungry.

Because he’s my baby boy, Ronnie still gets away with badgering me until I come home.

Luckily, Glory hasn’t learned to feed herself, but she has done a great job of "holding it in" until Tommy comes home from school in the afternoon. I have decided that is all I can ask from her when it comes to supporting my career.

Most of the extra chores my guys have started doing around the house were tasks they should have been doing all along, such as putting their dishes in the sink. My return to the workforce has made all of us realize just how spoiled they were to have me all to themselves.

On the other hand, some things just ran more smoothly when I had more time to spend at home.

We lived in a much cleaner house back when I had time to give it more than a quick vacuum once a week.

Things have finally gotten so dusty, smudgy and grimy that I hired a team of professionals to come in and tackle the problem on a monthly basis.

I hope my efforts on the "in between" weeks will keep our home from becoming the disaster area it was by the end of 2008.

Even worse is the downward spiral of our family’s eating habits.

By the time I come home in the afternoon, Ron and the boys are so hungry … and ordering takeout is so much simpler than putting a meal together.

I have justified the expense by reminding myself of the extra paycheck, but that’s still no reason to trust our nutritional needs to McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.

The only solution will involve careful planning on my part, which is not exactly a strong point. Still, I know I’m capable of it, especially if it will prevent us from becoming a fast food family.

All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with the way things have gone, except for my dirty house and malnourished kids. If I can get those things taken care of, I may be ready to add something else to my busy schedule.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has been married to a Marine for 18 years and currently lives in Springfield, Va. You may e-mail her at or visit her Web site at

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