Reflections On Professional Moms

by Dual Income No Kids on June 17, 2009 · 0 comments

Hi All,

I’ve been thinking over issues about women in the workforce lately, particular working moms. I have a couple of different examples floating around in my head.

First, you have my twin sister, who headed back to work a month ago after her maternity leave. She’s been on leave since late January, but has been working limited hours from home for the past six weeks or so. She’ll be dropping her three month old and three year old off at day care, and starting back at three days a week for a month or so, and then back to full time after that.

Next, you have a colleague that I would have shared an office with. We overlapped for my first three days while she prepared for maternity leave. She has my same job for another region in Africa. She has decided not to return to the office and to take some time off. She says that there was definitely some pressure as a professional woman to go back to work, but she figured that this time with her son was worth it even if they have to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Then, you have my college roommate who has chosen to be a stay at home mom, homeschooling her seven year old and three year old. She is very creative and values her time as a mom. While I haven’t heard her mention going back to work in many years, I do wonder at the barriers that would be against her. With only a couple of year’s experience at entry level jobs she would have a difficult time competing for anything further up on the food chain, even with a high quality liberal arts degree and excellent grades.

Lastly, my friend shared with me about a good friend of hers who has continued with her traveling lifestyle even with kids. The legend was breast pumping around the globe and carrying along baggies of breast milk just to continue to nurse her child. She has managed to continue frequent travel from only a few months after giving birth, thanks to a supportive husband and a full-time nanny. The child is loved, well-cared for, happy, and well-adjusted.

And then I look to myself and wonder. I still can’t say. The debate has to whether to have children, and when, continues around this household. At soonest it would be several years from now, but I still can’t help but consider the impacts the decision to have, or not have, would have on our general lives and in particular my career. My drive for working internationally makes this debate even more difficult.

My parents made it a point to find a good place to raise kids and stay there for the twelve years it took to graduate from high school. In fact, they are still there today. That stability I grew up with I know was foundational in who I am. I respect my parents for making the choices that they did, but I also wonder if I could ever do the same. I guess the flip side of having the geographical stability would be the learning experience of growing up in an internationally oriented world.

It’s hard to say, the jury is still out. I figure I’m not the only professional woman mulling around with these thoughts, so I thought I’d share.

Readers: I’d love to hear from you about being a professional mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Miel

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