Role Models

Posted on | December 2, 2010 | 17 Comments

I was talking with a friend today and the topic of working motherhood, obviously, arose. We both wondered if having a role model growing up made any difference.

See when I was growing up, my mother was a stay at home mom. So I’ve never known how to be a mother who wasn’t there all the time. I’ve never known how to juggle work and motherhood because all of my “experience” with mothers has been of the constantly-there kind. And the end result of that is that I feel like half a mom for working.

So here’s my question for you… if you had a mom who worked is it easier for you to juggle being a working mom? Do you sort of inherently know that working moms can be just as awesome as stay at home moms because, you know, you had one? Because ultimately, that is my fear. I worry that when J is older he will think back on his childhood and wish I’d been there more. He will wish he hadn’t spent so much time in daycare. He’ll wish he’d had summer days at the pool instead of summer days at the same place he goes after school in the fall. He’ll wish he had the week before Christmas at home baking cookies with his mom instead of being stuck in a classroom making paper chains for tree decorations.

Lay it on me… is it easier when you know it works?

And in other news, I have this idea which may be a total bust but I’m leaving that up to you. There are so many times I think “OH MY GOD I wish I could blog about that” in my life. Like SO many times. But I’m kept from doing it because I don’t want to hurt feelings or lose my job. So I started thinking that maybe there are some of you who also wish you could write about something and get feedback without having to risk exposure. In that regard, I welcome you to…

“Friday Free for All.” 

I don’t know how long it’ll last, that’ll be up to you. But here’s what you do. You email me your rant or question or whatever. I will pick my favorite and post it, completely anonymously with absolutely no link to you at all. I can email you when the post is up or you can just peek to see. Hopefully, this will help you find an outlet where you can ask your questions or berate your boss with, well, safety. If you’re up for it, shoot me an email and stay tuned… if I get any responses then maybe there will be one up tomorrow.

Comments

17 Responses to “Role Models”

  1. Ginger
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 12:41 am

    My mom worked like crazy after my parents got divorced–when I was little, she actually had 3 jobs, and I was shuttled from grandmother, to babysitter to babysitter, probably only seeing mom 2 or so hours a day on a good day.
    As I got older, she became a professional woman and worked crazy hours, but made a point to make me a priority too–in high school, while working 80 hour weeks, she never once missed a band performance of mine (sometimes multiple per week). I still don't know how she did it.
    But I knew she loved me, I knew she was a rock star, I never wanted anything different than I had. I don't look back with sadness on my childhood, instead I look at my mom as this amazing force & role model.

    BUT. It doesn't make it any easier for me to leave my son every day. Even knowing that, it doesn't make me miss him less, or want to be with him less. It makes me not worry about it messing HIM up…but it doesn't change anything about messing ME up.

  2. Krista
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 1:22 am

    My mom worked and I think that makes it easier for me. I'm comfortable know that my kid will go to daycare at some point (right now she stays with my MIL) because I went to day care and I think I turned out all right. I know that I will find ways to be there for every school play and every volleyball game, just like she did. I still don't know how she did what she did, but it helps to know that she figured it out and I can too.

  3. Mama Fisch
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 1:29 am

    I have thought about this daily. My mom worked like me was a teacher. For 30+years. It is what I know. I keep telling myself that I "think" I turned out okay with two working parents so Brady should be fine. I think we all do what we know and are comfortable with what we know. So for me, I keep reminding myself that I have the best of both worlds which includes being home in the summers but also have a career I am passionate about. The other thing that keeps me going is that I have random memories from age 5 and under but they are small and short. My memories are from 5 and older so my hope is that Brady doesn't "remember" the time I missed with him. Plus, as I continue on this soapbox, I will say what I tell anyone. It is NOT the quantity of time you spend, it is QUALITY. It is soaking up every minute you do have!

  4. Raising Madison
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 1:44 am

    ohhh, I love the friday free for all idea.

    Regarding the mom thing. My mom was a stay at home mom until I was in High School. I loved having her there all the time and thought it was what I always wanted. After 8 months of having that I have realized it isn't what I want at all. I know being a working mom will bring a new set of challenges and it will be hard but I know in my heart that is what I want.

