Separation Anxiety Returning Back to Work

Updated on August 30, 2006
M.C. asks from Richardson, TX
8 answers

I have been blessed with 2 wonderful children 28 months and 13 months. I have also been blessed that I have been able to be a stay at home mom up until now. We have come to a time however that we must do something financially. I have always wanted to go into law enforcement and a couple a months ago started the process with DPD and have so far passed everything. They are finishing up my background. In the beginning I was so excited. This is something I have always wanted to do. I had gotten burnt out on being a stay at home mom and both my husband and I agreed that our kids were ready for daycare. They are both a little reserve. My daughter plays by herself when we go to playgroups and during storytime she is too shy to participate in any of the activities even though you can tell she wants to. My son is not as antisocial but is very much a mommy's boy. As the date to enter the academy (assuming I pass the background) gets closer, the more I don't want to go. Maybe it is just my own separation anxiety. My mother was a stay at home mom, and I want to be there for my kids as she was. I want to be there for their first day of school. I want to help with Halloween parties etc... Since I applyed I have gotten involved more with a mom's club, mamasource and am back to enjoying being a stay at home mom. I am worried that being a police officer is going to take way too much time away from the kids, for it is not a 40 hour a week job, however it is possible that I can get a 4 day work week instead of a 5 day. After paying for daycare is the money worth it, I can work a part-time job and make the about the same $$ and not put them in daycare(less any overtime). I haven't even mentioned holidays. This is my last chance to get into this career, it is now or never, but is it worth the sacrifice. I know that no one can answer the question that I am posing, it must be a personal choice, but could you at least give me a little guidance and maybe your experience? Thank You!!

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answers from Dallas on

Here's a website you might find interesting: Texas Women in Law Enforcement. Perhaps they can point you to another site or somewhere to talk to other Police Moms.

Here's a forum of police officers I've noticed a few Police Moms on there.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

M. -

The confliction of being a working mommy! Here's my quick advice - take the job. You can always quit. Like you stated, the opportunity won't come again, and you have always wanted to do it. There is no harm in trying it and if you don't like it, quitting.

Here's my longer advice: You sound as if you want to work outside the home, but suddenly are having seconds thoughts. Think of it as the same as cold feet before marriage. It's still the right decision, but you are hard-wired to second-guess yourself. You state that financially, it is necessary to now work. If you don't do law enforcement, which you genuinely like and are eager to do, what are you going to do? Do you have something else in mind that interests you, or will you just find a job somewhere for the income? If you just find a job, how long until you resent the fact that you have to work at something that is "just a job", instead of staying at home with your kids?

As for missing out on everything....that will only happen if you let it. I can't speak for scheduling in the police departments, but I can tell you that I work full-time and my family comes first. I am a huge volunteer at my child's daycare and I attend a lot of little parties for the holidays, etc. I am blessed with a great boss, but most people I know are able to attend some if not all events that occur by knowing about them way in advance and setting up their schedule accordingly. Being involved in your child's class doesn't always mean you have to be there during certain hours. You can volunteer to set things up the day before, work behind the scenes, etc. - this will give you the sense of connection you want.

And now the holiday anxiety - my father was a firefighter and often worked on the holidays. This never bothered me because it's all in attitude - we would celebrate at different times, the families of all those on duty would get together, etc. In both police and fire work, there comes such a great sense of family and community - Christmas is only on December 25th because we "say so" - but you can celebrate it anytime. Same for all other holidays.

Whenever I am faced with making a decision that has pretty even pros and cons, I always step back and think about which option leaves the other option still open. In your case, not taking the job closes the door to the option of taking the job at a later time. If you take the job, the option of not working at a later time is still there.

Whatever decision you make, just know it's not permanent. You can change your mind, change direction, change everything any given moment of any given day.

Good luck - S.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Hi!! As I read your entry, I felt I was writing it...I ama SAHM of a 2 year old and am starting back to work next week. I never thought I wanted to be a mom let alone a stay at home mom and then I had my daughter. I was fortunate enough to work part time after she was 6 months old and had my parents watch her which was much easier than taking her to a stranger. My husband took a job transfer that brought us down here in November away from all of my family. I have been staying home with my daughter but like you we would like to have more buying a house, saving for her college, etc. So, I started looking for a job. Part of me was always disappointed when I would go to an interview and not get the job and the other part of me was relieved. I always thought I would be a career woman...then I had her. I did find a job that is very family friendly and I found a good inhome Christian daycare for her to start. She sounds very much like your daughter and I worry how she will feel when I leave her...I have much anxiety over it and can cry at the thought. I have a degree in Criminal Justice and worked as a Parole Officer for about 6 years but decided to get into Human Resources now that I am a mom. I didn't want to be directly exposed to that field affects everything about you. I really understand about being burnt out on being a SAHM...I go through it...but now I just wish I could stay with her..ironic!!!! I am at least going to a job that allows me flexibility when it comes to my daughter...that was something I made clear whe I took the job. Even with that, I still worry about her and what she will think when I leave her to go to work. What I have realized is that from the day I found out I was pregnant, I started a whole new set of emotions ranging from panic, guilt, anxiety to a love. I don't think it the decision is ever easy to go back to just have to weigh the pro's and con's and do your best. Being a Police Officer is a great profession and I hope you don't mind me being honest....but in my opinion it is a really tough career if you have a family...especially for a mom. I knew too many officers when I worked in the CJ system and dated one and realized how hard the job is emotionally on the officer and the family. You can always try it and if it doesn't work out quit...I wish you luck and I feel the same confusion...I thin all working moms do!!!! Good Luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I, too, got to that burned out stage but like you, I still wanted to be extremely involved with my children's lives so I got myself a hobby and signed on to several "work from home" type companies (close to my heart, taste of home entertaining and heritagemakers)... these are giving me an opportunity to make some money on my time, continue to be involved outside the house and still feel like I'm there for my kids.

