The Top Myths (or Lies) About Working Moms

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I am going to just say it out loud and proud:  I LOVE being a working mom.

I am just a regular working mom. I’m not trying to have it all, or buy it all, or climb the corporate ladder. I’m just trying to take care of my family and have a job that I can be proud of while being a mom.

Working moms aren’t fully understood. There are lots of rumors floating out there about working moms so today, I am going to address a few of the more popular myths (or lies) that exist about working moms.

1. We are not good parents. MYTH. There are some purported experts that say you cannot have a successful career and a successful home life at the same time. (Yes, these are people from this century). I guess the first question I would ask these “experts” is how they are defining success? To me, success is found in the fact that you can show up to work, do the job assigned, help run your household, and raise your kids with your partner. Maybe we are not perfect parents, but we are great parents. In fact, I know LOTS of working mothers that do it all and do it well!

2. We have “problem” children. MYTH. Why do kids of working mothers get a bad rap? As a mother who has both worked and stayed home (and coached a soccer team full of kids for the past three years), I have personally experienced a wide range of children and backgrounds. Kids are kids. Some are difficult and some are not. Jumping to the conclusion that kids are problematic because their mother is working is insane. In fact, I would argue the opposite. Sending my kids to daycare was a great opportunity for them to socialize with other kids, stay engaged and learn during the day while having fun.

3. We let someone else raise our children. MYTH.  This is just silly. We are still the ones providing the love, the care, and even the 3 a.m. wake up calls.  Mom and Dad are doing most of the heavy lifting with help from others like day care providers and teachers. It is a team effort.

4We all live “the good life”. MYTH. Sorry, just not true. We don’t have everything we want and we don’t do whatever we want. No one has it all. When we decide to work, it is not without sacrifice. Working mothers are faced with specific challenges, just like any other mom. By deciding to work, a working mother has taken on the challenge of being able to have a career AND a family. So I say to those Proud Working Moms, BRAVO.

5. We only work for money. MYTH. There are many reasons why we work: For finances, for sanity, for purpose, and because we genuinely like it!

These myths are all stupid, right? Did I leave any out? Feel free to add in any that I missed. We are all trying to accomplish the same thing: To become Proud Working Moms. So lets ALL start doing just that!

Don’t be an ASKhole

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While not defined in a traditional dictionary, “ASKhole” pops right up in the Urban Dictionary. You may not be familiar with the term but all Proud Working Moms know this person.

An “ASKhole” is a co-worker who asks you a question or asks for your advice. The Askhole comes into your office, takes up your time batting an idea around and requires time out of your busy day to get valuable information. Once you have given your time and provided valuable assistance to this person, the ASKhole then completely disregards it and continues on to another person to ask the same question. The ASKhole knows no boundaries and doesn’t concern himself with how much of a burden he really is. It is only later in the day or the next day when you find out that not only did the ASKhole ask everyone in your corridor the same question, but he didn’t follow any of the advice given.

I know what you are doing. You are wondering if you are an ASKhole.

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If you are still reading this, you are not an ASKhole. If you were, you would’ve stopped reading this and dismissed it as a waste of your time. That is how ASKholes roll. So, here are a few tips on how to avoid becoming an ASKhole:

1. Make sure you are asking the right person for information. If you are looking for advice on a work issue, find someone at work that knows more than you. CAVEAT: Avoid asking people that will answer the question whether they know the correct answer or not – these are known as “know-it-alls” and are even more problematic than ASKholes (we will address them in a separate post). If you are seeking advice about your personal life, make sure you are asking someone who makes good choices at home. The co-worker that is know for his all night parties and binge drinking is not the person you should be asking.

2. Offer something of value in return. Once you have identified the correct person to ask for information, don’t just barge into their office looking for answers. Offer to buy that person a cup of coffee or take them to lunch and let them know that you need to run something past them. It is the least you can do. A good colleague won’t let you do it and will offer advice for free, but the gesture is nice.

