Copied from Facebook with permission
This Facebook post sums up working parenthood in a nutshell ...
Submitted by "Mom2Boys"
I am not the mom who cries when dropping her kids off, but today, as I prepared to return to work after completing my parental leave, was a little different. Our baby had his first day at school with his “experienced” big brother.
I can't begin to tell you how much we absolutely love our kids’ teachers, which is why I was positive I wouldn't cry when I put them in such good hands. I was doing well, dry eyes and everything, until I turned to walk out of the infant room and saw my older son's concern for his little brother; he was peering through a window checking on his baby brother as I left the room. His big heart was so obvious, and I could see him caring about and being protective of his little brother. It made my mom heart want to burst, but instead my eyes welled with tears.
Later their teachers let me know that my older son insisted on visiting his baby brother multiple times throughout the day just to make sure he was adjusting well. I can’t imagine loving these boys any more and appreciate their caring teachers so much!
Submitted by "Human Rights Mama"
Note: This is not a sponsored story. Neither the author nor Working Parent Stories have received any form of compensation from the businesses and services mentioned below.
As a lawyer specializing in policy advocacy for refugee rights and the mother of two, I've found myself pumping in a wide variety of places including New York City, Geneva, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, and Brussels. (Not to mention on airplanes to said destinations.) I have also purchased pump replacement parts in nearly all of these cities, as I seem to forget one key part on every single trip. Target stores are a blessing to all women who need quick pumping solutions!
Figuring out where to pump can be a challenge. On many trips I need to walk or take transit between multiple meetings in a single day. It's often hard to find places to pump or nurse when I'm away from home and on the go; especially in big cities. Thankfully there are some apps and websites that crowsdsource good places to pump, including momspumphere.com. When in doubt, I’ve found it helps to ask the Internet.
Hotels have been the most accommodating in my experience. They usually offer me an empty room or an office, even if I'm not a guest. And like many, I've had to settle for the gross public restroom on occasion.
Airports often have lactation or baby rooms now, which is in credibly helpful. San Francisco International Airport has a great room on the new pier in Terminal 3; it has become one of my favorite stops before boarding a plane.
My favorite ad hoc location was a Nordstrom dressing room near Washington, DC. It was quite comfortable, though I am sure the other patrons were a bit confused by the mechanical sounds coming from my room :)
And what to do with all that milk? Thankfully there are services available to ship it home in a chilled container. I’ve used Milk Stork, and FedEx has options as well.
Submitted by "Human Rights Mama"
Remember the video of the man who was being interviewed by the BBC live when his toddler walked into the room? That is probably every work-from-home parent's nightmare, and I was thinking about it recently when I was asked to create a "welcome video" to introduce myself as a tutor for an online course on refugee protection.
Online learning and virtual workplaces are magical inventions for working parents with small children. No one needs to know that you are in your pajamas, or haven’t showered for a couple of days, as long as your brain is clear and your fingers type swiftly. Unless, of course, you need to be on video.
As the mother of a 10-week-old, I don't currently go into an office during the day, and I don’t have the luxury of time. While my baby isn’t mobile, her little voice travels in my small apartment, so I'm pretty proud of the fact that I was able to create and post a video recently. And it was done on time, and I looked (at least theoretically) polished. The technique? I put on some makeup very early in the morning. Later that day, I put the baby down for a nap, pulled a blazer on over a nursing shirt, clipped my hair back, found a good backdrop (a bookshelf), and filmed the whole thing before she even woke up.
As Leonard Bernstein once said, "To achieve success, two things are needed; a plan and not enough time." I concur.
Submitted by The Mama Politic
My husband and I both work. I'm an academic researcher. He's a sociologist. We have a daughter who recently turned one and older children from my husband's previous marriage.
For now we're prioritizing my career, although neither of us is slacking on the job. His strong support is enabling me to advance in my dream job as an applied research faculty member at a large university. I feel lucky to have his backing along with somewhat flexible work hours. We also have great daycare which we appreciate. Our caregiver is wonderful, and our daughter appears to be thriving. Lots of things are going really well.
