Friday, May 12, 2000
Thoughts on motherhood from a "professional woman"
When asked to write about motherhood from the perspective of a "professional woman" my first reaction was to look over my shoulder to see who the editor was referring to. When my first daughter was born I was working full-time as a lawyer, but after about a year of working part-time it was clear to me that staying home was more important than working outside the home. Now, ten years and two more daughters later, with my youngest child about to finish first grade I am beginning to transition back into more hours spent on outside employment. So far, so good, with the economy strong and options for flexible hours, I haven't had to make many trade-offs between work and family.
What is somewhat surprising to me is that I don't perceive the trade-offs, as inevitable and as stressful as they may be, to be a bad thing. I think that part of being a good mother is being a good role model. That's one reason I like to stay active in town affairs and it's also a reason I pick up bugs, do my everyday math out loud and wield power tools. Hopefully, what my daughters see me doing will be natural to them. But I also feel that being paid for creating something of value is important. In this age when there is still a gender gap in salary, I think that is an especially important lesson for girls.
While managing time is critical, I'm more conscious of the passage of time and of my little girls growing up. I'm not and will never be a supermom; there are things I simply don't care that much about (like wrinkles, in my clothes and otherwise). But I treasure conversations like the one we had at dinner tonight about why girls in colonial times often didn't go to school, why women once weren't allowed to vote and why girls' bathing suits once looked like party dresses. I mentioned my own grandmother who only late in life learned how to write her own name. Motherhood to me means making my daughters aware of how far we've come and not letting other people's perceptions of their needs or their abilities limit them in any way.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito