I have been a mom for going on 13 years now. I was chatting with a friend on the way back from a business trip recently. She is about a decade younger than me and is ready to start a family in the not too distant future. We discussed what it was like to balance a career and kids. I shared some of the “tips” I had gotten from other working moms or had picked up along the way. She told me, “You need to write a book about all this stuff. I need it.” I laughed about her suggestion. But for some reason, it stuck with me. I enjoy writing but with three kids and a demanding job – writing a book wasn’t really an option at the moment. I have taken up blogging in an effort to “pay it forward” after adopting my youngest child from Ethiopia. I thought maybe I can start a blog about this too. It would allow me to break things up in small pieces which were more manageable for me at this stage in my life. And leave some record of these times and learnings for my kids as well down the road.
So here I am. One thing that I have learned is that there is no right answer or solution to the balancing act that goes into being a mom – whether you work outside the home or not. What works for one person, doesn’t for the next. Also what works at one stage in your family’s life, might not work in another phase. But we can all learn something from each other and sharing what is working (and what is not) makes you feel like you are not unique challenged. We are all trying to figure out how to make it work each day. The support from my friends – both moms and not – is a critical piece in keeping some balance.
Thinking about what to share here took me back to when I first found out I was pregnant with my eldest son. I remember crying – these were not tears of happiness – I was terrified. I was very concerned about whether I would be a good mom. I was also worried about how being a mom would fit in my already highly scheduled life with a full time job at a large law firm and a husband who was a high school math teacher and varsity boys' basketball coach. When I brought my first beautiful baby home, I was struck that I was the person (with my husband) who needed to make sure this baby got what he needed. I recall sitting in our family room and just staring at his beautiful face. I thought he looked like a pure, innocent, sweet angel. It was a bit of heaven on earth. . right up until he screamed for food, needed a diaper change or woke up cranky. The miracle of memories is you can edit out the parts that were less blissful. Below captured one of my moments of soaking up my new baby. Incidently, this baby is 13 and when he saw these pictures of me he commented that I looked a bit younger, thinner and prettier then . . all true of course just unedited by any tact or social mores. I replied that, "Yep, see what 13 years with you did to me?"
Being his mom changed me and gave me a new perspective on my. Life went from being a straight line that was generally focused on me, to a circle that was about the future of our child and some day hopefully his children. Now, it is hard to remember who I was and what life was like when I was not a mom. It changed my husband and I from a couple to a family. Our relationship grew and stretched and evolved in many expected and unexpected ways. Here is a photo from 1997 of the new family.