Much like one of the most amazing tennis athletes, Serena Williams, I too am somewhat of an expert in my field. Okay, so maybe I’m not internationally known and as disciplined, but that’s preferable to me haha. But now that we have something else in common, I can’t help but to glorify her outreach, outcry, and outstanding voice for those women who are penalized by society (career-wise) for starting a family. Much like me, she obviously waited until she was at a point of personal preference to become a mama. Congratulations! While I may have also missed some firsts, we personally made it clear to anyone watching our child(ren) that it isn’t the ‘first time’ until daddy or I see it…so if our child(ren) does something for the first time, don’t tell us…when one of us sees it, it’ll count as the first (thankfully, that worked very well for our sanity and guilt as parents who worked outside of the home). However, I must admit that when pregnant with #1 and #2, and immediately after birth, I consistently heard questions like What about your job? How long will you be on maternity leave? When will you go back to work? How did your employer react to you being pregnant (again)? etc. But I rarely heard questions regarding how I planned to transition into motherhood, whether I was going okay mentally and emotionally, what dreams did we have for our new child(ren) – even from folks who were already moms… I did hear such support questions from our birth team, though…from others, it was always about how I would transition back to work or what we were purchasing for the baby, etc. (no surprise since we come from such a materialistic culture).
Even now, as I’ve most recently shifted from my usual work to enjoy flexible consulting options in my field and allot some time to my tech start-up (which is actually most ideal for my skillset & realistic for my financial and retirement goals), I get asked so many odd (i.e., nosy) questions. And they came about after I mentioned that I would be spending a month home with my babies for the first time since they’ve been toddlers. These are even more reasons why a village is so important as to not be motioned to any unrealistic expectations from society. Remain focused, mamas.…yes there is a risk of dropping in professional ranking as a working mother instead of realizing that balance is so possible and women have had families since the beginning of time. Personally, my grind isn’t the same as it used to be because my perspective has changed for many reasons. Yet, I’ve positioned myself so that such changes should not hinder the quality of life I wish to contribute to our family. Know your purpose and prioritize. Yet and still, there is a huge gender disparity that discriminates against, and somewhat punishes, professional women for being moms…not to mention the physical and emotional changes that come with motherhood. So instead of inquiring about a mom’s secular gig, which I’m sure she’ll be happy to share info about (and hopefully she enjoys it like I do), maybe consider asking what her children taught her recently (I have stories for days), or what her family did for fun this past weekend. Gone are the days where many folks choose to live only to work and pass on. And if the focus shifts or God blesses her with a new career journey or trajectory, remember that she likely has her family’s (and her own) needs at the forefront of her mind. So it’s very unlikely that society needs to try to calculate how best she can maneuver. As a mama, I personally just figure out how to balance things and I tend to keep things simple with the support of my husband and tribe.
So to the many other women who ever felt the need to explain the position God’s put you in, I totally get it. As long as we are well, living with purpose, remaining humble, taken care of, and grateful, that’s what matters most.