I’ve experienced many incarnations of “mom-ness” in my forty-two years. I grew up with a strong mom: She started a business and grew it from grossing $40,000 a year to almost $1,000,000. I am now a co-owner of that company, and it will help support my family just as it supported me growing up. In the nearly forty year history of our company, through boom and bust times in Wyoming, it has provided jobs for countless women and has made a significant contribution to the community.
My mom was incredibly dedicated to her career, but she managed to always make me feel I was important too. She taught me about hard work, achievement, and balance. I’ll never forget feeling sorry for myself because she wasn’t home after school to bake me cookies. One day I complained about this. The resulting conversation taught me one of the most important lessons of my life.
“Kyleen,” she said. “I know it would be nice if I was home all the time for you, but what you have to understand is that I work because it makes me happy. I am a better mom to you because I work.”
I didn’t fully understand her message until much later in life; but she taught me I could have career aspirations, and my own life, while being an excellent mother to my children. I didn’t have to choose one over the other, because it was more than possible to have both.
Despite my mom’s example, when my children were very small, I struggled with guilt as I left for work. But God blessed me with a husband who valued my career aspirations and felt relieved not to be the only one who was responsible for bringing home the bacon, so to speak. We split the responsibilities in our home fifty-fifty, and we hired excellent in-home nannies.
Yesterday my husband and I saw a video of Anita Renfroe’s “The Mom Song,” in which Anita humorously depicts the myriad of things a mom might say to her children in a day. We laughed the whole way through, and my husband leaned over to say, “I’ve said almost everything in that video to the kids at one time or the other.”
The truth is, we both have. My husband has “mom-ness,” too, although he would prefer to call it “integrated maleness.” I just call it awesomeness.
I honor and applaud all mothers … those who work, those who stay home and those who are dads.