I've heard numerous myths regarding working mothers:
“If a mother works, it is because she needs the money, she would rather prefer staying at home taking care of her children”
“A working mother will not be as committed to her job as other employees”
Some of these myths even haunt women in their fertile years (who aren’t mothers yet):
“She will get pregnant soon and quit her job”
“If we promote her now and she gets pregnant, she won't perform the same and her productivity will decline”
As a woman and mother, I can say with certainty, that no woman shares neither the same circumstances nor the same thoughts.
My case, for example, after 5 years of trying to get pregnant; I finally had my baby, a beautiful girl, whom I’m madly in love with. But the same way I love her, I get overwhelmed too. I found out that I can't settle for the idea of being at home all day changing diapers, singing children's songs, and painting coloring books.
The first months of motherhood, when I was on maternity leave (as many of us), were very hard and some of the most stressful months for me. Not having adult conversations, not being able to work on enriching projects, being either home or in the park all day, honestly drove me crazy. And the worse thing was that I had to be quiet about my feelings, because if I said how I felt at that moment, I felt people would give me a "you are an awful mother" look.
When I returned to work, everything changed, leaving my baby at school, and having time for doing the things I needed; made me an absolutely fulfilled person. I arrived at work every morning filled with a lot of energy (product of the need to disconnect from my home routine), I also became more efficient, to be able to go out on time and spend more time with my daughter. I see my little girl grow up faster by being with other children, some even a little older than her, and I see her happy every afternoon when I pick up her from the nursery.
My baby is my everything, my joy, my reason for living. And my work is my mental motor, the thing that makes me feel productive and intelligent.
I know that there are women (and I don't know the proportion) who want to start a family and dedicate themselves to the home; and this seems to be absolutely perfect… for them.
I also know that there are women who prefer to have a successful professional career, and have no aspirations of raising children and/or have a relationship, and this seems absolutely perfect… for them.
Then there are women, who follow their own path outside of social conventions, and this seems me absolutely perfect… for them.
But there is another group of women (where I can find myself in) who want a little bit of everything: I want to be a good mother for my daughter, I want her to be a strong, independent and a happy person, I want to be successful in my career and create my own company, I want to contribute to the community by supporting the cause of inclusion of Women in STEM areas, and I want to have a good relationship with my husband. On top of it all, I also want to have time for myself.
And some will tell me that all this is not possible, that I live in a utopia, that I can’t have it all. And I tell them they are wrong.
And I’m not telling this based on my short experience of being a working mother, I say it because I see the example in my mother: a chemical engineer from the best university in Venezuela, who married at 22 and had me at 23. a short time later, she began to lead the family business and managed to grow it! All this despite the fact that Venezuela went through two of the worst crises in its history (and she did it while having my brother and sister in the middle of the process).
And despite all this, she managed to go to the hairdresser twice a week - because she loves to look great - and we sat at the table every breakfast, lunch and dinner to eat together; and every Saturday we did something as a family and every Sunday without exception we ate at my grandmother's house, with the rest of my aunts and cousins.
My mother, who is very loved and appreciated by her coworkers; My mother, the one her son and daughters adore; My mother, the one my father always madly loved, is my example and my confirmation that I can achieve what I want. My mother has debunked the myths of working mothers, and I will follow her footsteps.
With thanks - this article was written by Elena C. Mata S.