Posted by LaurenKelly | Posted in Working Mommy | Posted on 04-03-2012
I’m sure you can relate. Being a mom, my life is full of things I have to do, in order to get to do the things I want to do. I have been looking forward to introducing myself to everyone as the new Working Mommy blogger and can’t wait to get down to it. But, right this moment, I have 30 minutes before I have to pump more breast milk for my 9 month old daughter, and my 3 year old son is shooting me in the face with his Star Wars “blaster”. Why didn’t I spend this lovely Saturday’s successful 2 hour naptime to begin my blogging journey uninterrupted and without boobs that are sending electric shock signals that they are ready to roll? That’s because during naptime, well, I wanted to nap.
Okay, so good news, my son has moved on to pretending he is a ninja, and my boobs can wait. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the new Working Mommy, though to be clear, all moms are working moms – hard working at that. I also have a few other gigs that are away from my kids. I work full time as the Operations and Human Resources Manager at a nonprofit foundation in San Mateo. I’ve worked with this organization for nearly 7 years and absolutely love it. Most recently, I have had the privilege of helping to lead the start-up and transition strategy for a new nonprofit organization we’ve created to expand on the work we have already been doing to get underserved youth connected with the outdoors. So basically, I have an awesome job – which makes me lucky. At least when I have to leave my kids, it’s to do something I believe in. I also work part-time (for free), managing the business operations of my husband’s construction business. Most of this work happens at night, on the weekends, or anywhere else in between. So also, I’m ridiculously tired. But these are the things I have to do, in order to provide the life I want to give to my children.
I know I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, mother to have forged her way through the professional world. I personally come from a generation of moms who work(ed) outside the home. My grandmother, who is now 88, had to work outside the home in the 1950’s while also raising four little girls. At that time, it was essentially unheard of to have a mom with a job. And such circumstances signaled certain economic challenges to those who made judgment calls about the class of one family or another. But man, my grandma is seriously cool. In 1943, she abandoned her own dreams of graduating college to get married before my grandfather was sent off to war. Eventually, my grandparents had a family, and my grandma stepped up to help pay the bills since my grandpa was also working two or three jobs. Although my grandma spent the majority of her life being a fantastic mom, she never forgot she was also an individual. Forty years later, my grandma went back to college to follow-through on her dreams and received an undergraduate degree when she was 58 years old. My grandma rubbed off on my own mom big time. She was originally a stay-at-home mom, but eventually went back to school to earn a certificate as a paralegal and returned to work full time to, you guessed it, help pay the bills. My mom continues to work in this profession more than 20 years later, and is now the sole bread winner in her household as she cares for my father who is disabled and retired.
I do strongly believe that expectations of moms have increased exponentially with each generation. We are expected to be here, there, and everywhere. We are expected to do more, in a shorter amount of time, and with much higher quality. And still, we put expectations on ourselves to take on the brunt of the parental and household management duties, despite the fact that we are working just as hard as our partners outside the home. It’s just in our blood to do so!
As we all juggle together, I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences with you from the perspective of a woman, mother, and professional. Specifically, I want to relate to you all from a place of shared experiences. I have navigated my way through maternity leave and back (twice). I have pioneered the creation of a flexible work schedule for myself and other mom’s with whom I work. I have gone through the stress and anxiety of searching for a daycare provider to take care of my kids for 45 hours a week while I work. I have had to leave work in the middle of an important meeting to pick up a sick kid (too many times to count!). I have been up all night with a crying baby and then trudged my way through a board meeting the next day. I have pumped breast milk in my office conference room, office bathroom, janitor’s closet, and my co-worker’s car on the way to a meeting. And I bet you have too. So let’s do this together and support one another. Because who couldn’t use an extra hand, or three?