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By Florence Ann Romano
People say that everything changes when you have a baby. I know every parent reading this is nodding their head and saying: “yeah, tell me about it!” Your life is no longer your own and your thoughts now encapsulate one thing: the life you are now in charge of for the rest of your days (or at least the next 18 years or so).
Society today is far more progressive than it ever has been and we are seeing enormous changes regarding the traditional family structures that have preceded us. Women are ruling the work place; and how lucky I am to live in a time where I can soak up that beautiful and historical moment! But, with great change comes great responsibility (and even more multitasking.) Good thing women are, I believe, genetically granted the supreme super power of juggling a plethora of things—and doing it with rock-star prowess!
Women have proven they can have it ALL: marriage; children and a career. I am blessed to watch my closest girlfriends do this with such grace and stunning composure. A big “heck yeah” to them! But, how do they do it? And, if a woman chooses to have children and a career, it begs the question: what happens to the kids?
You’re in the majority
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that among married couples with children, both parents are employed in nearly 60% of those families. The truth is that millions of young children need to be cared for while their parents are at work. These millions of children deserve an explanation as to why Mom or Dad doesn’t stay home with them—and parents deserve to gain peace of mind as they leave their most precious possessions in the hands of a stranger.
Children need communication. No matter their age, language and the emotion attached to it are very important. As you sit down to explain to your children why they have a nanny, give them the chance to voice their feelings on the subject—whether they are afraid, excited, nervous or anything else, it’s crucial that they know you’re listening and have an answer. Always reinforce that you love them, and hate saying goodbye—but, it costs money to buy clothes, put food on the table, go to the movies, go to the doctor, etc. Explain to them that Mom and Dad work to give them all these things and they love them enough to give them someone else in their life to love them, too!
The working mom is a gorgeous and brave creature – whether you have to work or you want to work, that is YOUR choice; and it’s not up to me, other moms, or society to judge you. But as a former nanny of 15 years, I saw first-hand that it wasn’t necessarily society that was giving moms the third-degree – they were giving it to themselves. Moms were their own harshest critic, and I would watch them drowning in self-inflicted guilt.
My reassuring message to working moms out there
You are brave, you are strong, you are brilliant, you are beautiful, you are kind, you are compassionate, you are loved, you are adored, you are worshipped, you are role models, and YOU LOVE YOUR CHILDREN.
You have nothing to prove. Nothing.
By getting up, dressing up, and showing up to work every day, you are giving your children something to look up to; something to admire and something to strive for – you are showing them what can’t be taught in a classroom. You are living proof that you can be whoever you want to be. You can keep dreaming, building, and growing no matter your age, race, or socioeconomic status. You were given life to live it, and you are teaching your children – through example – to do the same.
When you get down on yourself, I like to tell moms to think about what their children will write in their future Mother’s Day cards. It won’t be words of disdain, hate, or criticism. It will be words of thanks, love, and praise. They will be able to write these words because of the mom you are. And beyond that – the person you are … the full person. And, wow – isn’t that something? I don’t even know you and I am proud of you! Now, it’s time you be proud of you.