If you’ve made the transition from stay at home mom to working mom, then you know how extremely hectic in can be. Your days probably go something like this: eight hours at work and then racing home to help the kids with homework and cook dinner, then finding time somewhere to throw in the laundry, sort through the mail, and clean up the kitchen, after which you might, if you’re lucky, have 5 minutes before bed to flip through a magazine before you collapse. And then you get up the next day and do it all over again.

There’s no doubt that spending even a few months in this routine can make even the most hardened mom want to give it all up and go back to staying at home full time. And while staying at home has its own stresses and rewards, before you toss in the towel, let’s just take a quick look at what you do have going for you as a working mom. Sure, you’re overworked and stressed out, but there’s probably a lot of benefits you’ve haven’t considered.

First off, working allows you to be financially independent. There’s nothing quite like knowing that, should disaster strike, you’re ready to pitch in and carry the weight. It can be very empowering to know that you’re providing for your family’s needs. The money you earn could be going for groceries, your retirement, or college savings for your kids, but you’re doing it. It’s a wonderful feeling to have.

Working also gets you out of the house and into an environment where you can talk to other adults. Conversations that don’t revolve around Dora the Explorer’s middle name, or whether Barney will ever come over for playtime, are a nice change. Being involved in an atmosphere that’s intellectually stimulating for you will also make you a better mom. How? Because it gives you a break from being a mom, and allows you to help create an identity separate from that. It allows you to stand on your own two feet, as you.

Working also allows you to improve yourself in many different ways. You’re challenged on a daily basis, and overcoming those challenges gives a satisfaction that is completely yours. You’re always learning new things and that keeps your mind sharp.

You’re also setting a good example for your kids. You’re doing something you love, something that is stimulating and makes you happy. Your kids are going to pick up on that. They’re going to see that by taking care of yourself it enables you to take better care of them. They’re going to see you doing it all – having a career you love, playing softball and games with them, cooking dinner, laughing and being their mom. You’re a role model to them, and it’s a good example to set. One day they’ll look back on their lives with you and be proud that you showed the strength that you do. It won’t go unnoticed.

It’s hard to pick one side over the other in terms of your life and your kids. Working vs. staying at home each provides unique challenges and benefits, leading to a decision that’s quite personal. But don’t be too quick to discount what you’re doing at work. You’re making money as a productive member of society, and not only are you helping feed your family, this career is also feeding you. It’s giving you an empowering sense of self-worth and accomplishment, and pride at what you do everyday.