Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mom's Influence

I've been thinking a lot lately about motherhood and being a Working Girl ... especially because it's all hitting home for me right now. Yes, ladies, I'm expecting my first baby, a girl, in February!

So this whole idea, well, I guess reality now, of being a mom has made me wonder about my expectations for myself as a Working Girl and for my new little one. I guess let's start with my own mom.

My mom was not much of a Working Girl. I don't think she liked the idea much. She graduated from college with a degree in Zoology. What the heck are you supposed to do with that?? Then she decided to go into Nursing and dropped out within a year. Next she got a Teaching license and taught elementary school for a couple years. Then she just quit working altogether and decided to be a homemaker. She hasn't stepped into the working world since, let's see, it's been about 20 years??

So growing up, I didn't really have big dreams of becoming a career girl. It just didn't occur to me. I thought I'd just go to college because it was what good kids did and then who knows what after that. Luckily, I took that Intro to Advertising class and found my passion in the Communication field and now I am very, very happy with my career as a PR Working Girl. I think it really surprises my mom that I work. When I told her we were expecting a baby, I think I saw her breathe a huge sigh of relief because she thought I'd never have kids and work forever. Of course I wanted children, but I wanted to establish a career first!

Since I started my own business (PR and editorial) in March and work from home, I think this gives me the ideal environment for still continuing to keep my foot in the working world while also caring for my new family. At least that's the plan. While I wish my mom gave me more of an example of ambition as far as career and working goes, I do admire her for staying home and always being there when my three younger sisters or I needed her. We had a home cooked family dinner around the kitchen table every night, lovingly packed lunches, lots of baked goods on the counter to snack on, a clean house, etc.

But what about for my little girl? (omg, I'm going to be a MOM! It's still sinking in.) Will I push her to be a Working Girl, or not? What will she take from my example? Do I want her to be a Working Girl?

I question that last one because I recently read an interesting article on Forbes Blogs, "Twenty-Something Men Want Housewives to Cheat On." I know, strong title. The gist is that young men these days apparently don't want to marry a Working Girl. They want to marry women like my mom who want to stay home and be housewives and homemakers. But why? The article suggests that it's possibly because they were raised by the generation of moms who felt like they needed to be superwomen, balancing demanding careers and a family and that these young men maybe feel like they didn't have good moms because they were so stressed all the time or just weren't there for them, or maybe they saw the relationship between their mom and dad and felt the relationship was always strained? That perhaps "having it all" had a negative effect on the kids. And then, the cheating part comes in because these young men also don't like the idea of monogamy too much, either. Great.

I don't really know yet if I'm staying a Working Girl because of me, because it's what I love to do and it's such a big part of me, or staying a Working Girl for my daughter to set a good example. And by good example, I hope that means she sees I am happy doing what I love, not necessarily trying to achieve superwoman status. Hm. So much to think about. Sorry this post is kind of a jumble of thoughts. Would love to hear yours.


Freck said...

Congratulations!!!!! :)

Mary @The Sweet Bookshelf said...

Congrats! I'm due with a boy in late January!!

I was raised by a single mom. She had 2 jobs, was in university getting her bachelors then masters degree all before we hit junior high. Oh, and she had 5 kids born in 6 yrs. Whew!
She was busy busy busy but she was always there to pick us up from school and make us dinner. I remember going with her to a few of her night classes though. I don't think we noticed she was working and going to school too much.

As long as she was there for us, I think it is fine. SHE was the one raising us though, not a nanny, not a day care. I think that is what we need to think about. Will I be raising my children? Or someone else because I want or need to work. What is the point of having children if we aren't going to raise them or be there for them?

Angeline said...

Congratulations! So excited for you.

As far as the working goes, do what feels right for you and your family...there isn't just one formula. My mom always worked either full-time or part-time, and to be honest, I preferred when she worked full-time because then I could hang out at day care after school with my friends. I think it was healthy for her to have employment outside the home to establish her own social network, especially since she immigrated to the U.S. as an adult (a lot of her friends who did the same and didn't work aren't as familiar with the English language or social norms, even decades after arriving). We still had family dinners every night and spent all weekend together. Being self-employed will probably make it easier for you, but you can always change your mind whenever you want.

P said...

Congratulations! Having a baby really changes a person's perspective on many things, and work is at the top of the list. I was married for almost 10 years before my first was born, and I was determined to continue growing my career. As I did just that for more than 2 years, I missed being at home with my baby more and more everyday. I also started to see how insignificant some (and then more and more) work related things became in comparison to this growing and changing little person. In short, I got more and more frustrated with going to work and not being at home with my little girl. She was and is so much more important to me than work, career, and money. I did keep "my foot in the door" so to speak with working from home. I went from a director level position at a college to an online instructor. This was an awesome solution for me! As an aside, my career husband loves that I stay at home and loves the extra income from me. My girls have really never known the difference, but I think if given the choice, they say they prefer this way, too.

MO said...

