#TBT: On Becoming A Working Mother

When I speak at events or colleges, I often get questions from young women about how I “do it all.” They have concerns, especially, about becoming mothers and continuing their careers. They always ask about work/life balance.

In honor of the weekly social media tradition of “Throwback Thursday” (or #TBT), I thought I would share this very personal piece of my journal writing that I recently found from 2000. It is raw and honest – and you can see that I had a lot of the same fears. Two years later, I became a mother for the first time. I was terrified.

It was May 2002. I was eight months pregnant and had just moved into a new home two days earlier. I was en route to meet the new VP of Marketing at a client’s office, but because my ankles were so damn swollen (for two days – what a stressful thing like moving can do to a pregnant lady!), my then-husband had insisted I call the doctor’s office. They insisted I come in and see them. I did – and told them I was in a rush because I had a meeting to get to. They promptly told me to drive myself to the hospital because I wasn’t having a meeting with anyone but my new baby, who was on his way a month early.

I couldn’t reach my husband. I was driving myself to the hospital. My house was full of moving boxes. There was no pretty nursery set up yet. It wasn’t supposed to work like this.

I was crying, alone and afraid. But heres’ the thing I learned – and continue to be reminded of:

You get through it.

There’s a reason for that saying, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” You can’t plan it all perfectly. But don’t be afraid of the experience. If your career is important to you and motherhood is too, you can do both.

You’ll figure it out.

I did – and I’m now a single, divorced mother of two (although I do now have a loving and supportive partner in my boyfriend, who helps a LOT). I lived through it all, and you will too.

So here it is – my very raw journal entry from the year 2000, based on a writing exercise to take a word (in this case, “hunger”) and write your free-flowing thoughts on it. You can tell what was on my mind – I was navigating adulthood, parenthood, marriage, career.

I hope it helps you. Perhaps it will if you’re scared of becoming a mother, or juggling a career and parenthood, etc. Happy #TBT.

I hunger for a life that is balanced, soulful, meaningful.  I hunger to be remembered, fondly and admiringly, when I am gone.  I hunger to make a mark on the world that is original, creative and meaningful.  I hunger to understand how to do this, where to begin, or if I already have.  I hunger to be unique, interesting and someone who has bettered the world in some way.  I’m not sure why … why this is important to me.  It’s not like I’ll know after I’m gone whether or not anything was better because of me.  Perhaps though, I will make a mark on a person or a child, and allow them to live a more meaningful and poignant life.

I hunger to be a good person who is kind, loving, open and can make people feel special.  It would be great to be one of those people that make someone feel so special when they talk to you.  The kind of person that look at you so intently and pays such close attention when you talk that you feel like such an important person – you feel happy; you feel significant.

I hunger to find and discover what my heart truly wants.  The problem is I keep looking for one answer and I have a feeling there are many, numerous answers.  I want to have a career but am torn between the one I have and am successful at, or the one that I used to desire so much in my heart, that would bring me personal satisfaction in a more creative aspect.  They both bring personal satisfaction but in different ways.  One is financial and ego, the other is creative and quiet.

I also hunger to be a mother some day but am scared of it.  Scared of giving up my life’s dreams and the goals I have not yet accomplished.  Is this what being a mother means?  Does it have to do that?  It has to be selfless, right? So how can you be a mother and still pursue your lofty life goals as well?  I hunger to be a wonderful mother, as I’m sure most women do, but what if I screw up?  What if my child thinks I’m a dork, or stupid or irritating?  How must that feel?  On the other hand, it must feel so wonderful to have a child look at you as though you are the most important person in the world, the defining light in their life.  I want to be a mother but can it, will it, how does it, fit in with the other things I want as well?  Is this selfish of me?  I don’t’ want to become a mother and end up at home with the children all day, not seeing any adults that keep me stimulated in other ways with conversation and companionship, and have my husband off in the world meeting new people, experiencing new things, seeing new parts of the world.

I don’t want to be left behind.

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