Mom as a Job

I’ve thought a ton recently about the balance of being a mom and having a career.

There’s no doubt that being a mom is a job. It is all-consuming and to be done well, requires thought, planning, skill and the physical ability to smile every second your baby is awake. Someone sent me an advice column article that describes what full-time moms (and I would argue dads) do all day. One line in particular stuck with me: “It’s constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.” (I used to love reading advice columns … part of my previous life.)

I love being with my daughter: she gets cuter by the day. Seriously! For me, I went through hard work to bring her into this world and I want a large part in raising her.

Then I think about the thousands of dollars and six years spent on two degrees, and years building a name for myself in the field of education policy and programs. I enjoy working with passionate people like me who want to improve education for all children, especially those who have the least means. I like thinking about how to solve big problems, and then help implement the solutions.

At times it feels like it’s the 1950s in my household: I believe that it’s one of my priorities to support my husband in his role as breadwinner. That means taking care of the household, in addition to my daughter. So my needs are often squished for what I think is the best for my family unit.

But I always knew I’d return to work in some capacity once Bean was older than a newborn. Now that she’s six months, I’m itching to balance being a mom and having my career. That’s why I created my own consulting practice before baby, to lay the groundwork. It’s time to pick up the steam!

So what am I going to do? Here are few things I’ve targeted as goals:

  • Attend a one-day conference about how moms can make work and motherhood work. I am going to wear pants that button and not have elastic at the waist, and network with like-minded women.
  • Keep writing this blog. I want to continue honing my writing skills, and show potential-clients what I can do with words.
  • Engage with new people in the areas of outdoor and music education. I want to help kids have fun while learning, and I think using music and nature are the way to go. This is the piece I am least clear on but most passionate about.

This month I’ve done two new things to foster my career and creativity: I entered contests that helped me practice my skills and may get me exposure to new audiences. I wrote an essay for the Real Simple Magazine Life Lessons contest, and today I entered four photos into Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ Juried Exhibition of Nature Photography. See my Gallery for the photos I entered.

I am one of those women who just want everything – the whole enchilada. My daughter will grow up to see a hard-working mom and career woman, who values the people in her family and works to make the world a better place.

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12 thoughts on “Mom as a Job

  1. You certainly want to do everything. I still can’t wrap my head around what you get accomplished every day. I think you are practicing magic and stopping time so it only appears that what a normal person would take a whole day to complete you do it in an hour. I am glad you are on my team!!! The pictures really are good. You are certainly progressing as a photographer.

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  2. So while I admire your drive and courage, I guess the grass is always greener. I only work part time, but I find it to be very stressful trying to balance my drive at work with my desire to see my son grow up and to take care of my family and my home. I would love to be a full-time mom because I’m afraid that I’m compromising or sacrificing something on the family side unknowingly because I have too many balls in the air. Maybe I’m just not a good multitasker. But back to you…Bean will have a wonderful role model no matter what you have going on. You’re a great mom!

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    • Well that’s a good cautionary note for me, Joy. Perhaps I’ll never feel like I’ve got the perfect balance going. We’ll see how it all shakes out. Thanks for the encouragement! I know you’re a great mom, too, to your little guy!

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  3. I admire you for being both a mom and a career minded woman. I am not sure if or how work will play out for me in the future. But I feel guilty for pursuing my own interests. I guess that is how many moms feel. Good thing there are great moms like you around to talk to about these issues!

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    • I think in the area where we live, this is one of the biggest issues for moms. Every mom I know has at least a college degree, and many have masters. Yet we are choosing to be large parts of our kids’ lives, even if our careers temporarily suffer.

      I suppose sometimes I can recognize the “guilt” in pursuing my own interests – but right now my biggest interest is a little baby who takes up 95 percent of my energy daily. So while it’s perhaps indulgent to be a full-time mom with respect to my interests, it’s not like I’ve got all this free time to work on my hobbies.

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  4. I just discovered Mompetition, thanks to this blog post! I was laughing like crazy…so hysterical! The crazy thing is that conversation really happens, maybe not all in one conversation, but in pieces! Thank you for making me smile tonight!!

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      • Have you watched some of the others?? I never heard of Mompetition, I’m hooked! Two of my other favs are “It Could Happen” and “We’re All Wieners” – this is a new “time vampire” for me, as a friend of mine so creatively called this kind of thing! OH well, gotta keep on laughing.

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