I’ve always been a working mother.
I’ve just, well, always WORKED. I’ve never had the luxury of staying home full-time.
When the boys were very little I never even entertained the idea of staying home with them. Financially we couldn’t anyway, but at that time it was more about the fact that my career was my IDENTITY. I mean, I interviewed celebrities for a living! Seriously. My parents joked that I got PAID to go to parties and concerts. And they were right. My job as bureau chief of Sony Worldwide Networks was essentially to run around the music industry interviewing the Tim McGraws and Shania Twains of the world, talk with them about their latest accomplishments, then head back to the studio and create news stories for radio stations across the country.
Not a bad gig. Was a little challenging on the diet, but overall I wasn’t complaining. You know? (Besides, McGraw was kinda hot and I was diggin’ the free alcohol.)
But the music industry was no place for a young family. And so my husband and I had to make the first of many tough decisions.
So we moved up North to be closer to the family and times got tougher. I almost had to begin fresh. It is a bit hard to translate such an over-the-top job into living-in-the-real-world work (What do you mean, I have no real world experience? Willie Nelson offered me a joint! Doesn’t that count for anything?) that pays well. Especially since I ended up at a non-profit. Not the most brilliant career move, salary wise, but I had a passion for the work and I was close to the kid’s school. My boys loved it there though. (Okay. They were spoiled. I admit it. They were mini-gangstas and it was their ‘hood.)
When it comes to work, I have moved around a bit since that time, giving up opportunities here, finding my own opportunities there and overall working hard to try to find the perfect balance of family, money and career fulfillment. Not nearly as easy as it sounds! (Can I get a holla?) Jobs might present themselves but they would be hours away and completely un-doable for our schedule. (Is that even a word? Un-doable? Did I just make that up?)
It is through these experiences that I have come to realize that it is not about the job or how cool it sounds or the deadlines. (Because in my field, there are always looming deadlines.) It is about how I choose to react to the situations that are presented to me. As good as the job might be, I have to always take my family into consideration when making a decision.
Not to mention all of those Murphy’s Law “mom moments.” I can’t tell you how many times I have been perfectly pulled together for a board meeting and suddenly had a kid spill chocolate milk on my white blouse. Or worse – being hit by a projectile potty accident from a training toddler. (shudder) To this day my little ones still manage to put me back in my place when I am feeling a tad over confident. I think it is God’s way of making sure that realize that I don’t have any REAL control over my life. Just in case I happen to have any illusions to the contrary.
It is in those uncontrollable moments, when I have been hit in the leg with projectile urine or I reach into my purse and pull out mysterious green slime, that I laugh at how far I have come. Yeah, maybe I used to interview celebrities and stay in ritzy hotels, but it is how I deal with the real life “mom moments,” that define me. And I wouldn’t trade that opportunity for all the back stage passes in the world.