21. The Face of a Working Mom

 
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I’ve been working since I was 16 - my first jobs were at McDonald’s and Gap. Over the years I’ve worked retail, in offices, I even was a docent at a museum. Working - having a job, and a career - is just part of my DNA. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a working mom, who always told me to make sure I had my education and my own career. I spent my childhood watching her rise from an admin role to a professional career in state government, while also taking classes at night and raising her family.

Growing up I didn’t know anyone who had a stay-at-home parent; or maybe I did and I just didn’t realize it. I assumed that every family had two working parents, like mine. I never gave much thought to being a working mother myself, because for the longest time I didn’t think about being a mother at all. But once I got married and committed to the idea of being a parent, I just assumed that I’d be a working mom like my mother was. The idea of staying at home didn’t appeal to me at all, so I didn’t even entertain it. And surprisingly, no one asked me if I was staying home either - I guess they all assumed I’d be a working mom too.

I spent my 12 weeks of maternity leave (fully paid, btw!) completely infatuated with my daughter, but I found myself bored around week 10 or so. Josephine was a really chill baby, and fell into an eat-play-sleep routine that left me with a lot of time on my hands. I was itching to get back to work, to adult conversations and an existence that didn’t revolve around my child. I was able to transition back to work on an abbreviated schedule, yet it still took time to just adjust to a different world that now involved daycare pickup and pumping sessions twice a day. I had moments of missing my baby girl, but I so loved the joy I felt when I picked her up, and her smile when she recognized her mama’s face.

I’m very lucky to have the privilege to be a working mom, and I wouldn’t be so successful at it without the abundance of support I receive. The company I work for is very supportive of working parents, with great policies and amenities. Changing managers has also helped a ton - I now report to a fellow working mom and her flexibility is invaluable. I also have a husband who is extremely hands on and an equitable coparent. And our daycare is the most essential part of our life, because I couldn’t be the working mom I am without knowing my daughter was in a nurturing educational environment. Josephine has gone to the same Montessori daycare for her entire life, and the teaching staff is beyond phenomenal and devoted to the children in their care. Its a little out of the way from our home now that we’ve moved, but it’s worth the drive to keep her in a nurturing environment with the friends and teachers she loves.

Being a working mom is by no means easy but I would not trade this life for anything. And one day I hope my daughter will look at me the same way I looked at my mother - in awe that she did so much and accomplished so many things in addition to raising children.

Things I Read This Week:

A New Diet Study Confirms Your Worst Suspicions About Ultra-Processed Foods (Gizmodo)

7 Ways Fear Is Holding You Back (And How To Overcome It) (Girlboss)

Ava DuVernay’s Fight to Tell the True Story of the Central Park Five (Vanity Fair)

Christians Are Upset That Incels Are Co-opting Celibacy (MEL Magazine)

These Office Etiquette Rules Will Help You Crush It At Your First Job (Girlboss)

RIP Dressbarn, The Worst Named Clothing Store (Jezebel)

The Cost of Being Disabled (Design*Sponge)

my coworker wants the company to pay for a week-long sex romp with his fired girlfriend (Ask A Manager)

How the Instagram Era Changed Boudoir Photography (MEL Magazine)

Beyond the Hype of Lab-Grown Diamonds (Deadspin)

Hospitals Are Performing Episiotomies Way Too Often, Despite Decades of Warnings (Jezebel)

You Don’t Need to Meet Every Qualification to Apply for a Job (Harvard Business Review)

Another Twitter Thread on Abortion (Design Mom)

End the Plague of Secret Parenting (The Atlantic)

Be Upfront About Your Parenting Responsibilities in the Workplace (Lifehacker)

Amazon Goes Full Black Mirror by Turning Grueling Warehouse Work Into a Video Game (Gizmodo)

“I Flew Too Close to the Sun. No Question. Icarus”: Inside the Epic Fall of Michael Avenatti (Vanity Fair)

Reddit Asks the Question: 'Which Propaganda Effort Was So Successful People Still Believe It Today?' (Pajiba)

Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing (ProPublica)

Other Stuff:

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Last year I got a pair of Yummie Rachel high-waisted leggings on the recommendation of a blogger, and they quickly became my fave pair of leggings. I just got two new pairs and they are an absolute dream to wear.

How did you feel about the Game of Thrones finale? It ended the way I expected it to, so I can’t complain. Overall I wish the final season had gone differently but this Wired piece breaks down how the show evolved, and why this season has been so difficult for people. We got an end to the story, maybe not the end we wanted, but it’s nice to have some finality.

Also Pose is on Netflix now, so if you didn’t watch it before, you definitely need to watch it now. And Billy Porter is a got damn LEGEND and a national treasure.

Enjoy your holiday weekend and make sure you take a moment to acknowledge the sacrifice made by fallen soldiers this Memorial Day!