I'm a Working Mom and Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way
I wasn't the kind of woman who dreamed of the day I would have a child. In fact, I truly thought I would be childless—until the day I met my husband. Even then, I wasn't sure what kind of mother I would be. But I did know one thing: I would always be a working mother.
My own mother worked off and on as I was growing up. She never finished college and never worked on her skills. When she and my father divorced, she had nothing to fall back on. She ended up living off the state and continues to do so to this day. She has a simple life, not because she wants to but because of choices she made before I was even born. She bought into the myth of the husband as breadwinner, supporter and protector, even though she was a child of the sixties and saw the birth of feminism. It just didn't stick with her.
It stuck with me.
Work provides me with more than just money. It gives me freedom and meaning. It's a way of contributing to society and a way to leave some mark, even if it lasts only for a moment. For my work to do all this, I've found, I need to have a few different jobs: I work a day job and, once I'm off, I write, paint and take fine-art photographs.
In conjunction with the job of being the mama, sometimes it feels like all of this is too much. But then I remember the times my little girl has joined me in my studio to paint on her own craft paper as I work on my canvas, or the times she's come in while I'm doing a photo shoot and asked to push the button on my camera. I remember all those moments and I find I have the strength to keep going after all. I want my daughter to know that, as hard as work may be, as hard as leaving her every morning is, it is worth the sacrifice. It's a sacrifice made on the altar of future freedom, in case it's ever needed. It's a sacrifice made to teach my daughter that she should never doubt her own worth; that she will never need anyone or anything more than herself.
Do I wish I could stay at home sometimes with my little girl? Am I jealous of the caregivers who get to spend all that time with her during the day? Absolutely. But I still wouldn't have it any other way, and I hope that my example gets down into her bones.