3. Be thoughtful about what to do next. No one says you have to take the advice once it is given. It is nice to let the person know how much you appreciate their time and that you will give some thought to their advice. And then actually do it.

4. Don’t ask everyone in the office. Maybe you didn’t get the answer you wanted. Instead of proceeding down the hallway and asking every other person what they think, take some time and reflect on the advice given. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide what to do. After careful consideration, be a professional and make the call.

 

13 Things You Should NEVER Say to a Working Mother!

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I have been a working mother with three children for a long time. In that time, I have had lots of people ask me questions and give me their unsolicited opinions on many occasions. While most people don’t intend be rude or judgmental, it is always surprising to hear out loud, what some people should keep to themselves

Here is my list of the top things you must NEVER say to a working mom and just for fun, I have included my sarcastic responses (that I have managed to keep to myself):

“I saw your kid on the class trip today. She was crying – I think she missed you.” Thanks, I feel much better for the information.  Anything else you would like to tell me, like about how you think she might not be meeting her milestones, or will be emotionally damaged for life?

“I could never let someone else raise my kids.” Yes, I let others make all the decisions for my children. I have little to do with anything…their parent teacher conferences, birthday parties, homework, doctor appointments, playdates, or offering any sort of parental guidance. Heck, I don’t even hug and kiss them, cuddle them, or have any part in tucking them into bed.  I am never the first face they see in the morning, and I never do anything fun with them like have picnics on our carpet, or watching the same animated movie 100 times. And, I never ask them about their day. Nope, I have nothing to do with my children.

“I don’t know how you do it. I’d feel too guilty.” So….I wrote an entire book about this.  We do feel guilty, but we can feel great too. (Buy my book- that was a shameless plug, I know)

You trust your babysitter, right?” Oh no, I actually never considered her/his credentials. I just put out a job post on craigslist and took the very first applicant based on price. But thanks for making me suspicious!

“Good for you for putting your career first!” Yes, every single day I get up and I think to myself: The most important thing in my life is my career. To hell with my family, that has nothing to do with why I work.

“I’d give anything to get away from my kids for an entire day.” If you really mean this, send me your resume and I can help you out. But remember, this “freedom” comes with its own issues. We are not getting away and going to the spa.  It is called “work” for a reason.

“I’d miss my child too much to be away from him all day.” Well, I have no idea how you feel because I am an impersonal and non-maternal mother.  I have no feelings and never miss my kids. 

 “I don’t know how you do it. It must be so hard.” It is. I don’t know how I do it. But I don’t think work is the problem because parenting is hard whether you stay at home or go off to the office. I don’t know how any of us do it. It’s glorious and rewarding and full of love and it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

“You must be so organized to be able to balance everything.” I love this and hate it at the same time. I think I am organized and I do think I accomplish a lot during a week’s time. But I also know I am one parent teacher conference away from a full melt down (like all moms working inside or outside the home).  Last week, Parker went to school and brought his toothbrush to show and tell. I have runs in my panty hose, and I never write thank you cards for my children’s birthday presents. I don’t exercise as often as I should and EVERY DAY something slides. There really is no “balance” just organized chaos. I am no different than anyone else.

“You look exhausted.” Wow, thanks! I feel even better now! Want to watch my kids this weekend so I can hit the spa, get a manicure, and sleep in?  No? Then let’s not say this to a working mom.

 “There’s always time to work later, these early years are so precious.” Why oh why is this NEVER said to fathers? I actually get many special moments with my kids. When Parker climbs into my bed and tells me “I am the best mommy in the whole world”, or when Emily smiles and says “I love you”, those are all special moments and I cherish them all.

 “Aren’t you concerned about not being there for your kids?” Just because I am at work does not mean I am not “there” for my kids.  Please get some perspective.

