On Mother’s Day, I like to tell my sons about my mom, her mom, and her mom’s mom. It’s not just because I come from a long line of great moms, but having two boys, I feel an extra need to educate them about strong, loving, working women.
In my family “working woman” has sometimes meant working as a full-time mom (like Nana, my mother’s mother) or working as a career librarian like my father’s mother. My mom ran her own business from our home, and now I run my own business from an office in Union Square. I want my sons to understand that women can be both professionals, and great mothers. I grew up at a time when this concept was still relatively new, and while more and more women do work outside the home, the perception (and perhaps more importantly the self-perception) of working women seems to be a “work-in-progress”.
My boys know their amazing grandmothers well – their “grandma” works for the State of California and sends thoughtful care packages at every major and minor holiday, and my mother (Nana to them) is in her 70s, dances the tango, and is a cultural beacon – taking them to museums, piano lessons, and sharing her love of classical music.
So I tell them stories about my grandmothers, both long gone – Edna, who raised my mother in suburban Columbus, Ohio, while her husband managed his chain of drug stores, and Meira, my father’s mother, who was the Head Librarian at Columbia Law School for 50 years. I still remember going to her Upper West Side apartment as a kid, and helping her file all those 3×5 index cards.
Emmett and Adrian’s little brown eyes widen with curiosity when I tell them these stories. They ask, “Did she know me?” and “Did grandma’s library have The Cat in the Hat?” While they may not get the full picture until they are older, I’m sure these stories help them understand that a woman can be a loving mother, and also have a thriving life outside the home.
Women friends of mine who don’t yet have children often want to know how I balance running my own company, and having two little boys. I like to tell them that the key is to forget the idea of “supermom” – she doesn’t exist. Instead, I just try to balance out my busy work schedule with the field trips and class plays, and don’t dwell too much on what I’m not doing. Instead I try to stretch and do more of what I can do. And I have an amazing husband, who is a very “hands-on” dad.
As moms, we are all doing a balancing act worthy of Cirque du Soleil. So this Mother’s Day, whether you are working at home or working in an office, let your family spoil you. You deserve it.