Awesome news, congrats!!! Having a child is life changing...everything is about to change and life revolves around your child. I wish I had the option of being a stay at home mom, but unfortunately, that wasn't not in the cards. It was horrible leaving my child to anyone, esp a stranger! I wanted to be there for at least the first year of their if you can do that, I recommend it! Working from home you probably can achieve this...but that first year is something you never get back! BEST OF LUCK!!

PR Working Girl said...

aw, thanks guys for the congrats! yes, lots of changes coming up, you guys have great comments and have given me more to think about. thank you, dear readers!

20s Enthusiast said...

So happy for you! I think right now, you work on being a great mom by staying healthy and keeping your stress level'll figure the rest out along the way.

Wimzie Prints said...

I think the key, in your situation at least (i.e. you don't really HAVE to work for financial reasons) is to remain flexible. At first it will be easy to get lots of work in because baby will nap a lot. Later on, especially if you decide to have more than one child, time for work will be precious. If you find that working isn't "working" any more then you can quit until the kids are all in school.

Chelle said...

I read that Forbes article, but was kind of wondering how much of the results are just because the guys are still in their 20s. Pretty sure the older guys wouldn't have liked the idea of monogamy when they were younger either. Hopefully the guys polled will grow up a little. Good luck working from home. I just want to warn you that you'll probably want someone else there to help out when she starts getting to be 1 or 2. I brought Lub to work with me until he was 1 & then I needed to have someone watch him because I just couldn't do both at the same time. Working from home at that point got hard because he'd cry & demand my attention whenever I sat at the computer. I don't think you have to give up working...just figure out what works for you as situations change. I loved being a working girl & also love being a stay at home mom. So many benefits to both!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! My mom worked and stayed at home--she was a bookkeeper for my father, so I was incredibly lucky, getting to see the best of both worlds: a mom who was a hard worker in EVERY sense of the word! It sounds like you're going to be like your little one the quality time of a stay-at-home mom and the role model of a working woman. Sounds perfect to me!

Nicole said...

CONGRATS on the munchkin lady!!!

I LOVE discussing this topic.

I had a hardcore working Mom who loves what she does and is really good at it. She has always been my role model of "Mom meets career woman."

We too always had dinner on the table, a clean house and laundry done. Although there were little things here and there that she missed, I felt her setting a role model as a career woman was WAY more valuable than having fresh cookies on the counter after school. I loved saying "oh she's not here because she's the president of XYZ and on a business trip." Business wisdom, money, taxes, etc. were always topics at our dinner table and I'm very grateful for it.

Because my Mother always played both roles so well, it's hard for me to understand why every woman wouldn't work! If you give up on perfection, you can definitely swing both. I've never, for a second, considered being a homemaker.

I think you are going into the ideal situation you have your own business with the flexibility to work from home. I want to do the same when I have children. This is a way I feel we can "have it all"- baking cookies while making deals all at the same time.

Also, my Mom always said she worked so hard so that we could go to whatever college we want and have more opportunities. So far I can honestly say that my life woudl be very, very different if my Mom didn't work. Her career has taken the financial struggle out of our lives which is a HUGE gift you can give to your children and husband.

Looking forward to reading the commentary! Good luck.

Cas said...

The most sincere congratulations!

I'm from Sardinia and.. never wondered working girls' thoughts were so similar tough a so big distance!
My mom is a working girl as well, and we raised happy because my grandma used to live with us. We were altogether, never alone, though my dad always worked hard too.
I'm an engineer and I'm going to marry in few weeks. I will not have my mom's help in growing up my future children because I'm moving in another city, nevertheless I'll do the upmost to work and take care of my children and husband in future. That's my mission in life.
Eventually, the thing is... to have a job, at least here in South Italy.
Wishes to all

Anonymous said...

I had a stay at home mom and I respect her decision completely. It didn't make me lazy about my own career or stiffle my ability to see the world of working women. I am Director (and the youngest in my company). I resent that you are basically putting down mom's who don't work outside the home. I am sorry you don't value that your mom made the best decision for her, and I certainly hope she doesn't read your blog. What a way to put her down.

I don't have kids so don't think this response is coming from someone in the SAHM camp.

When you die, you aren't going to say, "Wow, I wish I had spent more time at work."

Anonymous said...

congratulations!!! Baby on board!! OMG... it got me thinking about baby shoes and I am a sucker for baby shoes. Hope everything goes smooth sailing and you'll have a healthy baby coming your way ;D

Corporate Chickee said...

Congratulations!! I can relate - due with our baby BOY in December!

I think I got my career-influence from my Dad rather than my Mom. My Mom did work full-time from the time I was in 3rd grade until just last year - she just retired! She was an elementary school teacher, and while she was great at her career, I knew early on that teaching just wasn't for me, and was more interested in my Dad's career-world!

I think my husband appreciates my hard work outside of the home, and while we would both like for me to be able to stay home and raise kids, take care of the house, etc (I wouldn't mind being a SAHM!), I do love my career and am very passionate about it. For us, being able to thrive on one income is at least 10 years away, so chances are I'll continue my working girl status for the foreseeable future! Which I'm happy and content with right now.

I also think that from time to time I impress my husband with my responsibility at work and the things I do :)

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