Have you seen the previews for I Don’t Know How She Does It—the Sarah Jessica Parker flick about a working mom who tries to juggle her family and work life? Better yet, have you seen it? I haven’t, but I want to. That whole working-mom-with-two-small-kids thing means I’ll watch it when it finally makes its way to HBO. In the meantime, I’m loving the previews—especially the scene when the child comes home with lice.
This week a former professor of mine, Michele Weldon, wrote an insightful Op-Ed in the Chicago Tribune about the movie and the role of working moms.
It made me think about why I work. Juggling a family and a career isn’t easy, but building a successful business around my family’s needs gives me four things I need:
Income: Our family needs dual incomes to make ends meet, and my earnings help cover the necessities—mortgage, insurance, diapers, etc.—and they let us indulge in sports and enrichment classes for the kids not to mention the occasional trip to Target that exceeds my monthly budget.
Security: When I was in college I read Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money and it had a lasting impression. My biggest take away was that at some point in her life, every woman will either be single, divorced or widowed and need to be able to manage her money. A few years later I watched a friend become a widow at 24 with a young son to take care of. For me, it is important to know that I could be the sole breadwinner for my family if necessary. And, in a shaky economy, I like knowing that I could carry the weight for the family if my hubby found himself laid off.
Flexibility: I worked full time in an office until my son was 15 months old. My boss was amazing and my co-workers were incredibly supportive, but my time in the office coupled with my commute meant I was kissing my son goodbye shortly after he woke up and coming home just in time to put him to bed. I wasn’t being the kind of mom I wanted to be, so my freelance adventure began. Now I work anywhere from 30-50 hours a week, depending on my work load, but a good portion of it is at night after the kids are in bed or on the weekend when they’re having an adventure with their dad. Now my commute involves dropping my kiddos off at preschool five minutes away, then driving home and making my way downstairs to my office. I can schedule interviews and client meetings around school schedules, doctor appointments, trips to the museum and hockey lessons. Sure, writing at night means I have a lot of late nights and I need caffeine to get me through the day, but these years will go by in the blink of an eye.
An Outlet: Ultimately, my passion for my work goes much deeper than a paycheck. Whether I’m writing a tech-heavy article about refining fuel or doing a Q&A with a member of Congress, I get personal satisfaction from the interview process, the actual writing and, of course, seeing my byline.