Why Working Moms Should Celebrate Themselves as Role Models
In case you didn't know, March is "Women's History Month." It's nice to have official recognition for the contributions we women have made to American history. Of course, I knew nothing of this nod to our historic Girl Power until my son brought home a flier from school inviting moms to come in and talk about their careers during the month of March.
I immediately seized on the idea of being my son's "Show and Tell." For all of the times Jonah has begged me to be Crossing Guard Mom, Recess Mom and Cafeteria Mom, and I haven't been able to justify time off work to help open milk cartons - now I could officially and proudly be Career Mom.
I emailed Jonah's teacher my thoughts and a little lesson plan for my debut. In honor of Women's History Month, I felt I owed it to my fellow sisters who came before me to create an appropriate and engaging presentation. In other words, I should create a fun project to do...preferably involving candy.
Ms. Mehl asked Jonah to introduce me to his class. My very shy son, hid almost underneath my armpit, twirling the bottom of my cashmere turtleneck when he quietly said to his class, "this is my mom."
And so it began. I talked about my career as a journalist, what we do and how and why we report on stories and people. For our project, I decided that the class should interview Ms. Mehl. In between learning about Ms. Mehl's favorite foods, sports and books, she also told the class that she loved her job as a teacher almost as much as she loved being a mommy to her three kids. Ms. Mehl was perfect - we were both on message.
Interestingly, even though many moms in Jonah's class work, I was only one of three who came in to speak. I can appreciate that if you're a corporate lawyer or an accountant, getting children to appreciate your career can be tough. Kids love to hear about entertainment, television and famous people so I fared well. But what I was reminded of again after leaving the class and having several kids say that maybe they would be journalists when they grew up, was that by being a Stay-at-Work Mom (whatever your career) you are acting as a role model for your children.
Because of my schedule, I can never be the Crossing Guard Mom and while I've promised Jonah to supervise recess one day this year, I will never be the regular Recess Mom. But I am a Career Mom and in Jonah's own shy way, I know that as he sat there in his class taking notes, he felt very proud to call me his mom.
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