In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, WMAG pays tribute this week to our favorite working moms with sharing about “stuff my mother taught me.”
I always appreciated that my mom worked. She was a high school English teacher, which meant she usually got home in time to put a full meal on the table every evening. She also had summers off, which meant she got to spend more time than she probably really wanted with my sister and me during the hot, sticky Kansas dog days. We had it a bit easier than some families where Mom helps bring home the bacon, but still, I always knew that my mother worked. And I always knew that that was OK.
I feel lucky that I got to experience pretty much the full spectrum of what having a working mom is like. Since she couldn’t be there right when I got home from school each day, I wore a key around my neck and let myself into the house every afternoon after walking home from school. I was, literally, a latch-key kid and hey! Nobody kidnapped me, nor did I get into any nasty trouble during those alone hours. I was too busy practicing the piano – or watching cartoons and pretending to practice the piano. When Mom taught summer school, my sister and I went to a babysitter’s. We didn’t mope around and wonder whether Mom really loved us. We played with the other kids and did other normal child stuff.
The coolest days were when I had no school for whatever reason, but Mom still had to work and couldn’t find someone to watch me. On those days, I got to go to school with her. I would sit in the back of her classroom and listen to her lecture about Wuthering Heights. (How many eight-year-olds know the plots not just of Wuthering Heights, but of Jane Eyre, Macbeth, and Pride and Prejudice? Tell me I was deprived because I had a working mom. Just try it.) The older kids would treat me like a special guest. PLUS Mom would let me sneak into the faculty lounge for a bottle of soda pop. For an eight-year-old, that’s heaven.
When I grew up and got a career – then got pregnant – I always knew I would continue to work. I had few qualms about it because Mom set such a good example. Most moms work – that’s the model I’m used to, and I’m grateful that she taught it to me because it made going back to the workplace that much easier.
Of course, now I also know the challenges that Mom faced trying to juggle a job and a family. I appreciate her even more because she handled those challenges with such grace. Today, I am honest with my soon-to-be-three-year-old about the fact that Mommy works. I’m grateful to be in a career that allows a bit more flexibility than some other moms have. Still, I want her to see me pursuing and enjoying a career. As my Mom taught me, that sort of thing is important.