I am a Mom. I wear that label proudly, passionately, and joyfully. I am also an executive. I worked hard for that title, and I do that proudly and passionately, too. It doesn’t make me special. Nor does it make me a bad mother. There are millions of working Moms. We aren’t Tiger Women, too selfish to give up our designer shoes and “stay home to raise our children” and we aren’t poor, downtrodden women who know we would be better mothers, if only we weren’t forced to work against our will, even those of us who work primarily for the money.
We are accomplished. We are uber-efficient. And we are strong. (cue Helen Reddy music). We are also insecure (Am I doing this right?), overloaded and exhausted. But we are a sisterhood. We don’t meet every Tuesday morning at playgroup, or get together to make homemade, organic baby food at each other’s houses. We probably aren’t in a book club (unless voracious consumption of email counts as a book) and we aren’t in the gaggle in the school parking lot. A cell phone is a lifeline, not a fashion accessory.
We are a wolfpack. We support each other, often wordlessly while clutching a Starbucks cup. We are the moms who know a child is most likely to projectile vomit as you are hugging them goodbye on your way to the airport, and all of your clothes are at the dry-cleaners. Raging high fevers appear most often on the day of important client meetings. (And we know that you NEVER, EVER, schedule one of those on October 31). We hide poster board between our mattress and box spring for emergency uses when a project is forgotten about until 9 p.m.
We understand that pancakes, or Lucky Charms, are a perfectly acceptable dinner. And that (gasp) store-bought cupcakes work equally well for a bake sale. We are the living proof that you can make New York to California and back a day trip if there is a recorder concert featuring Hot Cross Buns, played in the round, tomorrow. (Yes, I really did that!)
We smile patiently when Moms at school tell us how lucky we are that we “get to go to work” and talk to grownups all day, and “go the gym” at lunch time. (Note: yesterday, lunch time was 4 p.m., and unless scarfing French fries with a colleague is a workout, and I missed the memo – gym at lunch may be the biggest myth ever.) And we gently remind the orthodontist that only offering appointments on Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4p.m. isn’t particularly customer-friendly.
Nothing strikes terror in our hearts like an unplanned school closure, except perhaps a request for a meeting from the teacher. (“Johnny is acting out in class. I know you work, but…..”) Forget December, September and June are the most stressful months of the year. Hands down.
My first baby is turning 18 next month. I was the first Mom to have a baby and return to work at my agency. I pretty much made it up as I went along. My entire frame of reference was Baby Boom and Clair Huxtable. Luckily, I’ve had mentors, colleagues and clients figuring it out with me. They have been my “Mommy Wolfpack” – they’ve inspired me, encouraged me, laughed and cried with me. And they’ve given me the swift kick in the pants when I’ve needed some tough love. Because this is what Moms do – we mother. We even mother each other.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there. And to my Mommy Wolfpack – this is my ode to you. You know who you are.