In the years since I became a mother (almost 10 now!) I have tried out nearly every combination and acronym of mothering/working I can think of: I’ve worked long hours full-time in an office while my infant and toddler were looked after by kind caregivers in a too-pricey daycare; I have stayed at home (SAHM); I have stayed at home while working part-time for myself (WAHM) with two preschoolers nipping at my heels. I now work full-time — sometimes at home, sometimes not — while my kids are in school. A manic schedule for mom, dad, kids and the occasional babysitter keeps the train on the rails (barely). I have been lucky in the partner department (equality, as much as schedules allow, is the name of the game in our family), but the challenges I have faced are common to many parents and mothers in particular. When I have had the opportunity to be home with my kids, while I enjoy and adore them, I have sometimes also been bored, or else worried that my career skills and ability to earn an income over the long run are fading. When I feel energized in my career and busy in the workplace, I have the oh-so-common guilt: Am I giving my children enough of me? And we haven’t even talked about outside hobbies, passions and exercise — ha! In “The mother of reinvention” — a new installment of our yearlong series, “Making It Work,” about the work/life juggle — I explore how parents can think strategically about on-ramping back to work after staying home. Many of you would be surprised to know that your endless volunteer hours on the PTA board actually count as career experience and could help you transition into your dream job!
Speaking of juggling, it takes a village, right?! Each year at ParentMap we are beside ourselves with excitement selecting the new “Superheroes” for kids and families. The roster of champions for 2015 is as heroic as ever, from an evangelist for African American history (Rosanna Sharpe, executive director of the Northwest African American Museum) to a hipster deputy superintendent helping improve how a huge school district serves its students (Josh Garcia, Tacoma Public Schools), to a joyous advocate shaping youths into leaders (Lori Markowitz, executive director, Youth Ambassadors). This year as usual we asked the honorees who inspired them or helped them succeed, and a pretty plausible trend emerged: their parents. Get inspired reading through the stories of our 2015 heroes, and also give yourself a pat on the back. Parenting, as we know, is all juggle. The ultimate prize is to find our own joy while inspiring our children to find theirs.
We are all heroes!