9 Reasons I Am Thankful To Be a Working Mother

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I have been working for a long time, but when I became a mom, just like you, I transformed from working woman to working mother. Everything changed: values, priorities, and the time available for both.

Proud Working Mom is dedicated to living this dual path without guilt and providing inspiration, empowerment, and information. It’s also an honest and sometimes twisted look at our reality.

But that’s what makes it cool.

This time of year I find myself thinking of all the things that I am thankful for. Number one on that list is my family. Following that, I could come up with an infinite number of reasons why I am thankful to be a mother. This post is different because it  highlights the reasons I am thankful to be a working mother.

At Proud Working Mom, we believe that working motherhood is a good thing for ourselves and our family. Here are 9 reasons why I am thankful:

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Holidays With Family ~ A Survival Guide

images-1It is easy to picture the perfect holiday. In my mind, I see snow lightly covering the ground, the smell of Christmas cookies in the air, family stopping by dressed up in warm sweaters bearing shiny gifts and lots of holiday laughter and hugs. You can almost feel the love.

This is what the holiday season looks like in the movies. This is why everyone, everywhere can’t wait for the holidays to arrive. We all have the best intentions. But it never turns out that way.

Instead, it looks like this:

~You are trying to finish your work AND shop for the 25 relatives that you will see over Christmas. You have no idea what to get any of them. That is what gift cards are for. This is also why most stores stay open until midnight.

~Once again, you have volunteered to make Grandma’s famous stuffing. It is only a 15-step recipe that no one will even eat. But it is tradition, so hop to it! Make sure you stop at 4 different specialty shops to locate all the ingredients (that no one will eat) and remember not to burn it or you will have to start all over again (and you might burst into tears…I mean, I have heard that it can happen).

~You have gained 5 pounds despite all the running around because you have been slamming Venti Starbucks Mochas every 3 hours. It is the only thing that will keep you focused and awake. And you have been adding in a little treat every time, just to keep your energy up (and you totally deserve it).

~Trying to remember where you have hidden all the presents. ALL of them. You can’t put them all in one place because the kids will find them and if you spread them out, then some will be lost until summer.

~Cleaning the house…all of it. When you have the family over, it is so important that you have all the decorations up and the house is spotless because this is totally what your house looks like all the time. You know that if it is not perfect, people are going to talk shit about you. So, skip the sleep and get to work. Don’t forget to yell at your kids to keep the house spotless and this is about the time that you start threatening to take away Christmas presents and/or call Santa. *Important* Do not throw down the Santa card too early in the game. Wait until just before Christmas or it won’t work!

~Don’t forget to get that fucking holiday card in the mail. Seriously, if you don’t get an adorable picture of your kids out to the entire world, your Mom card may be revoked. And remember that it is always your job to do this. If you don’t, people will talk shit about you.

~Holiday cheer. Its funny how once the entire family gets together, everyone over the age of 21 starts drinking. I swear every year I will drink less, but as the holiday season approaches, I am stopping at the liquor store more and more often.

~Don’t wrap and drink. Seriously, if you are drinking and wrapping presents, things can go wrong. You will give the wrong gift to the wrong kid, the paper will look terrible, or you won’t remember what gift you have wrapped for whom.

Listen, Proud Working Mom, we are friends so lets make a promise to each other. This season, lets all vow to be more realistic with our expectations. Lets buy less, sleep more, and remember the reason for the season. Maybe if we all lower our expectations and just enjoy being with family, then we can make it through the next 2 months without losing our minds.

Hahaha, just kidding. Make sure you have lots of ‘holiday cheer’ handy and buckle up, its going to be a bumpy ride!

 

10 Reasons I Am Thankful For My Girlfriends

images-2As women, we all have friends who are girls. Growing up, these female relationships are important. When you become a mother, whether you are working or not, these female relationships become critical!

I am lucky to have lived several places and have girlfriends all over the country that I consider very important to my daily survival. Some have been friends since childhood and have endured my tumultuous path. Others I have met more recently and help me navigate the path of working motherhood.

I know one thing for certain: Without these girlfriends (and you all know who you are), I would be sunk. I would be in the fetal position under my bed, crying my eyes out because I just can’t take another minute of it. You know, ‘it’. I mean working, working with kids, motherhood, marriage, families, kids, sports and kids, and all the other things that we deal with everyday.

It is November, and I am feeling thankful. So here are the 10 Reasons I Am Thankful For My Girlfriends:

1. I am thankful that my girlfriends will listen to my crazy ideas. I can always bounce an idea off my girlfriends to make sure it passes the “crazy bitch” test. Sometimes, in my head, an idea sound good but the minute I say it out loud, I sound like a crazy bitch!

2. I am thankful that my girlfriends will always support my purchase of shoes or handbags.

3. After a fight with my husband, a good girlfriend will NEVER take his side (even if occasionally he is right and I was being a crazy bitch).

4. I am thankful that when I am ready to give up, when I am having a rotten day, my girlfriend will meet me for lunch or a drink, just to cheer me up. On days when we can’t get away, a simple text sure does help.

