Being A Working Mom Isn’t An Option

For me, being a working mom isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. Growing up, my mom just…worked. It’s that simple. Whether she was working as a nurse or as a realtor, she had responsibilities that extended outside our home.

I may have been the center of her world, but I wasn’t her entire universe. I am not only eternally grateful but plan to raise my children the same way.

As a little girl, I would watch my mom get dressed up for an appointment and listen as she negotiated with other realtors over the phone. I was jealous of her fancy lipsticks and high heels, and I couldn’t wait to have a busy job just like hers. I knew she was important, and I was impressed.

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I remember one afternoon in fourth grade when our classroom had a parent volunteer come in for a Junior Achievement-style workshop. When she walked in, the class hushed immediately. My mom commanded the room with her warmth and her knowledge, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so captivated. She wasn’t justanother classroom volunteer… she was TEACHING us about BUSINESS. My mom, the same one who packed my lunch and ironed my school uniforms, knew all of this STUFF. Whoa!

As my husband and I started discussing how we want to raise our future children, we’ve talked about either of us being stay-at-home parents, both for the sake of our children and to save on childcare costs…. But it just isn’t for us. I want my kids to look up to me like I looked up to my parents, and I want them to realize that, while they will be the very most important people in both of our lives, our lives can’t—and shouldn’t—revolve completely around them.

Above all else, I want my children to be flexible, adaptable, independent, and street smart. I want my future daughter(s) and son(s) to have a successful woman—and man—to look up to, just like I did. I’d hardly call myself a feminist, but I feel so passionately about teaching my daughter to be as career-focused and motivated as my son. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want my children to look at me the way I looked at my mom 16 years ago.

But being a working mom isn’t just to teach my kids about self-sufficiency. It’s about giving myself another passion, besides my children. Someday, they won’t need me, and that has to be okay. I can’t imagine what it feels like to have your children “fly the coop”—never mind if you’ve been home with them for the past 18 years. I imagine it must feel like you’ve been suddenly laid off after putting your blood, sweat, and tears into the same company for two decades…but with many times the emotional impact.

Working is my way to make sure that I stay relevant in my field, challenged as a writer, contribute to our bills, and work towards retirement with my husband, while being (I hope) a loving, attentive mom to strong and unique little humans.

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