Something happened the other day that made me need to be with my baby even more than I have in the past. I don’t know if I’m supposed to need my child, if that’s ‘allowed’ or if it’s wrong, but on that day, I needed her. I needed to bury my face in her hair and smell her unique deliciousness that somehow always reminds me that everything’s going to be ok. I needed to see her spontaneous smile as I walked through the gate. I needed, so much, to feel her warm, and slightly sticky, little hands in mine and to have her chubby little arms around my neck as she buried her face in my hair. And I needed to smooch her pasta-sauce smeared face. All over.
I’ve never thought of myself as one of those moms. You know the type? The ones who are all about their kids. I always used to think I was a focused, ambitious career woman with serious goals and all about climbing the corporate ladder as fast as my heels and pencil skirt would allow me to. Turns out I am one of those moms. That’s not to say that my work isn’t important to me – it is. I truly believe in a good work-life balance. And I think it’s so important that my little girl sees that her mommy can be a brilliant mom and have a great job that she loves. I want to be the best role model I can be for my daughter. I want to make sure she knows she can do whatever she dreams of doing – whether that’s being a doctor, lawyer, school teacher, mom or pianist.
And I want my little girl to see that I’m a good mom, who’s present in her life and wants to spend time watching her grow into the amazing person I know she’s going to be. I know none of these are new issues and I’m certainly not the first, nor am I the last, mom to ponder such things; I know these are things mothers have grappled with for years. Ever since their husbands gave them permission to leave the house during the day and (gasp!) earn their own money!
I’m also aware that this isn’t something that women who don’t have children ever really think about. Why should they? It’s not a part of their reality. And that’s absolutely fine. But it’s also sometimes where the problem lies: Women are not supporting other women in becoming the best they can be outside of the home. Other women, most often without children of their own, are sometimes the biggest hurdle we working moms face. It’s almost as if we’ve ‘let down the side’ by choosing to be moms.
But I don’t see it that way. I think we’re the best example of what women are capable of achieving if they want something. For years we’ve been told we can’t do both – we can’t be moms and work. But we can! We can have it all. It may take a little compromising, or even a little shifting. But, if you want something, regardless of what others tell you is possible, you can – and should – have it all.