I sat in the planning meeting with some brilliant women, only two of us having young children. The other younger mother said, "We should do cupcakes because schools frown upon bringing a whole cake as a treat...all the cutting and serving. Moms do cupcakes."
I'd been at the food magazine for about two years and my daughter was just over six months old. I hadn't known that about moms and cupcakes.
The conversation continued along the lines of guessing at what moms make and want to make for their children's birthday treats.
I didn't contribute much. All I could think was, "I don't want to be here talking about what moms do, I want to be at home doing those things."
I couldn't shake it.
I have so much to tell you.
I can't believe I haven't blogged about it at length yet, but I left that job. I was an editor, and oh, man, was that fun. It just wasn't right anymore. It didn't work with my life as a mom.
It wasn't a job I could leave at the office, which is funny, because it wasn't like I was saving lives. I was providing entertainment (and recipes) to the masses. But every time I cooked, every time I thought about or talked about or ate food, I thought of work.
That didn't work with my life as a mom.
Everyone at the magazine was so supportive of my leaving. I was shocked. Many said, "You're so lucky to be able to work part-time." And this is true. And while I have a hard time taking credit for some things, I have to allow myself the credit of being brave enough to leave a full-time paycheck for a part-time one. I have to allow myself that because part of me still feels a little like I failed at being a working mom.
Just before my last day at the old job, I confided in my sister. "I'm scared. I'm worried about money. Would I be a better mom to bring in more money and security for my daughter or a better mom to be at home and spend more time with her?"
My sister laughed and said, "Don't even worry about it. If the math works out, you'll adjust. You just can't shop at Anthropologie anymore."
(I have to tell you that I only used to shop Anthropologie SALE items, but yeah, I have cut that shit out.)
I know some women who define themselves as stay-at-home moms who happen to have a part-time job. I know some women who work part-time and define themselves as working moms.
It's been said before because it's true: Every mom is a working mom. Yes, some have it harder than others. Single moms who detest leaving their babies every day and work through postpartum depression without a father in the picture have it incredibly harder than moms who choose to work because they recharge at work and feel they add value to their families and the world at large by working. And the mom who stays at home and doesn't have to work because her husband makes a lot of money and abuses his family? See? It's pointless to compare experiences of motherhood. I'm sick of even writing about this.
I'm making my life–and my motherhood–what I want it to be, or it least it feels like that today. And today, I'm going to hold onto that and I'm going to be happy.
Now, I'm working at a nonprofit balancing two departments on a part-time schedule. It's been working out great. It's closer to home, it abuts a nature conservancy which just brings peace to my heart when I look out the windows and see grassland and water and turkeys. And today, I heard back about a posting my new company had made seeking a proofreader. It seems they're all on board (fingers crossed) with my taking on proofreading responsibilities, which is oddly fun for me. It looks like I may be able to shape this job into something I love and am really good at. (I'm great at proofreading except when it comes to blog posts. I swear. Don't judge. It's a blog forcryingoutloud.)
I haven't made cupcakes since I quit, but I've been playing with my daughter, managing our budget, grocery shopping with the elderly in the afternoons and baking lots of bread and cookies. Does that count?