5. When I am having a great day, a good girlfriend will help you ride the wave.

6. I am thankful that when one of my girlfriends comes to visit my house, they don’t judge me if there is crotch-up underwear on the floor.

7. When I don’t feel like cooking, I am thankful that my girlfriend is a phone call away and will support drive-thru Taco Bell for dinner.

8. I am thankful for my girlfriends that live near me. They will offer to help me even if it is not convenient for them to do so.

9. I am thankful that my girlfriend will not judge me as a parent if my 6 year-old drops an F-bomb in her car. True story.

10. When I am drowning, a good girlfriend will point out the positives, like how many extra calories I am burning while treading water.

 

Have You Ever Been Told NO?

large_3981484909I had a lot on my mind this past Labor Day weekend. On top of that, I didn’t have access to the internet for two days during our holiday weekend in the mountains. I have to tell you that two days without the internet was like being stranded on a desert island for a month. Think about it, no social media like Facebook and Twitter, no access to news, and no access to our growing website. Ok, fine, I had some cell phone coverage but these days, that is never enough. What did I do with my time, you ask? I spent some quality time with my family and dog (that I still don’t like) and managed to have some time to myself. That can be a dangerous thing.

I feel like we have just started our journey with Proud Working Mom and have already encountered more than a small amount of resistance. We have been told no by many people. Many of whom are women, which has taken me by surprise. Instead of internalizing the feedback and digesting it, which is what I have been doing all weekend, I decided to do the opposite and let you all in on it. We are friends, right?  Here goes: We are too vague, have not targeted our audience, our attempts at SEO (search engine optimization) are amateur at best, and if we are really serious about this journey, we need to start hiring oodles of people to help us do it right. Maybe they are right.

Have you ever had this happen to you? Have you ever been told no? After hearing it from a few people, it feels like you have been punched in the gut. It takes the wind out of your sails and forces you to reevaluate what you are doing. How can this many people be wrong? Perhaps I am the one that is wrong. Then, that dreaded internal voice gets louder, trying to convince you to stop what you are doing.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. I was once a full-time lawyer working in the public sector. My husband traveled for work at the time and I had a six month old baby boy and a trial schedule that was out of control. At the time, I was the only one in my office that was a working mother of an infant. To say I had no resources was an understatement. After letting myself drown at work and at home, doing both jobs at about fifty percent, I went to a female supervisor for some advice and help. I wish I could say that she was supportive and helpful but she was not. Her words still ring in my ears. She told me that sometimes we have to make choices. What she meant was that I had to choose between my child or my job. Who says that? More importantly, what would you do? I chose my family because it was the right decision at the time and it was the only decision for me. To this day, I don’t regret the decision to step back from my career for my family but what I do regret is letting someone else tell me no. I regret not fighting harder for what I wanted and fighting harder to make it work. Letting someone else dictate my path is what I still regret to this day.

To be clear, the purpose of our site Proud Working Mom is to empower all working moms. A resource that I wish existed for me seven years ago. ProudWorkingMom.com is a place where you will feel supported and will reinforce that you are on the right path. I think that we should all be prepared to hear the word no during our careers. Things are not always going to go our way. It is how we proceed from there that will determine our success. I promise you that this time, I will not allow another person to change my course. Proud Working Moms, I encourage you all to be bold and proceed on your own path and never let another person be the one to tell you no.

 

Take Care of Yourself

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Today I am mourning the loss of a colleague I used to work with. She was only one year older than I am and was a fellow prosecutor in New York City many years ago. We worked together when we were both young women and I hadn’t spoken to her in years. Still, I remember her smile and her willingness to help anyone that needed it. Tragically, she leaves behind twins (age 8) and a baby (age 3). Still, days after the news and initial shock, I am thinking about her and her family. I heard that she was a single mom who was working to support her kids on her own. I keep thinking how unfair it is, how it was not her time to go. For me, this news has hit close to home and I have been hugging my own kids a little tighter and have been giving extra hugs and kisses (which my 10 and 7 year old boys don’t really appreciate).

My lost colleague and friend was a hard worker. She was doing her best to care for her family. It makes me wonder about mothers in general. Are we taking care of ourselves? Working or not, when kids enter the picture, the focus naturally goes to them. Of course you are taking care of your kids, that is a no-brainer. I wonder as I look around if I am taking care of myself. For them. I want to be around as long as possible for them. I want to see them go to college, get married, have babies. I want to see it all. I am tearing up at the thought of missing any of it.

So lets talk about the mammogram that I haven’t had done or the pap smear that is overdue or the blood work that I have been swearing I will get around to. It is sad that it takes a tragedy like this one to make me think more about taking care of myself. Suddenly, that hour taken to go to the gym seems less selfish. That doctor’s appointment seems more urgent. Suddenly, I feel the need to make sure everything is alright. Just in case.

I recognize that some things are out of our control but I vow to do everything in my power to stay healthy.

This post is dedicated to my dear SM. You will be missed by so many. Rest in peace my fellow Proud Working Mom.

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