I was just reading Devon Corneal’s blog on Huffingtonpost.com about what not to say to a working mom. (Here’s the link – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devon-corneal/what-not-to-say-to-a-working-mom_b_2566952.html) Its incredible to me that in 2013 women have to defend their decision to return to work after having kids! Kinda like what not to say to a pregnant lady – working moms can be just as vulnerable when hit below the belt with the judge-y comments hurled at them by other moms.
Heading back to the workforce is a really hard thing to do. At the end of the blessed mat leave, Mom’s returning to the office are torn. Hormones are still supercharged still, the work clothes only kinda fit and your sweet little bundle has been left in the care of some stranger! The last thing anyone needs is some jackass SuperMom judging the choice to re-enter the work force.
DISCLAIMER: Just so we’re clear before people start tearing my head off in the comments section – this post is NOT targeting Mom’s who make the choice of full time parenting. I applaud those parents for their choice and respect (and even envy) their position. This post is about those blabbermouth know-it-alls that give working mom’s grief for choosing careers over staying at home with the kids.
When Shorty #1 hit the one year mark, I had to extricate myself out of the sweatpants and back into my heels. IT SUCKED! Big time. I cried and cried. The hunt for childcare was horrendous (THAT is a whole other post) and I was a wreck leaving her every day. But then, once I was well back in the swing, the hormones had balanced and my good jeans were just starting to fit again – it hit me. I was sitting on a plane waiting to fly somewhere to meet up with a client on tour, beating myself up for leaving Shorty and J. In a this moment of self-flagellation, it suddenly all came together; I have to do my job. Its an important part of who I am and leaving the job I’ve wanted to do since I was 12 years old would actually be a disservice to my kids. By doing the job I loved, I was showing Shorty #1 (and eventually Shorty #2) that a woman CAN do whatever she wants to do, she can be whatever she wants to be. And I haven’t looked back since… until we started school and I met the SUPERMOM.
SU-PER-MOM – n. informal – A Mom who does not work outside of the home, who bakes proficiently and volunteers incessantly while at the same time judges all other Moms for their short-comings, life choices and perceived failings.
SUPERMOMS are a whole new breed compared to the Daycare Moms I had encountered in the past. Daycare Moms share sympathetic smiles at drop-off time, nodding in solidarity at the peanut butter on your lapel or the fact that you forgot the kid’s lunch. Some SUPERMOMS can be equally as sympathetic and cool as the Daycare Moms – but always in every class there is one SUPERMOM who wears the badge of SuperMomdom like no one else! She breezes in with her little one. She doesn’t worry about forgetting lunch, why Junior eats lunch at home everyday. She says things like “Are you staying for carpet time? Oh right, you have to go to work.” She invites you to midday playdates and when you decline says “Oh right, you have to work.” The SUPERMOM scares the sh*& out of me with her ability to make cupcakes, host a party and write up a whole class of Valentines in one fell swoop.
SUPERMOMS also stick together. I see their sideways glances as I drop off the Shorties with my phone in hand and a conference call waiting. I hear their asides – judging Working Moms for choosing careers over kids. One time was much like being back in High School. I was with Shorty at the playground after one midday preschool pick-up. The SUPERMOMS were huddled on the other side of the jungle gym and were talking loudly about their maternity leaves and plans to stay at home. One SUPERMOM was recounting a story about a former co-worker who had negotiated the ability to work from home on certain days to be home with her kids, “Can you believe it? She is so selfish and our boss always gives her whatever she wants!” I was shocked. These SUPERMOMS knew me and they knew that I was currently working from home so I could continue to nurse Shorty #2. Me and the SUPERMOMS weren’t really friends after that.
Its a juggle managing everything for sure, but all Moms are juggling no matter what their career path holds. Its the expectation for Moms to be June Cleaver and Hillary Clinton that makes it so hard. Loving our kids and living our lives as an example is all we can do!