When it comes to helping the community, working moms make natural—if sometimes reluctant—leaders.
For 13 years of working motherhood, I’ve told anyone and everyone that when it comes to volunteering, I never lead, I follow. Need someone to head the fall fundraiser? Not me. Need someone to serve at its concession stand? Sign me up.
Is your calendar as jam-packed as mine? ’Tis the season of back to school and all the curriculum sessions, PTA meetings and, in our case, visits to prospective middle schools (it’s a stressful NYC thing) that come with it. And to think just yesterday we were scrambling to get the kids ready for summer camp!
I’ve been thinking of the past a lot lately. Maybe because we just moved to a new floor at Working Mother HQ and had to open dozens of drawers that had sat happily shut for five years.
While we’re always working for a brighter future (Paid leave! Equal pay! The day my 9-year-old and I get to school without forgetting something!), it’s always worthwhile to take a moment to breathe in the past, to consider what we have accomplished as women, mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends.
My daughter is an artist. Sketchbook in hand, she’s constantly drawing figures, family, even fish. These days she’s working on a comic book with her best pal through the magic of Google Drive. Her room is a hodgepodge of clay and colored pencils, paints and pastels.
But Gwen has always loved math and science too, and she developed a keen interest in coding at a summer camp she and her younger brother attended last year. To be honest, we chose the camp more for Owen, who loves all things digital, but it turns out I might have a true STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) girl on my hands as well.
For me, rebranding comes with a twist. Longtime readers of Working Motherknow that there have been more downs than ups in my years of battling weight. In true working-mother fashion, my kids and husband are pretty dang good at eating and playing healthy, but who isn’t? Me.
“You don’t have to sell the brownies so hard. They sell themselves.”
So said the eighth-grade mom to me as we worked concessions together before our children’s band concert. She was a font of been-there advice for me, a first-timer for all things middle school.
The other day, as I watched my son run off steam after pickup, a fellow mom strolled over to say hi. After we talked about our third graders and summer camp plans, the topic turned to work—more specifically, how to get back to it. “I planned to stay out five years,” she told me, “but now it’s seven and I’m not sure how to get back in. Do you have any advice?”