Still, it isn't easy. One of the things I find hardest about being a working parent is balancing career objectives with this feeling that I need to "do it all". And look fantastic doing it! As the sole cook in our family (long story), I need to get dinner ready each evening. Given my food allergies, this takes some extra effort. And to make things extra challenging, my daughter just started becoming incredibly fussy when we get home at the end of the day. Trying to make dinner and keep her happy is starting to feel like a losing battle. Between my Type A personality that has me wanting to make a great dinner and her unabated screaming, feelings of frustration and uselessness often take over. Hopefully this is a temporary phase.
One way I am staying motivated is by training myself to say, "Screw that!" to a lot of things. I didn't puree my daughter's food when she was younger, I don't make bento boxes, and right now I just feed my daughter everything we eat - spices and all. She has slept in her own crib since day one, and I never breastfed because post partum depression required me to take a mood stabilizer. Sometimes I feel like I can't possibly be "enough" at home. Interestingly, many things seem to come more naturally to my husband than they do to me. Maybe it's because he has older children and has done this before. Still, I feel like I need to do it all, or at least I want to do it all. These feelings and challenges are helping me learn the value of prioritization.
As I ponder the way we negotiate this life, I think about my need for my husband to support my career goals and understand my need to go to work every day. We are far from perfect, but he definitely has my back professionally. This may be difficult for some couples to understand. Maybe the fact that we both had working moms is why it feels right to us.
Some friends who don't get it give me flak. They warn me that I'll regret not putting our daughter to bed every single night, and they're concerned that I've never cried when I've taken her to daycare. When our daughter was six months old, I changed jobs so I could spend more time with her, but some still seem concerned for me.
My husband and I take this all in. We also know that our daughter is healthy, happy, and developmentally on track. She clearly loves us. Because we need our work to feel fulfilled, we truly believe that we're making choices that are best for her, our marriage and our family. It just feels right.
Submitted by The Mama Politic
Both of my parents worked when I was growing up. My husband's parents did too. So I guess it's not surprising that my husband and I went back to work after our baby was born. (And soon. I was back part-time after five weeks and full-time when she was nine weeks old.) I need my work to feel happy and connected to the world. My husband understands and is very supportive. We are far from perfect, but he definitely has my back professionally. This may be difficult for some couples to understand. I get that and wonder if maybe it's because they didn't have role models like ours.
While people don't always encourage working moms, I do think we've come a long way. Things are getting better. Back when I was in 3rd grade, my teacher once commented that she was sad for me. Her comment was prompted by the fact that my dad volunteered to attend a class field trip. Dads didn't do that very often back then. My mom had been very busy with job deadlines, and so my dad, who we didn't see as much during the workweek, was thankful to be able to attend. And even at that young age, I remember thinking the teacher's comment was odd because it didn't make me feel sad. I was glad he could come! When I told my mom how my teacher felt, she told me that people said weird things to her too. She also told me that it was "none of their business". I grew up in Chicagoland, where plenty of moms worked, so it's a little surprising that people weren't more supportive.
My husband also endured some negativity because his mom worked. He grew up in a small farming community in rural Missouri with a population of ~1,000. His mom was very ambitious and ran her own tax business. She was almost 41 years old when he was born, and, get this, he was born in April! That meant she was back at work (finishing tax returns) just days after he was born. He was her fourth kid, so by the time he arrived she knew the routine and just did what needed to be done. Her husband, my husband's dad, always supported her work, but apparently it bothered some other people. While she is considered a pillar of the community, she's also been considered "peculiar" by at least a few. My husband told me that once, when he was in school, he got into a fight with someone who made fun of him because his mom worked. And when he misbehaved at school, teachers told him it was because his mother "neglected him".
Hopefully our kids won't have any stories like these. Lots of parents I know, including my husband and me, work very hard to prove the remaining doubters wrong. And we'd like to think that our parents already have.
Submitted by Sherene Abrahams - "I've let go of the idea that I need to be just like everyone else."
Before my children were born, I assumed that I wouldn't work outside the home after they came along. I figured that a part-time work schedule wouldn't be an option, and I didn't want to work full-time.
But things don't always go according to plan. When my eldest was 9-months-old, I was given the opportunity to return to work on a part-time basis. I was told that I could work from the office two days/week and from home one day/week. I accepted the offer, held the job for five years, and even had another baby during that time.
When my eldest started school, I was ready to make my career a higher priority. By that time I could do my job with my eyes closed. It was easy and convenient for me as a working parent. But it was no longer challenging.
