Since announcing our move to Maryland, coupled with the big reveal that we’re expecting a baby in April, one of the most common responses I get is, “Wow that’s a lot of change! New city, new baby! And what’s your next job lead?”
I repeat, “Mother!”
Then there is usually an awkward giggle and apology for any misinterpretation of assuming new baby wasn’t “work” – but it does not offend me. I have been working since I was 14 years old – first babysitting, followed by a short stint at an ice cream parlor, which led to many gigs in the restaurant and retail industry, until I finally nestled into the communications career path I dreamed of. It has been a blur ever since.
Along this journey, my work has defined me. So it only makes sense that I would strive to be one of today’s modern superwomen juggling it all. That is what I’ve always pictured of myself; I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but I’ve also always been relentlessly in pursuit of my own passions.
I was updating my resume in preparation for our move to Maryland. Then I got a positive pregnancy test – six positive pregnancy tests, actually (reporter habit of needing to fact-check). Suddenly, looking for my next job lead slipped down my list of priorities as I began frantically researching anything and everything about parenthood.
Normal anxiety I’m sure, but the pressure really piles on when 1). You’ve never had any experience with babies, and 2) You’re a military spouse and don’t get to live by your family for needed help. If and when your partner deploys, you have to be ready to switch to single parent mode, too.
Since I invest so deeply in the work that’s on my plate, I began to invest 110% in preparing for this baby. That’s when I realized, I’m not giving up my career. I have just been given an enormous promotion – with pretty horrible benefits. Our household income will be cut in half; I won’t get any paid time off, and the hours will be 24/7. But the reward of bringing a life into this world is something I can’t even begin to fathom.
I finally let my half-updated resume slide as I’ve found peace of mind in that my next “job lead” is becoming the best mother I can be. This doesn’t mean that I won’t eventually be back on the market for something with better benefits, becoming that modern superwoman that I’ve always dreamed of, it just means that right now, that’s not an attainable balance for my growing little family on the move.
First thing’s first, I need to figure out this whole mommy thing. But I will say, I’ve never felt more supported or encouraged by this amazing, unspoken network that exists between mothers. Where women in the workforce are creating new networking events trying to bring needed levels of support for women in the workplace, there is no shortage of this network in motherhood, and this has been incredibly uplifting to experience.