I am the daughter of TWO law enforcement professionals -- both are now retired... and having also worked at the Sheriff's Office in Colorado... i know that it's not a 9-5 shift and you rarely will have seniority to get a "day" job in this field for many many years. My mom took a desk job while we were in school just so she could be there for us and work 9-5... but those aren't always available. My dad -- even as a lieutenant at DPD -- had to work mids and swings. A dear friend of mine who is a Lt in Colorado still says he hates it b/c he never sees his kids (he works swings).

SO I guess the real question is what are you willing to sacrifice for your own personal goals. There's no right/wrong answer because we are all made differently and are not all meant to stay home. Finances, toleration limits, etc. play a special part in these decisions.

Reentering the work force is a daunting and scary task. If you're ready for it... but life isn't always about what is right for everyone else.... it's also about making sure YOU are on your priority list. Thousands of women go to work every day and juggle a shift/work career, family and social life... you'll just have to find that balance once the ball starts to roll.

I wish you luck in whatever you choose.

What helped me make my decision was knowing that they'll never be this young again and these opportunities won't always be there for me. Work ALWAYS will be there, not necessarily the police department, but work in general. Will you be able to live with what you are potentially going to miss. Not that you WILL miss anything. I, too, got more involved in organizations outside my home... my son is now in AWANA at a neighborhood church.. i teach AWANA at our church... I'm in my mom's league and took on two positions there... I also am now the den leader for my 7 year old's cub scout group.... this has helped me feel like I have a life outside the home... that I"m making a difference and my children are well socialized... :)

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

My son has been in daycare since he was 5 mo. He loves it. He gets bored with me now. I understand your separation anxiety. I miss my son so much when I am at work. Besides the frequent colds they catch at daycare it is great for them. The social skills that they will aquire in daycare will help them the rest of their life. Follow your dreams or you might carry resentment even though you love them more than anything. Pray for clarity, everything will work out.



answers from Dallas on

I have a brother, a cousin, and an ex-husband on the Dallas police force. They each have very different personalities and work at different times of the day. DPD is definitely not a 9-5 job. You will normally work 4 ten hour days. It's stressful!!

You have to deal with mostly domestic issues and being a woman, it's hard not to internalize those problems. My ex is an alcoholic. I adore him, but I couldn't deal with his problem and the fact that he didn't want to communicate at home because he dealt with it all day at work. My brother and cousin are very similar when it comes to conflicts in the family. They like to shut down and not talk about it. It's hard to be married to an officer. I will say that being a police officer is not equivalent to being a firefighter. Everyone loves a firefighter. No one wants to see a police officer unless they NEED them.

It's hard to be a woman on the police force. You will have to work deep nights at least some of your time. I don't know too many women that work that shift many years, but you won't get a day shift right off the bat.

My ex hated his job. He has been a police officer for 17 years. My brother is a trainer and likes his job (16 years on the force). My brother used to love his job, but with the recent years and the little support from the mayor and the city, the job has lost its luster.

I guess I would suggest you look at why you want to be a police officer. It's not glamorous. It is thankless. You will have personality changes in the way you look at people. It's hard!!! I don't know too many police officers that would recommend their job to anyone. This is honesty...I am VERY PROUD of the men in my life that have made this their job!!! I love each and every one of them... even my ex. I just want you to know the other side of the coin.

Good luck with your decision!



answers from Dallas on

Having lived in both worlds (working mom and now SAHM), I can tell you that both of them have their ups and downs. First off, if this is what needs to happen for you to take care of your family, it doesn't mean you're cheating them. You're just taking care of them in a different way. If you can do your job well, and with a good attitude, the kids will learn to respect that as well. Also, one wise working mom told me what her husband said when she decided to pursue her career while their children were young: When you are both working, you are truly sharing the parenting experience. The partnership in parenting is strengthened simply out of necessity. The kids will grow up knowing that either parent can meet their needs. And for Dad's benefit, he will very quickly become more confident in his parenting.
Also, I think the key to working outside the home is flexibility in scheduling, and boundaries to protect your family life. If you walk in the door working overtime, taking odd shifts, etc., that will become what is expected of you, and that is NOT beneficial for your family.
And, maybe this should have been mentioned first, but if you're a praying woman, this would be a good thing to get on your knees about. You will likely receive confirmation one way or the other about what you should do.



answers from Dallas on

You only have one opportunity to stay home with your kids. Jobs come and go and there is little loyalty between employer/employee.... no matter what they say.

Family before your job is my suggestion. But like others recommended, you can always quit your job.

Daycare has pros and cons. It's a very personal choice.

For me I chose to stay home as much as I could, because I wanted to be the one showing them how to cut their food, how to read, and play with them. I lucked out and found a job at home, so I can have job satisfaction and be at home for the kids.

Best wishes on your choice!

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