I found a new job that sounded perfect; there were shorter hours, it was closer to home, and it was a step up on the career ladder. Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as I hoped it would because it just wasn't a great fit for my skills. But luckily, after nine months on the job, I found and landed my dream role. It was closer to home, super flexible, and involved work that I love.
While it took some adjusting to find the right fit, I'm happy to report that I've found it and am balancing my roles at home and at work. Here's how I do it.
In an attempt to help other working parents, I created The Working Parents Hubshub. This site, which currently serves parents in Australia and New Zealand, helps working parents find services they can use to achieve better balance between their families and their careers. It is also a place to share tips and experiences with other working parents. We share lots of great info on our Facebook page also, and we even have a small Facebook group dedicated to discussing these things in more detail.
Pointer to the Digital Motherhood site - "Children learn different things from different people, so recognizethat while they learn ...
An interview with our editor that was published on the Digital Motherhood site. Read the interview.
Submitted by Kathy Haselmaier
The great thing about a long career is that you can look back, pull out a few nice stories that highlight your "shining moments", and share them with others as an example of your experience. Then you can conveniently forget all of the other "stuff" that happened. There is great value in sharing the good stories to be sure. We all learn from each other, and it's better to leverage the good stuff. With that said, when we only share our positive stories, we may leave others with unrealistic ideas about what it takes to manage a career.
While talking with a young working parent who was questioning her ability to continue pursuing her career recently, I made a casual reference to "my meltdowns". She stopped the conversation. Then she said, "You had meltdowns?" I had to laugh, because all of my close friends know that I had meltdowns, and boy-oh-boy does my husband know that I had meltdowns. They were most frequent when our kids were little, but I have to admit that they started before we had kids, and they didn't end after the kids left home. It's possible I'd have had even more meltdowns if I didn't pursue a career.
By the time I reached my mid-20s, I learned that you don't do anyone any favors when you go on and on about your own shortcomings, so I mostly kept the meltdown stories to myself. But in case others find it at all comforting, let me just say that there were meltdowns. There was whining. There was complaining. And on occasion there was crying. My husband was there and endured it all. It's probably worth mentioning that he also became overwhelmed at times. He handled it differently, but there were times he wasn't sure he could handle it all either. But I had meltdowns more often and better than he did. I definitely "won" meltdowns. (In case you're wondering, we had a string of years when our kids were little when I bet I had a meltdown every quarter. As time went on, I think they may have gone down to a rate of one every five years. It did get better, especially as the kids started taking more and more responsibility for their own activities.)
There was problem solving too. And there were a lot of very long conversations and negotiations that occurred between my husband and me about how we could keep going while keeping it all together. It. Was. Not. Easy.
But we both wanted to make it work, so we did. It wasn't always pretty, but we crossed the finish line. And we're glad we stayed in the race.
P.S. My husband (aka "assistant editor") said that he was disappointed after reading this story. He thought I was going to share a dramatic story about one of my meltdowns, and he thinks other readers may be a bit disappointed with this ending. Sorry about that, but I'm not going there.
Submitted by Mark Haselmaier
As a kid, Halloween was obviously a big deal. A costume ritual was involved. I would wear it around the house a couple of times before the big day (to make sure it worked and all), and then be near euphoria when it was finally time to reveal its awesomeness to the world.
I always considered myself lucky at Halloween because my parents took me to the store and let me pick out my own costume. Very rarely did we do stuff like that. Usually, if I wanted something, I either had to work around the house to earn enough money to pay for it, or I had to save money from my allowance to purchase what I wanted. But it felt like during Halloween my parents and I were on the same wavelength; this kid needs a costume, and it needs to rock.
So it came as a shock when just this past weekend my mother experessed embarrassment because she had to buy me costumes all those years instead of making me something more special. What? You’re embarrassed? Why are you embarrassed about something that totally kicked ass? You let me pick out whatever I wanted from the costume aisle. That was the only time you let me just walk into a store and pick whatever I wanted and then you paid for it. For a Haselmaier child, this was almost unheard of.
After further discussion I learned that the purchase of a Halloween costume, instead of the creation of one, saved a lot of time for my working parents. It seems funny to me that they were embarrassed that they resorted to a K-Mart or Walmart aisle at Halloween. For 4-year-old me (and 11-year-old-me for that matter) it was the pinnacle of Halloween fun.
Chill out parents. You may be taking things a little too seriously.