What kind of mom works the hardest? Who cares?! In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, Stephanie Taylor Christensen recounts her many phases of working motherhood, and why all moms should be supportive of the very tough job we’ve all chosen.
Every mom works
Though my current “official role” is stay-at-home working mom, I’ve been many varieties of working mom over the past three years. When I was pregnant, I was the working expectant mom who couldn’t understand why a mother would even consider not working full-time. After my son’s birth, I was the maternity-leave mom who started panicking about the pending return to work. As I began to dabble with the idea of alternative arrangements to what I’d planned, I became the working mom who realized just how few and far between legitimate and appealing part-time job options exist. Once I returned to work full time, I was the working mom who experienced just how unprofessonial “pumping” at work makes you feel, and that quality time in a home with two working parents and a newborn constantly fighting off daycare crud is hard to find.
Then I became the working mom who negotiated a part-time role with her current employer — only to realize that unless the workplace is truly dedicated to supporting a flexible schedule, a part-time job is often a full-time role that offers less pay — but not less actual work. Then I was the working mom who took a leap and left the rat race, terrified at the uncertain future and fearing that I’d just committed professional suicide.
“You know your life has changed when going to the grocery store by yourself is a vacation.”
“It never gets easier, you just get better.”
“One positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
“Never lose hope. You never know what tomorrow will bring.”
Today, I’m proud to say that after very little sleep and a lot of hard work, I’ve built a legitimate career doing work I love, while staying at home with my child. Adjusting to motherhood and building a flexible career has certainly been a journey, and I’m certain any working mother has her own tale full of twists, turns, triumphs and failures.
The mommy wars
I tell you my path because I’m disheartened by the endless “debate” between moms working outside the home and stay-at-home moms, who’s the doing “right thing” and who’s working “harder.” Most recently the media coverage around the issue flared again, thanks to Hilary Rosen’s comments that Ann Romney was not qualified to speak on economic issues, because as a stay-at-home mom, she had “never worked a day in her life.” Instead of tearing one another down for the different paths we’ve chosen, this issue of Working Mom 3.0 is devoted to the shared experience of all moms, and the most important job that we bravely “report to” every day — whether we do it wearing a suit or shorts.