Submitted by Kathy Haselmaier
When I started working many years ago, my career goal was simple; show that it was possible for a woman to work full time while raising children. Even back then, it seemed like a modest goal. The thing is, it wasn't easy. Ever. My husband also had a demanding career, so along the way there were challenges, frustrations, and stories that have only became funny in hindsight. But we pulled it off. One day at a time.
While the goal may have sounded trivial, even back then, working parents know that the implementation of it was and is anything but trivial, even today. Some good news is that after our kids left for college I expected to feel the guilt I'd been warned about (because I worked full-time while raising them), but I felt contentment instead.
When we gather with friends, we gain strength and encouragement from the stories we share. Often it is the craziest and most hectic days we recall and laugh about. The daughter who cried for at least five days in a row when we picked her up from daycare. The inability to helicopter parent which resulted in my husband exclaiming, “What do you mean you have to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements by tomorrow morning?!” And the annual Halloween costume conversation which started with, “You can be any character hanging in this aisle [at Walmart].”
For parents who are working and raising kids right now, I think it’s worth clearly stating that what you are doing is hard. And it’ll probably be worth it in the end. You’re showing your "village" that you value the education, upbringing, and guidance they provided. You're showing your employers that working parents can be strong contributors and leaders. You’re showing your kids that hard work is important, it isn’t always easy, and you’re giving them real opportunities to add value around the house which builds lasting self-esteem. You’re showing another generation of young parents what’s possible and hopefully helping them understand that both families and careers are worth the effort.
What you are doing matters.