  5. The Insanity of Yca
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 2:13 am

    I'm all for the Friday Free-for-all! I might start writing one tonight – have a lot to say, but can't say it in *my* blog. (ugh)

    My mom worked throughout my entire childhood. She was there for the important things, and she made sure that if I needed her, she was available. I've never really spoken to her about how she felt leaving me as a child (and now she's in the early stages of alzheimer's and probably won't remember) … but I can tell you what it taught me:

    I learned how to be independent, strong, self-contained. I learned how to prioritize the important things in my life. I was very self-reliant. I knew how to cook, clean, do laundry and get myself to and from school by the time I was 10.

    Now that I'm a mom, I work and homeschool my 4 kids (age ranging from 18mos to 11). I have the skills I so desperately need to keep our family running smoothly.

    Thanks, Mom!!

    LM, I know how hard it is to walk this line of having a beautiful angel at home that you want to be with, but you love your career and you're good at it. Eventually you will find your niche. You're going to stumble, you're going to feel like a failure – and its totally natural.

    The best compliment I ever got was from my ex-husband (figure that one out), and I'm going to give it to you now: you are not a perfect mom, but you are the perfect mom for your child.

  6. JTownsend
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 2:27 am

    I too love the Fri. Free for all idea b/c I could totally rant about my job rt.now. My mom was also a stay @ home mom. I don't have children because I'm convinced I can't afford them. I love that my mom was there for me as a kid, but now that I'm all grown up, I have to say I'm not sure that I remember alot of that. What I do know is there's a huge gap between my mom's understanding of how my life is now that I have a career and my ability to relate to her on that level now that I' m a hard working adult. I guess all I can say is do your best and that's all you can do. One day when your kid is grown up, they will realize why you weren't there and respect you for providing for them in the best way possible. Good luck

  7. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 2:29 am

    To give an opinion on the other side, both my parents worked. They stayed together until my mom passed away. I don't think it's so much working parents that have the potential to damage the kids, it's the quality of the time you DO get to spend with them. If, in the age of electronic babysitters, we pick up our kids just to occupy them with TV or video games, even if they are for learning or teaching purposes, even if we are in the same area, if we are not actively engaging with our children, we are doing them a huge disservice. So… Even if you only have an hour a day, make that hour count.

    My mom/parents didn't really… Both my brother and I paid the price. We have also changed things in raising our own kids.

    Good luck. As the mother of a 19 year old daughter and a 17 year old son, don't believe "them" when they tell you it gets easier… The worries just change. *laugh*

    *hugs* to you all!

  8. erobell
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 2:30 am

    My mom worked as a teacher, and worked as a mom, she worked as a wife, a gardener, salad maker, housekeeper, sister, daughter, and chief cook and bottle washer…

    I try everyday to be as good as she was and fall short…

    Her sheer perfection (in my eyes) her ability to do it all, be it all, make it all happen – well…

    let's just say my therapist has my mother to thank….(in a nice way:)

    Working moms are a different breed of cat – try to embrace your strengths and forgive yourself your weaknesses…

    When you figure out how to do that – let me know:)

    ps – LOVE the "Friday Free for All"

  9. legallyinsanemommy
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 3:20 am

    My mom stayed home until I started school and then had to go back to work when my parents divorced. She hated working and made it very clear to me that I was to find a job making lots of money and never rely on a man for support. So I went to school, and more school, and more school. Here I am, up to my eyeballs in school loan debt, and forced to work. She should have just taught me to marry a rich prince.

    Seriously what I should have learned is that some people enjoy working and some people don't. Some people enjoy staying home full-time and some don't. Some have to work. You have to find the balance that suits you and your family and then just make the best of it. No matter what route you choose – stay at home, work, whatever, you will be infused with insane Mommy guilt. It's just the rule.

  10. Caroline
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 3:38 am

    My mom worked and I stay at home. It's definitely different. At first I loved staying at home, but now I long to be back at work and a contributing member of my family – though my husband says I *already* am. I think I'm going back to school to get a second undergrad degree, which scares the bejeezus out of me and means putting my kid in day care. I don't know if that "counts" as being a working mom, but I'm pretty sure my ultimate goal is going to be a "best of both worlds" – a job where I have the ability to take off for my kids' important events and such…

    I have no idea if that answers your question or not. By the way, I can't WAIT for the Friday Free for All!

