Monday, September 3, 2007

The Mommy Track

I am not a mommy, but someday I will be.

My father has a subscription to U.S. News and World Report. The cover story of last week's (Sep. 3, 2007) issue caught my eye, "The New Mommy Track." Here was the lead-in on the cover page, "The old rules didn't work, so more women are finding ways to change them. Neither superwomen, nor soccer moms, mothers are negotiating flexible schedules or finding entrepreneurial solutions to the career-family dilemma." To read the complete series by Kimberly Palmer, click here.

The article features a lawyer, several women in sales and management, and a few who started their own businesses. Sadly, no minorities were featured, but I think that ties in directly to an observation found under the heading "No Leverage" in the related article, How Moms Get on Track. "Women working in low-skilled jobs, on the other hand, usually find flexibility only by lucking into employers who accept it, says Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of Mommy Wars. 'Men and women at the lowest income levels don't have any leverage', she says."

A disproportionate number of the AA population have not been able to take advantage of educational opportunities that grant us the luxury of bargaining with our employers. Too many of us are just glad to have a job (or 2 or 3) that pays the bills and are struggling to keep it (them).

That needs to change. When any one of us figures out a formula for success, we need to share it with one another, and freely.


muslimahlocs said...

thanks for the article (fyi...the link needs to be fixed though). unfortunately, the legal profession is still dominated by dinosaurs who are averse to non-traditional work schedules. the good news is that like dinosaurs, these gate-keepers are on the road to becoming extinct.

my formula for success was to marry someone who shared my values with respect to child-rearing. we both wanted our children to have at least one parent at home. we would really like to both be at home with our children but we have not figured that one out yet considering that we were not born with trust funds and do have to eat, pay bills, etc. we just downscaled. if we both worked we could give really large but we believe that our children would suffer. so we decided to live a lot smaller but smarter and devote ourselves to rearing our brilliant HMC.
before marriage, i worked crazy 10-12 hour days like most lawyers. i am glad those days are over!

blackrussian said...

I was on my high school year book staff. My freshman year I discovered that I absolutely adored layout and publishing. (I already knew how much I loved to read and write!)

I was discouraged from entering the industry by the 60 hr work weeks. It's not that I'm lazy or didn't want to 'pay my dues,' but I believe that spending that much time on secular work to acquire money to purchase THINGS is bad for the human spirit. I think it separates us from the divine and distracts us from what's important, like family and worship and relationships.

Dabbled momentariy in IT earlier on. Same story. And then I rediscovered teaching and volunteer work. But then I was broke.

So...I'm at the point in life where I know what I love and I know what's important, but I'm still trying to find the balance. So that I CAN do what I love and still eat and pay the bills (and, you know, travel and dress fly...;-)

Thanks for telling me about the link. All fixed. (I usually check them myself.)

n'Drea said...

When we worked together some years ago, my closest friend and mentor left her job when her first child was diagnosed with meningitis. I'll always remember when she called me at 4:00 a.m. in tears. Today, that little girl is succeeding at her studies by leaps and bounds. Her mind is hungry for more and more knowledge.

My friend left her job to become a stay-at-home mother. I stood by her as her friends, some family members and former colleagues bashed her for her choice. Some called her worthless, leaving a secure job to depend on her husband. She homeschooled the first two and they are presently in the educational system, doing exceptionally well. The third child is being homeschooled, and the last one, a baby, will follow suit before they, too, enter the traditional schooling system.

Now, the ones who put her down, are eating their words. Some have even asked her for advice, and a couple have said they, too, are going to become stay-at-home mothers. The critics said that she and her family wouldn't make it. But God said and did otherwise. God blessed her husband and her to buy their own home a few years ago. Now, she is working on starting her own business as a decorator and wedding planner. She has already done a few jobs, and is getting business by word of mouth.

I'm so proud of her, because I've seen what she has been through. In this materialistic world, where your success is defined by your educational achievements, size of your bank account, status on the social ladder, area where you live, and the type of vehicle you drive, it's not easy to make the decision she did. It could not have been easy to handle the criticism she faced. Some women, especially, may look at her choice as the unthinkable, unforgiveable crime, because of former years of oppression, and the pressure fopr a woman to prove herself in a man's world, and to be twice as good, or even better. But this is where you have to know yourself and what you want in life, and do what's best for YOU, and/or your family. It's not about pleasing people, or following the crowd. Sometimes, you have to just forget people and march to your own beat.

I keep telling her she's more than just a stay-at-home mother or housewife. She's an inspiration to me, and in her own way has changed the whole concept of what she does. Her husband and children are proud of her and love her dearly. And that, to me, is worth far more than a six-figure income or a row of awards on a shelf. She has invested, and is now reaping the fruits of her labour.

Lawks, BR, mi a tek ova from yu. LOL.

n'Drea said...

P.S. Her first child was diagnosed with meningitis as a baby. She's now 7.

Y'know, if I ever become a mother - I hope to have one of my own (because of the age factor), and then adopt another after - I'm prepared to take a year off to bond with my baby. What would be even better is if by then, I'm working on my own from home. That's a dream I have.