The Mommy Wars: A Single, Working Momís Perspective
by Stephanie Rich
Moms come in all shapes and sizes, but you canít really judge a mom by her shape or size. Nor can you judge a mom by her marital status: married, divorced, widowed, never married or re-married with a blended family. And you canít judge a mom because of her choices to go to work, stay at home or work at home. But thatís what the Mommy Wars are all about, isnít it?
What would happen if we laid down our differences in shape, size, family make-up and career and focused on what we have in common? Our common denominator is being a mom. Only a mom knows her childís cry, laugh, struggles, hurts, growing pains, potential and love.
I believe every mom is different and that the Mommy Wars need a time-out. We need to set aside our judgmental mindset and take the time to understand, accept and learn from others who are different than us. Hereís a snapshot of what my world looks like as a single, working mom.
When you become a single mom, whether itís through divorce, being widowed or never being married, itís not what you had planned. But motherhood is still a tremendous blessing. You can choose to look at life as a struggle or as a challenge and an opportunity for something wonderful. I chose the latter.
A few years after becoming a single mom, I had to go back to work. Not being with my son was about the hardest thing Iíve ever done. But my job was to provide for my family financially. I trusted God and have seen his blessings as he provided great teachers, loving family members and friends to be a part of his life.
Families come in different sizes, too. My family includes my son and me, plus my parents and sister, her husband and their girls. Weíre committed to being there for one another and helping each other. But single motherhood can be lonely without a community of other families. Please donít ever feel awkward about asking a single mom over for dinner Ė she needs the support and love.
Granted there are times when being single is hard. I canít rely on my husband to fix the toilet, or kill a big, ugly spider or give me a hug after a long, hard day. But, Iím blessed with hugs from my son and our times of laughter. Iím also learning more about myself, knowing my passions, strengths, weaknesses and dreams and taking time to develop them.
Iíve learned many interesting things about the working world, too. Dressing up is not all itís cracked up to be, but itís fun to have two wardrobes. Getting adult time is good, but it can be draining to be in meetings all day. Climbing up the corporate ladder sometimes means less flexibility with schedules. Plus the stress and the vulnerability to layoffs can increase. And even though Iím working, I canít turn off being a mom. Iím always available when my son needs me.
Balancing family, work and life is hard for me to do well. Sometimes one area demands more of my time than the others. For example, one day last spring, I had a full schedule of meetings at work and was under a lot of pressure to get a big project done. Two hours after Iíd dropped my son off at school, the nurse called and told me he was sick to his stomach. Trying to determine whether he was really sick or not, I said, ďDoes he have a fever? Did he throw up?Ē After I spoke with him by phone though, I realized he really did need me; he was sick! In just five minutes, I had to realign my mindset and the dayís schedule and go pick him up from school.
Thank you for taking some time to learn about my life as a single, working mom and to think about what we have in common. After all, regardless of our shape, size, family make-up and careers, weíre all just moms!
Stephanie Rich thrives at working in marketing for non-profit ministries. When sheís not at the office, she keeps up with her son by hiking, swimming, biking, playing basketball, soccer and baseball. She enjoys time for herself by writing, reading and visiting with friends over coffee.