Help wanted: female, non-judgmental, with great humility. Applicant needs to be a nurturer, educator, practitioner of extreme patience, composer of on the spot lullabies to soothe the wailing soul of a baby, and determined enough to ensure a child grows up able to take on the world. The list is endless when it comes to the requirements needed for this life-long job of being a mom.
This series is not so much about what women have provided humanity by bringing forth life for… well, as long as humanity has existed. We are all well aware of the invaluable contributions women have made to society in that regard.
But rather this series focuses on what happens to the “woman” we were before we were moms. What happens after our kids reach an age when you only see them first thing in the morning or for a split second to say goodnight? Or when kids go off to college and try to live on their own. How about when your children can only squeeze you in for Sunday dinner? We raised them to be independent and should be proud they are embarking on this new and important journey, but it doesn’t make the experience any less painful. There will be important choices they will make and experiences gained. While we should always guide our children, ultimately their life is their own.
So what about our choices and experiences? For some, becoming a mother at a very young age is what transitioned them into a mature woman. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to become a mother at a young age. You basically grow up with your child – depending on the age you are when you have your child. Regardless, women throughout history have done it and lived to tell the tale. However, for the sake of this conversation, I will use my own experiences.
I have always worked. Even in my early teens, I knew that to have the things I wanted, I had to work and that was okay. Education is a tremendous blessing, but hands-on experience is undeniable more valuable. As a child, I remember coveting my World Book Encyclopedia. My mom had purchased it from a door-to-door salesman; it turned out to be the greatest gift she could have given me. Reading these Encyclopedias are truly some of my favorite childhood memories.
In fact, that was the beginning of my love for knowledge.
Reading all those books taught me a lot. However, my hands-on experiences have, by far, been my best learning tools.
My first job was in an ice-cream parlor at the local mall. The wage was terrible, but I was a kid and just wanted to have spending money. I also wanted to be independent and not have to ask my parents for money all the time. I felt embarrassed. With my own kids, I always encouraged them to get jobs during high school. It’s good for kids to work and learn how to manage their money.
The ice cream parlor job only lasted a few months. My father was the head of maintenance at a large medical clinic, and he got me an after-school job in their medical records department. Filing reports, making appointments, and answering the switchboard when operators had their breaks were just some of the tasks in which I was charged. The schedule kept me out of trouble, and as soon as I turned 16, my father helped me to buy a car. That promotion from ice-cream scooper to office clerk really provided me with experiences that have followed me through my work history – and as a mom.
I learned the importance of good customer service and treating people respectfully. I understood early on, without the customer, the business is non-existent. It was important to ensure medical records were properly filed. One misfiled report or x-ray would turn into a situation to be sure. I learned about work ethic, being on time, and not calling out. I learned about working with people and what being part of a team meant. I could have read about this in a book, of course, but nothing compares to the hands-on experience of actually doing the job.
As a mom, I utilize some of our work experiences at home. I am the family financial advisor and secretary. There is a file for everyone, and important documents are filed away, in a labeled manner not unlike what I first picked up in the medical field. It’s funny how moms transfer many of their work skills into the household – and even some of our mom skills into the workplace. But make no mistake about it, being a MOM is thee most important job you will ever do. The job you do with your kids will affect your home, community and even the future of the country. Keep that in mind as you endeavor to be the Best Mom you can be.
In this series, I will share stories of my work as a mother and provider. With four kids, the second income was always welcomed – and honestly, it was fun. I hope you will join me next week for more, on Employable Moms – Growing Professionally While Raising Kids.