Working Mother – a stupid expression undoubtedly created by a man, or some thin woman who still has abs and doesn’t possess one of those precious little slippery, sniveling, shrieking, leaking, scabs with feet we call children. I love motherhood, just not today, as I throw darts at my June Cleaver poster, understanding with full clarity why my mother went through forty-seven wooden spoons when I was growing up.
I don’t like the term working mom. Every mom works. I’m simply a mom with a second job, working from a home I share with my husband and a two-year-old son who has two idols – his pee-pee and Sponge Bob.
Do you think I’m sitting at my quiet desk by a flickering candle sipping a latté while I write this? Don’t make me laugh. I wrote the first paragraph on the stair-master, after learning the hard way that you can’t write on a treadmill. The second draft I wrote in the checkout line, and the final revision in stirrups at my annual pap smear, and consider yourself honored because that was my only vacation from the kid all week and I spent it with you.
I am a writer, storyteller - whatever they need within reason and even that is negotiable. Being a writer is tough, but nothing can prepare you for what happens when parenting and writing collide. And collide is the perfect word.
I still remember long baths that didn’t include posterior probes by a rubber ducky. When Enya filled the halls, not shrieks from a naked child who refuses to take off his boots and yells everything, including his favorite song about how we all use the potty –that is, everybody but him. I remember when I had never uttered a sentence with both turd and tub in it.
My story isn’t unique. I count my blessings every day that I get to be a mom and still do what I love, even if it means eating potted meat instead of filet. You see, I am not the “after” picture of success. Nor am I the “before.” I am the “during” picture – that lonely place in the middle, when you’re not sure whether to keep going or turn back. And if this is you, then hear me when I say this. Don’t give up. Don’t listen to that voice telling you that you’re not good enough - that your dream doesn’t matter.
I’m speaking to every woman who is praying for her big break or even just a tiny crack. I’ve been there. I am still there, standing beside you, whispering in your ear. You can do it. It’s not about winning the race. It’s about staying in it. It is not the most talented who become the most successful. It’s the most determined. So let nothing stand in the way of your dream. Now, go hug your kid and get back to work.