A Working Mom
Many years ago I found out I was to be a mother – 26 years ago, to be exact. I was nervous but this had been something I had always wanted. Being a 23-year old, I thought I was prepared for this new job, my next endeavor. After all, I had several younger siblings who I babysat often and I starting earning a paycheck at twelve, I took in ironing – so I was familiar with the notion of work.
I figured Motherhood was just another step in my life progression.
I never even thought about my work or that I should give up on, ultimately, a lifetime of work outside of my home. I assumed motherhood would coincide nicely with my desire to continue to develop as an adult – my personal growth as a human – my quest for the perfect career. Motherhood was something I could achieve as a wife, as a woman. Not something that would encompass my life. I never considered that it was my sole purpose as a woman. It was just a part of my “life” package.
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As I moved along in my pregnancy and my body changed – I visited my doctor monthly and prepared myself and my home for this new little member of the family. I worked full-time as a dental assistant and took extreme caution when I snapped dental x-rays or when I was exposed to alloys containing mercury. I worked a second job, too – part-time for a friend who did custom embroidery and applique on bowling shirts and uniforms. Additionally, we created designer t-shirts and sweatshirts – very big in the 80s. I learned how to applique and cleaned a significant amount of patterns. I worked at the dental office until two weeks before my due date and then increased my hours at my part-time gig until I was to be delivered.
One morning, I showed up to work about 10 minutes late. As I slowly climbed the stairs to the sewing room, I called out to my boss, “I may not be able to stay very long today. I think I am in labor…” She appeared at the top of the stairs before I finished my ascent. Her eyes big and panting , “What do you mean you think you are in labor? Why are you even here? Where is your husband?” The questions came fast and furious… I stayed and worked for about an hour, called the OB GYN and my husband and then my boss/friend happily drove me to the hospital – just under 50 years old, she had never had children and was excited to be a part of it all. 6 hours after checking into Labor & Delivery, my first baby girl, Nicole Marie, was born weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs 7 ozs. Never once during those very long months and the ensuing labor and pushes, did I ever consider that I would no longer be able to work outside of my home. As a matter of fact, the births of my children actually fueled the fires of my desire to excel and learn as much as I could. After each delivery, I was back to work within two weeks.
I thought we had progressed.
I am dumbfounded by the reaction and response to Marissa Mayer’s New Job / New Baby announcement. Especially given her industry, her background, her wealth, and her obvious prowess and brains. If someone had said to me, “You can’t work and also be a mother,” I probably would have cocked my head slightly to the right and asked “What??” while my fists were clenching.
I love being a mother.
I love working.
Why should I select one over the other? Why do I have to? Maybe I didn’t make the best choices throughout my life, but I always loved my children and made sure they had food on the table & shoes on their feet. And so far, they are all four contributing members to society and generally happy, well-adjusted individuals, the youngest being 15, the oldest at 25. And I gave my all to each job I held, devoted and loyal.
I hope we have progressed.
Why has the media jumped on this? Ms. Mayer works – she works hard. She is 37-years old and has progressed to a fantastic place in her life and career. She isn’t on government aid, she knows who the father is, and she will have help, should she need it. Why is there a desire, today, to even raise a question of her ability and why is it anyone’s business?
I guess we haven’t progressed.
In a day and age when 65% of all college graduates are women (Yay!) but 1 in 7 Working-Age Adults are on food stamps, is this type of media frenzy necessary? “Can Ms. Mayer be a Mom and Work?” Shouldn’t the media concern itself with continued high unemployment rates and the fact that graduating students either can’t get jobs or are underemployed?
This isn’t the good old boys network anymore. The number of female CEOs in on the rise and given the college graduate numbers, it will continue to rise. Imagine what the CEO ratio will be in 10 years. If this is responsible reporting and questioning, I abhor the media – and I am part of it, considering my role in small business and the amount of online writing I contribute for my industry…
I wish only the best for Marissa Mayer, knowing she will succeed just like the millions of other working moms out there, like myself, who rush to get their kids to daycare or school, before they step into their places of employment or home offices. Grow up, American Media. Working Moms already have.
Rayanne Thorn, @ray_anne is the Marketing Director for online recruiting software company, Broadbean Technology. She is also a proud mother of four, happily engaged to Tom, residing in Laguna Beach, California, and a daily contributor for Blogging4Jobs. Connect with her on LinkedIn.