Working mothers remains a hot debate. Whether you stay home and raise your children, or work outside the home while you partner with your spouse, motherhood and work when spoken in the same breath seems to touch a nerve. Why? Is it because the “sisterhood” is breaking down? Are we turning on one another? Eating our own?
Perhaps we’ve simply lost touch with our common purpose, motherhood. No one can be a mother, but a woman. People can “mother” and “nurture,” but there is no replacement for women. There is also no replacement for feeding our families, and feeding our souls. Should we be forced to give up our professional dreams as we raise our children? Should we be criticized for pursuing our passion if it takes us outside of the home when our children are young?
It’s a question I’ve lived with for many years. I began my life as a career-minded young woman. I secured a good position with a medical sales company and worked for ten years before facing the question. Should I give up my position to stay home and raise my children?
Fortunately for me, I also discovered my passion for writing. It was an easy overlap as I progressed through my second childbirth. 🙂
That’s when I stayed home for good. I stayed home because I wanted to be with my children. I wanted to be the one who cared for them, laughed with them, enjoyed each and every moment with them. But I never lost my desire to work and produce. In fact, it’s one of the best things about my garden! Kids don’t hand out awards, financial or otherwise, when Mom does a great job. They don’t recognize your achievements with promotions or bonuses. They simply smile, give you a hug and draw you a picture.
And sometimes that’s enough. For a while. But when they grow older and begin to live their own lives, you find yourself with time on your hands. For me, I filled it with writing. But not everyone has the flexibility that I did. Not everyone made the choices I made. Does that make them wrong?
Condemn Me Not is my latest release and explores this very topic. Veering from my romantic fiction, this one is all about the mothers and daughters. While I adore romance, women’s issues are near and dear to my heart, as is fleshing them out!
Would love to hear your opinions…;)
At fifteen, I worked at a local hot dog eatery despite the fact that I hated hot dogs. Scooping sauerkraut out of huge bins didn’t help my attitude. I loved earning a wage and got my first lesson in taxes. You’ll be happy to know that I left the hot dog business and went through a weird phase in college where I ate one every day for two months (go figure).
While in high school I also worked in a discount clothing store. I was amazed to discover how many people left the clothes they’d tried on scattered around the dressing room. To this day, I never leave clothes behind in a dressing room and always return them neatly arranged on the hanger. We’d all do well to follow this rule.
The summer before I left for college, I delivered newspapers to several apartment complexes. All I can say of this experience is, “What the hell were my parents thinking?” I would arrive at the warehouse at 3 am and stuff papers into their plastic sleeves. I would then drive (in pre-dawn dark) to my complexes and (with my car running) sprint inside the interior buildings, tossing papers at subscribers’ doors. It’s a wonder I wasn’t abducted or that my car wasn’t stolen!
I bagged groceries for two weeks in college and now use my vast knowledge of bagging etiquette to critique the baggers on my almost daily runs to the grocery store. My last two years of college I waited tables at a pizza joint that is now a topless bar. My husband, whom I met in college, gets a big kick out of telling people I used to work in a strip club!
The latter part of my working years were spent in the non-profit sector where I learned there is a lot of waste in government (shocking, I know) and there are many people doing an enormous amount of good work for others. I left the non-profit world to take on my most challenging job to date, stay-at-home mom. Every day is like ground hog day and yet no two days are the same. Does that make sense? I learn more from my kids than they learn from me and while the pay is abysmal, the benefits are too great to mention.
So what about you? Take a walk down memory lane and let me know how some of your jobs affected you.