Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Free to Be You and Me

The other night at MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), our mentor mom (a mom who's already raised her children and serves to provide support for us newer moms), inquired about my recent job interview.  I told her about the position and the other details; it required a B.A. and five years professional experience.  I mentioned that I have an M.A. and over ten years professional experience.

She was surprised because she thought I didn't look old enough to have all that under my belt - she thought I looked 25.  What an ego boost!  Then I mentioned that as a matter of fact, I also had 6 years in the military and three kids.  So basically, I've kicked ass AND took names.  Which led me to the point of wanting to continue to work while raising my kids.
Stock Image - Business Woman With Cellphone 6921
© Photographer: Ken Hurst |
Agency: Dreamstime.com

She was surprised and mentioned that no one seems to value just being a mom anymore.  That it's almost looked down upon for a mom to stay at home with her kids.  That women weren't even allowed to work when they became pregnant in her day.  "You stayed home and never returned to work again."  "My mom stayed home with us and I enjoyed having her home with us kids."

Where to begin?  I listened and then politely told her that when I was growing up in the 70s, it was expected for women to attend college and have careers.  (At least in my part of the world - the Pacific Northwest.)  Having a family and being a housewife wasn't pushed on us.  At least that was never my experience.  My mom worked throughout my life and raised us as a single mom - that was my model.

I explained that the women who came before me had already fought for women's liberation and my generation took it for granted that college and the workforce was the norm.  I didn't say more about it, the conversation changed, but I know my friend who was sitting next to me was biting her tongue.  She's a single, working mom - gasp!

I don't take offense to her questions and point-of-view.  It just strengthens my resolve to be a role model to my daughters and other young girls who have passions and aspirations other than being moms.  I don't feel it's bad to be 'just' a stay-at-home mom, but if you have the drive to be something, you shouldn't feel limited or judged for continuing your career when you become a mom.  It's also nice to have a network of friends who are also working moms that understand the unique challenges and that can cheer you up when you're feeling particularly guilty.

I remember vividly in grade school choir, listening to the 1972 album Free to Be You and Me and I loved it! All of the songs center around equal rights for men and women and they are incredibly fun and entertaining.  I've introduced my chickadees to it and we love singing along to the songs.   To partially explain my reasoning for not being a domestic goddess as well as my drive to succeed, I can thank Free to Be You and Me!
World's Best Girl-Power Album
Take a trip down memory lane for your listening pleasure:
1. Free to Be...You and Me
2. Boy Meets Girl
3. When We Grow Up
4. Don't Dress Your Cat in an Apron
5. Parents Are People
6. Housework
7. Helping
8. Ladies First
9. Dudley Pippin and the Principal
10. It's All Right to Cry
11. Sisters and Brothers
12. My Dog Is a Plumber
13. William's Doll
14. Atalanta
15. Grandma
16. Girl Land
17. Dudley Pippin and His No-Friend
18. Glad to Have a Friend Like You
19. Free to Be...You and Me (Reprise)

5 comments:

  1. Do you suppose you may be jumping to conclusions by assuming she was pushing her opinion about being "just a mom" on you? I think in this day and age, it's pretty OK for a mom to do what she feels is best for her life and her kids.
    And P.S. I LOVE the differences in our opinions, that's why I find you just so darn attractive. ;)

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  2. I love that you find me so attractive, Desiree! :)

    I don't think she was trying to push an agenda or opinion on me at all. It just reminded me of so many conversations I've had in the past. I'm not a die hard working mom - I'm struggling for a good balance between the two.

    I'm actually growing adjusted and enjoying my new at-home role and getting a good routine going! But shhh - don't tell!

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  3. I don't care if anyone values whether a me being a stay-at-home Mom is important enough. The only thing I care about is that my children love me being home and it is the most valuable thing to them in their life. :)

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  4. That's a great perspective! I'm not sure mine value my domestic short-comings.

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  5. Interesting, I am an RN with a Master's degree....I CHOSE to stay home with my kids....I wanted them to have consistency since my husband's work schedule is so erratic and intense...these years are so precious and important to them...I KNOW I can always go back...but I do believe that whether a woman wants to pursue her career while raising a family or stay home, it's her choice and there should be absolutely no judgment

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