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'My Job is More Satisfying Than Being a Mom'

As parents continue the quest to find balance between work and life, a new research study adds another element to the discussion. Science Daily published results from a study that suggests the pursuit of income makes parenting less meaningful. This newfound discovery adds to the already spicy debate over whether children suffer when moms go back to work.

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For 33-year-old Daniela Syrovy, a mother of three young children, there is no mystery or sugarcoating the truth; she much prefers being a businesswoman to being a mom.

“I never wanted kids,” Daniela says. “I never dreamed of white picket fences, wedding gowns and babies. That was not my style.”

Daniela wanted to be a war reporter and imagined her life as a free spirit, completely independent. Unexpectedly, she fell in love, proposed to her boyfriend, got married and never even discussed having children. They lived life, operated a burger joint, traveled and sought adventures. She launched her company, ClutchPR, and a few months later she fainted at the bank while running an errand. That is the day her life changed; she found out that she was already three months pregnant with her first child.

Daniela’s history of rolling with the punches and tackling the unexpected led to a newfound excitement about conquering motherhood. “I didn't have expectations because I never really thought about becoming a mom,” she says. “I behaved almost as if I wasn't pregnant, went about my business, travelled, ate sushi and really enjoyed being pregnant. I home-birthed my daughter because I can't stand hospitals; they are where you go when you're sick or dying, and I didn't feel sick or dying. I was simply pregnant.”

The moment after Daniela delivered her baby, she says she saw her husband’s countenance shift before her eyes. As he held their baby he announced that he now knew why he was here on Earth. Daniela says she felt the opposite. She had no idea what to do with a little baby.

"I admire those that find happiness in it, but it wasn’t for me."

“I breast-fed her and did my best to play mom, but I always felt a pull to work,” she admits. “I juggled the business and played mom for a while. Then my husband took over her care because, frankly, he was more patient and better at it.”

Just as she was beginning to redefine herself, working out and coming to terms with how her life had shifted, she became pregnant again. Her oldest child was only 7 months old at the time. After her second daughter was born, the family decided that they wouldn’t have more children and Daniela’s husband scheduled a vasectomy. Surprisingly, before the operation could take place, the third pregnancy slipped in.

“I don't know what I expected of motherhood, but I certainly never expected to have kids, let alone three kids under the age of 5,” she says. “I rocked at all the physical parts of mothering, birthing and feeding and feeling like a primal mammal; this I was great at. It was all the other stuff that didn't satisfy me and that I wasn't prepared for. Raising kids is definitely not my forte.”

The decision to return to work while her husband stayed at home with their children was an organic evolution, according to Daniela. “I was happier at work. He was a kick-ass dad and wanted to be with them all day long, so it was a natural decision,” she says.

In the beginning, Daniela experienced some angst over her decision, but much like noticing a mistake on the front page of the newspaper, Daniela decided to acknowledge it and turn the page.

“Every mother has 'mom guilt.' It's built into us and pushed on us by society, media, friends, family and other women,” she says. “There is so much judgment in the world directed to women it's heartbreaking. I’m past it now. I'm proud that my daughters and son get to see a mother who has her own life, her own business and who is happy and successful; and that they get to see a father who is nurturing, present and 100 percent committed.”

Daniela believes parenting is the toughest job on the planet. As CEO of her own company she can take a break. Her time is her own, and there is flexibility because she is in control. As a stay-at-home mom, she found that there were no breaks and no flexibility.

“You give yourself over to the children, and it's a beautiful, selfless role,” she offers. “I admire those that find happiness in it, but it wasn’t for me.”

RELATED: 20 Questions for Working Moms & SAHMs

Recently featured on the cover of Toronto Life magazine, the headline read "Power Wives and Their House Husbands." This bothered Daniela because giving her the title of "power" for working denigrates her husband’s role and diminishes his value and contribution to the well-being of their family.

Daniela says she loves her work and her kids yet she makes no apologies for her preference. “Is motherhood for me? Not in the traditional sense,” she says. “I think women should feel free to admit that perhaps they weren't born to be full-time mothers and that choosing another path is perfectly fine.”

Photo by MARKIAN LOZOWCHUK

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