Is There Life After Shoulder Pads? The New Working Mother
I was programmed, from the time I reached middle school, to have a “big” career.
And I did it. I reached the C-level in corporate life, worked for major brands, and took no more than nine weeks of maternity leave when I had my daughters. Back then, the shortness of one’s leave was a badge of courage and achievement. (e.g., “I wrapped up a meeting…headed to the hospital…and gave birth!” “I was on the phone with my team in the recovery room!”) Quite simply, it was unrealistic, exhausting, stressful, and just plain rough.
I was once asked to phase out or reassign a pregnant employee who was on bed rest because of management’s fear that she couldn’t be productive. I kept her on and sent her work every day via fax and messenger. That’s just how it was.
The daughters of 1980’s working mothers are coming of age…and having families and careers of their own. Who are they?
We read a lot about how they raised more “successful” children. I hope that part of that success includes balance, focus on family, and less stress.
I just spent two days with my older daughter and my new grandbaby. My daughter had a full-time working mother (me) and Ivy League education, and a lucrative early career as both a business analyst and a teacher. She is choosing to stay home with her daughter until she reaches school age. She has my full support and admiration.
Returning to the work force will be infinitely easier for her generation because they can bounce from bottle to BuzzFeed, staying in touch 24/7 with the world around them. Technology has given birth to thousands of career options and taking time off to spend those early days with one’s children is no longer viewed as career suicide.
Because she worked and had a working mother as a role model, she has incredible organizational and financial skills. She will run her household like a CEO. And her daughter can grow up to be whatever she wants to be, wherever she wants to be.
I now run my own business and can work from my daughter’s house and I got up in the middle of the night to put the baby to sleep. It was one of the best jobs I ever did. No nanny required.
And we don’t have to wear shoulder pads. Just burp cloths.
More work/parenting wisdom…