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Mommy Mondays: What “Having It All” Means to Me

by Kimberly on August 20, 2012 · 7 comments

I saw the magazine cover on the stands in the Asheville airport. There was a picture of a woman in a skirt holding a suitcase. Inside the suitcase was a baby with cute brown curls. The headline read “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”

I groaned. The “debate” about working v. stay-at-home mothers and “work-life balance” is not new. But it was reignited this summer by the announcement that Yahoo hired a new CEO…who happened to be pregnant at the time.

It took me a couple weeks to get around to reading The Atlantic piece, written by Anne-Marie Slaughter. In truth, I didn’t have much hope for it. I thought it would be another complaint-filled diatribe…and I have to be in a certain frame of mind to get through those. So I waited to read it until I was ready.

I’m so glad I did. I didn’t find the diatribe I was expecting. Instead, I found a thoughtful—albeit looooong—discussion about the choices we have, the choices we make, and the barriers we face when we desire to both work and have a family. It’s well-written and will get you thinking and is well worth the 45 minutes it takes to read.

As for my part, here are some of my thoughts about being a working mommy and striving for the so-called work-life balance. I don’t have a cohesive thread to these thoughts. These are just thoughts that came to me as I pondered how I feel about being a working mommy, why it’s important to me, and how I try to make it work. I am also writing them fully realizing that I have a choice in this matter, one that not all women are able to make.

First of all, I LOVE what I do. And I think having that passion is what will keep me going as a professional. Plus I feel it helps that all the major female role models of my childhood were working women, so it’s a culture and environment I am used to. I am also glad that my children will get exposed to this environment, one where they get to see mommy and daddy both doing what they love.

I have also chosen a career where I have the option to have flexibility and control over my schedule. Slaughter came from a world of lawyers and government service, where her hours were dictated to a large extent by someone else. Not me. Even now in going to school full-time while working part-time and raising two young children, I often have a choice for how I fill my time. If I need to take time off during the day for a doctor’s appointment, it’s no problem because I can finish the work at night or on weekends. I don’t have a 9-to-5 job…and I like it that way.

Timing is so important. I got pregnant on accident—the first time, anyway. And I had my first child younger than most—age 26. Then had my second two years later. At the time I had just graduated with my masters and was just started my own practice. By the time my youngest graduates from high school, I will only be 45, and if all goes well at the peak of my career with lots of working years left in me.

Finally, I think you take your own journey, you write your own story. My family and I work together to create what works for us. We make our own rules—sometimes on the fly!—and create our own dreams. It’s our life and our happiness and we are committed to trying to do what’s best for us and our family.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Antoinette Morrison August 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

Kimberly, I love your last paragraph. I was also 26 when my first was born, my second at 28 and my last at 31. I had wanted to stay home with my kids and did until my oldest was in second grade. I did not like what I saw happening in their school, so I took them out and put them in a private school we could not at the time afford. Fortunate for me ,the school hired me and I worked there until my oldest graduated from that school in eighth grade. After my experience, and watching other moms, I realized there is no “right ” way to do this. Some people do not have a choice, some do, and each family is different. I know that being a teacher had given me insight on my own child rearing, and raising children made me a more attuned professional. Congratulations on your choices and making them work for you and your family!
Antoinette Morrison´s last blog post ..What To Do With Missing Pieces?

JoAnn Jordan August 20, 2012 at 11:19 am

Setting an example of loving what you do (whether you are a stay at home mom or a mom with an “additional” career) is what is key. What better example can we share with a child than love and joy!

I became a mom at age 35, so I brought a life of experiences to the plate. There is no single right time or way to parent. And, the balance point is always changing along with us and our family.

All the best to you and your family, Kimberly.

Kimberly August 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I love that the two of you shared your stories and experiences here. Thank you so, so much! ~Kimberly

Megan August 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Wow! This is such perfect timing! I had just read Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in The Atlantic and have been thinking a lot about this concept! I’ve been in full ‘baby mode’ since Ava arrived and trying to multi-task with getting us moved to NY and opening a practice there. It’s a wonderfully crazy time of life!

Music Therapy seems to be a field that ideally suited towards working moms with it’s flexibility. I know that the majority of professionals in the field are female and I wonder how that has affected the way music therapy has evolved as a profession. I’ve always been interested in discussions related to gender roles in and out of the workplace, which is why I found the Atlantic article so fascinating!
Megan´s last blog post ..“Better Take Time in Life”: A Liberian Folk Song

Kimberly August 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

It is a wonderfully crazy time of life! What’s also interesting is that things will continue to develop and change in a crazy way for the rest of your life. It’s nuts! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Atlantic piece. I also found it fascinating. Best of luck with the newest addition to your family 🙂 ~Kimberly

Sharon Boyle August 26, 2012 at 8:09 am

What a great post…I remember hearing so many comments about being a working mom, or being told I “should” have more children. But, I love my family and job! My husband teaches in the same dept I do, and while it is challenging not having family living near us, we try to make sure we spend special time together as a family. That is all we can ask!
Sharon Boyle´s last blog post ..JAFSP – Day 10 and travel home

Kimberly August 26, 2012 at 11:19 am

I completely agree, Sharon. And what a treat for you and our husband to teach in the same department! Well, probably a treat most of the time 😉 ~Kimberly

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