A New Generation of Working Moms
April 11, 2011
© Sheila Rintels
In case you haven’t heard me mention it before: Being a working mom is the hardest job on earth. Straddling two worlds, and in my case two drastically different worlds, is a very tough balance to strike at times. It took me a while to find my groove after going back to work, but at some point during the last 16 months I found it. I think I’ve finally figured out how to be good at both things: When I’m at work, I am fully committed 150 percent; and when I’m home I give my son and husband my undivided attention, too (I call it compartmentalizing). Somehow, somewhere I have found more than 24 hours in the day to get everything done. There’s always room for improvement, of course—when it comes to myself, I should carve out more time to eat three healthy meals a day; work out regularly; cut my hair; get a wax once in a while; go to bed before 1 a.m. Say hi to the dog. You get the idea.
For the most part, though, I’ve stopped complaining about the lack of “me” time, and all the other stuff I used to complain about. One reason is that things have been going very well with our nanny. Good childcare is the key ingredient to making it all work when you’re out of the house five days a week. Another key ingredient for me being a full-time WOHM is the support of my spouse: co-parenting is absolutely essential when both Mom and Dad keep hectic schedules. And equally essential is allowing each other to have a break once in a while. I’ve been giving myself time outs lately, and sometimes just a few minutes of alone time is all it takes to recharge me. The support of family is necessary too. I don’t know what I’d do without it. We’ve been through a lot this year, and I couldn’t have gotten through it without help from our family.
One of the other reasons I haven’t totally lost my mind being a full-time working mom is that I actually like where I’m going and what I’m doing every day. That’s pretty key too. Even during the crazy times at work—which is always—I relish every moment, because I know how lucky I am to have a job I love that keeps challenging me. And I’ve given myself permission to like working, even as a mom. I’ve stopped beating myself up about the fact that I’m out of the house so much during the week—frankly, I think it actually makes me appreciate the time I spend with Preston more. I don’t take any of it for granted, the family or the job.
Another thing that keeps me going is the working moms I am fortunate to be friends and acquaintances with. These women inspire me to keep doing what I love every day. I profiled four such women recently for an article for Michigan Avenue Magazine, a local glossy in Chicago (read their profiles and see adorable pics of their kids). Among them, a vice president at Fidelity Investments (Jen Hanau), a chief pediatric resident at the University of Chicago (Nikki Orlov), a successful boutique owner (Krista Meyers), and an entrepreneurial fashion and pop culture blogger (if you haven’t heard of Dana Weiss by now, a.k.a. The Possessionista, you’ve been living under a rock). These women are in their 30s, with one, two or three kids, climbing the career ladder and paving their own way, and kicking butt as moms too.
After interviewing these local “power moms” for the article, I promised my husband I would never complain about my schedule again (my friend Jen at Fidelity travels weekly for her job and doesn’t complain about it!). They inspired me, and I hope they’ll inspire you.
There are many other women that I didn’t get to profile for the piece whom I’d like to raise my glass of mommy juice to, because these moms inspire me to work hard and be a great mom first and foremost: The mother of all working moms, and my mom, Fran (a.k.a. Granny Franny), who I like to refer to as my "Media Mogul Mom." She retired a few years ago after 30 successful years in broadcasting, while also raising two kids—she is the reason I know I can manage this life and still be a good mom. And one of my best friends Sheila, a special ed teacher and tutor with endless amounts of energy, passion and patience, and a single mom to one of the most adorable little guys I know, Preston’s best buddy Coby (see photo above, ever seen a cuter pair?). And so many more moms who are proving that it is very possible to do the proverbial juggle of working motherhood, like Stephanie, Lauren, Stacey, Leila, Katy, Kiran, Liz, Rachel, Lana, Jamie, Lori, Ali, Julie and Ana, to name just a few.
Being a “working mom” used to have a certain stigma attached to it, I thought. But now I see it as a badge of honor, thanks to my peers who serve as proud reminders that I’m not alone in this crazy, time-crunched world.