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.
7/23/2017 08:08:45 pm
7/23/2017 08:30:22 pm
Thanks, Dad :)
7/23/2017 08:19:37 pm
You did it. Congratulations!
7/23/2017 08:31:09 pm
Thanks, Mom :)
7/31/2017 09:04:58 pm
Your commitment and balance is so wonderful !
8/1/2017 11:25:59 am
Thanks, Jim. You know the drill. You've been there and done that too!
10/4/2017 04:10:16 pm
10/4/2017 04:52:31 pm
Congratulations, JoAnne! And I know what you mean about making up for lost sleep. I feel like I'm just now emerging from the exhaustion of it all.
10/4/2017 04:48:46 pm
I can't thank you enough for your blog and stories. I really related to your story for several reasons, the first being because I've known you for quite sometime, more importantly to my feelings on this subject, our moms were very good friends. I've felt guilty since going back to work five years ago, the crazy thing is, the guilt doesn't stem from being "less than" for my kids and husband, It comes from being raised by a stay at home mom that wasn't shy about her feelings about mothers that worked outside the home, it wasn't so much that she judged them, she just thought that in the end the kids lost and the moms were full of regret. That was the generation. I felt tremendous pressure to stay home, even though at times, it was financially extremely stressful. As my husband is self employed, I had no choice but to go back to work mainly for the health care. I never knew how bored I was, I love my career in Health Care Administration and truly believe that it makes me a better Mom. Ironically, I really think my mom would be so proud of the career I've built, along with my thriving family.
10/4/2017 04:59:09 pm
Thank you for your encouragement, Susan! I miss your mom. We were both lucky to be raised by strong women and encouraging fathers who made sure that we developed the skills that enable us to have careers. Social expectations are tricky things. I often wonder what ideas I've tried to embed in my kids' brains that may be outdated. Well, on Monday I didn't have to wonder because my daughter pointed one out. We all do the best we can and hope it's good enough, I guess.
10/4/2017 05:53:13 pm
Kathy and Susan: Times have changed SO much. I think in hind sight I would have been a happier mother if I had worked and possibly a better mother. Today women have to justify why they either work or don't work. We didn't deal with any of that. And, "helicoptering" is another whole issue. Susan, I'm sure if your mother was here today she'd be bursting her buttons with pride.
10/4/2017 06:32:42 pm
Adair, now I'm in full sob in my kitchen. She really loved and appreciated you. Now, to find the Balloon Lady a home, say in Colorado....
10/4/2017 07:24:13 pm
What a great message Kathy!
10/5/2017 10:04:00 am
Powerful and encouraging. Thanks for sharing!
10/6/2017 06:41:25 am
Thanks for sharing Kathy. It is so encouraging !
10/6/2017 08:45:18 am
It's so good to hear from you, Rabeya! I hope all is well with you and your family. We'd love to write one of your Working Parent Stories. Check out the "Submit" link on the site. It's super easy :)
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