Our roles as mothers
I saw a movie not too long ago that I swear was written just for me. The movie starred Sarah Jessica Parker as a mover and shaker in the financial industry with two kids and a loving husband, and it was called “I Don’t Know How She Does It”. While I am not an executive in the world of finance, I have always been a working mom. My work has always defined me, and I have always loved working. There is one scene in the film when the nanny has taken the 2-year-old for his first haircut. The nanny was trying to help, since the child’s hair was in his eyes. Parker’s character was distraught — she didn’t want to offend the nanny by making an issue, but she also missed her son’s first haircut. As she was walking down the stairs of her brownstone, she began weeping about what was lost … I felt that pain. I felt the conflict of doing what you love on one hand and doing what you love on the other.
We make many sacrifices as women in this world, and then throw kids into that, along with working, or not working, and it’s the mom’s needs that take a back seat. We’ve all heard the quips of new mom’s lack of time to shower, eat or even exercise. I swear the cure for losing baby weight is sleep deprivation. I breast-fed both of my children and the weight did not peel off like everyone says it does. That is a bunch of malarkey! I just never had time to eat because if I wasn’t feeding my kids, I was working or trying to sleep.
Like it or not, being a mother is the truest form of sacrifice. We sacrifice sleep, clothes, shoes, vacations, even taking a shower with no one coming into the bathroom to ask a question. I question why we are called mommy — the “me” in that word is absolutely missing. I guess the “me” is referring to whoever is using it …
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I was at a conference a few years ago in Nashville. It was a leadership and management program designed for women in the radio industry. What I discovered did not have to do with what kind of manager I wanted to be, or how to break through the glass ceiling; the overwhelming piece I got out of it was how very conflicted I feel as a working mother. I felt so at home amongst these incredible women. I found my mojo in an environment of motivated, challenging and inspiring working women who are making big differences in their careers. I was speaking my language. I was dreaming of big titles and big salaries. I was dreaming of suits and heels, traveling for business, brokering big deals … and that was on one hand.
On the other hand, I missed my kids. Negotiating who won that argument, managing our schedules, reading stories to their classes, speaking their language. I have had the big time corporate jobs. I lived in New York City as an “executive” for nine amazing years. I loved working and loved the stress and loved the craziness of it all. But there is always that other hand — my kids. My life is about my kids. And that is the deal we make as mom’s.
And that is regardless of whether you are a CEO of a major company, a manager, an executive, a business owner, stay-at-home or unemployed. It is in our DNA as mom’s to sacrifice so much of ourselves for our kids. It’s not martyrdom. It’s “mommydom.”
The point is, the working mom, stay-at-home mom or just plain old mom — we are all making the same sacrifices. We are all dealing with the same conflicts in ourselves. We are all giving everything that we have just to get to where we are each day. More than likely we all felt like having a temper tantrum about what jacket to put on before we got in the car ourselves … but didn’t. We are mothers. But let’s not forget to be friends. Let’s not be critical of the choices we make as women first, mom’s second. Let’s be good to each other. We already sacrifice enough.
Gabrie Higbie is the publisher of http://www.valleygirlmag.com, where you can go for more articles like this. Valley Girl Mag is dedicated to smart, irreverent women living in mountain towns.