The following article was co-written by myself and the amazing JennyMac. This was the first time I have ever co-written a blog post and I am so proud of the way it turned out. Everyone knows how much I admire JennyMac…
Recently, we read an article about women and motherhood. One interesting comment included in the reader feedback was that once we become mothers, our children come first before everything else.
As mothers, we had some interesting dialogue about this exact sentiment. Within our social circles are women who are mothers and women who are not. Amongst our “mom” circles, our friends and colleagues are not simply “stay at home moms” or “working moms.” We know we are all working moms. We are either moms who work inside the home or moms who work inside and outside the home.
If you have not stayed home all day with children planning meals, learning, playtime, exercise (for hopes of naptime) and teaching words, songs, states and manners, we can assure you it does not fit into a one hour shell and the rest of the time your kiddos do not take care of themselves while you blog on your computer in between Days of our Lives and your 30 Day Shred. And if you spend most of your daylight hours working outside the home, you come home and in the small space of time before bedtime, you need to incorporate as many of the above items in between checking your Blackberry and deciding who is making dinner. We know. We have both been moms who work at home and moms who work both inside and outside the home.
And with all of the goals we create for ourselves as moms, where do our personal priorities fall once we add “Parent” to our resume? Should our children always come before ourselves? Do we stop dreaming just because we have children? Or do we dream but not act on those dreams?
We admire women that chase after a dream such as starting their own business or establishing themselves as entrepreneurs all in the midst of raising a family. Would it be fair to judge these women who clearly have paved a path for themselves? Are women who climb the corporate ladder and really establish themselves in their career doing that in exchange of or in addition to being a ‘good’ mom?
As long as these women are clearly present in their children’s lives and raise happy, healthy kids – why should it matter?
Theta Mom shares this: A dear friend of mine is the principal of an elementary school. Her dream was to become an administrator and now she is living that dream while raising three kids. My sister-in law is another perfect example of a woman who established herself in her position while balancing the demands of raising a family. She has climbed the corporate ladder and worked extremely hard to get where she is. She’s earned it, she deserves it and if you ask her children they wouldn’t want it any other way.
JennyMac shares this: While in college, my mom opened her own business which grew into an incredibly successful company. Watching her in action provided several great lessons that are still part of my business acumen today. And she still made the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten. To me, it was proof that I could execute both roles, and do them well if that was what I chose.
And every day, many high profile female lawyers, doctors, all well educated and trained women leave it all behind to raise their children. This is a conscious decision made by these women and the reasons for staying home clearly outweigh the reasons for pursuing their careers for them. It takes a lot of guts to leave a high paying job with fabulous opportunities behind as well as all of the hard work, time, money and education that went into achieving these positions. And we know women who are simply putting a hold on some of their pursuits while they stay home right now. Several friends have gone back to work and continued their career choices once their kids started school. It is all about making it work for you and your family. But how do you decide?
Theta Mom shares this: I don’t care whether you work outside the home, are a WAHM or a SAHM, I don’t think anyone has it any easier. There are positives and negatives to each of these roles. I worked full-time beginning when my son was 11 months-old with a 3 hour commute and it was brutal getting out in the morning with my infant boy, commuting, working a full day and then trying to find a way to spend some quality family time as well as get everything done. For me, I was unable to keep up with this lifestyle. I’m truly blessed to have found a way to use my graduate degree and work from home, still pursuing my passion while raising my children. But that doesn’t mean women who choose to work outside the home should be looked upon as any less of a mom or as a mom that it too into herself or her career – some women HAVE to work in order to put food on the table and I am certainly one of them.
JennyMac shares this: I took a year off when we had MiniMac. I left a high profile attorney position with a Fortune 15 company. I dedicated that year off of the corporate treadmill to learning to be a mom. And I loved it. But after one year, I wanted to reengage in the corporate sector. And I am glad I returned. For me, working is a great way to continue to hone my skills, pursue my interests, and my free time outside of work is focused on self growth, my family, and my dreams. And I do have dreams. What kind of example would I be if I didn’t? And they are not just gauzy dreams as I watch clouds float by. My dreams are things I am pursuing every day.
But we both know this: Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Period.
And we are just two examples that your road to success and happiness and being a great role model for your children are not separate forks. We think we should continue to dream big and do what works for us as individuals AND mothers – isn’t this the message we want to send to our children, especially our daughters? This is comprised of what we learned as children and what we continue to learn as women and parents.
But we know it is a full time balancing act. We want to raise smart, well defined, kind, ambitious young people and we are the first examples of this our children will see. How do all of us find the balance between self and parent? And how do we answer the question: Are we women or mothers first?