  11. R's Mom
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    My mom went to medical school and worked when I was growing up. She also baked cookies when I needed to bring something into school, helped with school projects, and made it to every dance recital…she was supermom!

    I think it maybe did make being a working mom easier for me. I love my job (I'm also a lawyer). I don't love leaving R every morning, but I do feel fulfilled at my job. Plus I'm the primary breadwinner, so if someone was goign to stay home with R, it would be my husband.

    I learned growing up that it's the quality of the time together, not the quantity. Dinner times together at the table were a priority for my mom. Obviously, that couldn't happen if she were on call and had to go to the hospital. But the norm was family dinners…not "fend for yourself" or "just get the kids fed." All four of us sat down around the table.

    Also, I was proud of my mom. She was a good doctor. She is a great mom. It taught me that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I "grew up."

  12. Jennifer
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    I had a working mom and it doesn't make my life as a working mom any easier. In fact, i think it makes it harder since I try to overcompensate for where I felt that having a working mom left me feeling in a lurch. In my adolescent years my mom was out of the house ALOT when I needed her most. That was so hard to deal with, so now I feel an extra layer of pressure to not leave my children feeling that way.

  13. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

    My mom stayed at home, but was sometimes emotionally absent. I think she was kind of bored and lonely. She went to college part-time to pursue one of her passions when I was in high school and was much happier for it. And I am really proud of her for doing it.

    My aunt worked, and my cousin has decided to be a stay-at-home mom because she felt like she missed out on some things as a kid (but doesn't blame her mom, who had to work).

    I'm working, and that seems to be going ok for us. I think I would go crazy if I was a full-time SAHM. {Oh! So maybe I am just like my mom!}

  14. MrsPatterson
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    My mom worked for the majority of my childhood, and while it doesn't make it any easier for me to be a working mom, it does help me know in my gut that it's ok that I'm not staying at home. So I am relieved of some of that guilt. But as for wishing I could give my kid summers at the pool and play dates during the week, that's still there.

  15. Liz
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    My mom was a teacher, so she worked most of the year, but had summers off with us. I don't know if her working makes it easier for me, but it has allowed me to see that it is possible to be a working mom and still involved in your kid's activities. She never missed a dance rehearsal, softball game or choir concert due to work. She made it her priority to be there for everything we did. I hope I can do the same for my daughter.

  16. Shelley
    December 2nd, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    My mom was a working mom – an insurance agent. She even worked weekends sometimes even though it was not required. I remember going to the office with her on the weekends and just having run of the place. Back then I guess it was cool. But now I realize it sucked.

    But it is all about QUALITY not quantity of time.

    I am a working mom and have been ever since my daughter was conceived. When we are home on the weekends, we do fun stuff. I try to get the laundry and un-fun stuff done on the weeknights so the weekends are pretty free. We go to downtown DC and do touristy things a lot, go shopping, the park, etc. I get so happy when her pre-school teacher tells me that she was excited to talk about her weekend and all of the fun stuff we did.

    Being a working mom does not equal being a bad mom.

    I'm a product of daycare and I think I turned out just fine.

  17. *
    December 3rd, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    When I was young my dad was the stay-at-home parent, and my mom worked (works) three jobs. I know a lot of working parents who are still awesome at being parents, so this is not an indictment of you all, but I do feel like I missed out on a lot with my mom. Some of her jobs were overnight shifts, or out-of-state, so she'd be gone for days at a time, not just during the day. Unlike some of the other commenters, my mom missed the vast majority of my concerts/games/etc. It was a huge deal that she made it to my high school and college graduations, and my wedding – as in, it was totally realistic that she might not come.

    Now that I'm pregnant with my first, I have to consider those memories with the reality of our income. I don't think I can afford to stay home full time, even though I desperately want to try (I don't know if I'd be happy doing that, because I haven't tried yet!). I'm hoping that I'll be able to work just part time and be home part time. It seems like a good balance in theory, we'll see if it works out that way!

    My mom always made sure that we had everything we needed, except her. I hope I can strike a better balance, but I'm not willing to judge too harshly before I've had to walk the walk. 🙂

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