 “I’m surprised you went back to work. Your husband seems so successful.” Why would you assume that you know why I am working? Some women LIKE to work outside the home and I am sorry you are not one of them. 

Here is what we SHOULD say:

The questions and words should not be filled with judgment but with support.  After all, we are all mothers, we all adore our children and we all want what’s best for them. We are all doing what we have to do for our families and we are all different. So, let’s give each other support and understanding no matter if we stay home, work from home, work outside the home or somewhere in between.

 


photo credit: ktpupp via photopin cc

Why Girlfriends Are Better Than Husbands

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Don’t get me wrong, husbands (and partners) are great. We love them and bla, bla, bla. But don’t ever forget your girlfriends and how crucial they are to your success (and survival). Here is our latest Top 10 list~

Why Girlfriends Are Better Than Husbands:

1. It is more fun to play “My Husband Is Dumber Than Your Husband” with your girlfriends (husbands don’t find it as funny). You know this game. It is where you sit around with your girlfriends, preferably with a glass of wine, and complain about the latest dumb-ass thing your husband said or did.

2. As girlfriends, we are all in this together. There is something about the experience of having children (and surviving) that my husband just doesn’t get. Husband’s don’t get as big as a house when pregnant, they didn’t poop on the table while giving birth (true story), they didn’t have to breastfeed in public. WE are the ones that got up every two hours to feed the baby, WE are the ones that struggle with our decisions regarding work (to work or not to work or work from home). WE are all part of the same club. The “Mommy Club”.

Note to self: Still need to come up with that secret handshake.

3. A girlfriend understands that you just want to sleep alone. All nightWithout being disturbed by poke, poke, poke. (Yep, it is exactly what you think).

4. Girlfriends won’t cheat on you or divorce you.

5. A girlfriend actually cares if you are sick or not feeling well. They understand the implications. When a working mother is sick, we have a house full of people that don’t care but still want dinner and clean laundry. Working mothers also have a boss that doesn’t care if you are sick and still wants you to work on time.

6. Girlfriends are the only ones in this world that will tell you if those jeans make your ass look huge.

7. Girlfriends are easy to communicate with because they speak ENGLISH. Most husbands communicate in a language called Huuuhhhnnmmmm?

8. Two words: Chick flicks.

9. A good girlfriend will drive an hour out of the way to get a milkshake with you at that one spot you have been craving all week (because you are both on your periods at the same time…twinsies).

10. Your girlfriends will probably outlive your husband, so make sure you pick some great ones!

My Confidence Is Gone

My Confidence Is GoneI am told that you should not tie your self-worth to being employed. That your job is not what gives you meaning or purpose. It is your family, your friendships, and everything you do that gives you your true sense of belonging and value.

What a load of shit.

I was recently “downsized” from my job. I was a manager of a 100 person customer service team and I held this position for 15 years. I was good at it, great in fact. I always thought I would work here until I retired. They would throw a big party with a cake, balloons and lots of well wishes.

Instead, last week, I was brought in front of my new manager (who is 15 years younger and has only been with our office for six months) and told while they appreciate all of the years of service, they are “making changes”.

Apparently I am not part of those changes.

In a completely humiliating turn of events, I was offered the typical cardboard box and given 10 minutes to collect my things before being escorted out of the building. No goodbyes to all of the people I have spent my days with, whom I consider to be my family. There were no explanations and certainly no party. I am embarrassed and I feel like a failure.

Despite not having a job, I still wake up every morning at 6 and for some unknown reason, continue to get dressed for work with nowhere to go. I try to sleep in, organize my home, play with my kids, and had even planned on getting involved with the fucking PTO. For the first time, I have the time to do all of these things. All I want to do is go back to work. I miss the challenge. I miss my friends. I am lost without working.

Deep down, I know things will work out. I am a resilient woman, but this one hurt. Right now, I am just sad. I am sad that I don’t have a job and I am sad that my identity is completely tied up in this job. I don’t know who I am right now.

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