Apparently, this is the year of the badass woman. While visiting Target this past weekend, all signs pointed to this being the case.
Women, and (in my opinion) moms especially, are badass. Not just the ones on magazine or book covers, though they are badass too. When Serena returned to the court in that skin-tight catsuit after having her baby because she wanted to shed light on the how hard it can be to lose baby weight, I was through the roof – yes, honey! That’s right!
She not only wore it, she owned it. And, the message she delivered to all moms after her loss at Wimbledon was so powerful – “I was really happy to get this far. For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today.”
As a mom who works, I know how hard it can be to go back work after having a child. I had to do it three times and it never got easier. It was definitely toughest with my first because my husband and I were both working 9 to 5’s at the time, and there was no one to watch our baby girl, so we had to make the difficult decision that many parents make every day, finding a good enough daycare facility. I say good enough because unless your child is in the care of a family member or someone you know, love and trust just as much, no facility will ever be perfect, but it fills the need which makes it good enough. Thankfully, many people love their child’s daycare, and the person/people watching them. Others aren’t as in love, but what can be done. This is a desperate situation. I was the latter. To this day I regret putting my daughter into daycare. But we were desperate. First, she went to an in-home daycare. After she came home with a knot on her forehead, it took everything for me not to put my hands on the owner. It was a clear sign of negligence. I reached out to the local government agency and expressed concern. I thought I would get a great response because the rep was a woman. I was wrong. She basically blew me off in a very pedantic and politically correct fashion. So, I responded in kind asking her to confirm her name and title, as well as the name and title of the person she reports to, because I wanted to make sure it was correct in the press release I was drafting about how negligent government officials were being by choosing to do nothing about negligent daycare providers. 1 month later, my daughter’s old in-home daycare was shut down. Next, she went to an academy. The academy wasn’t horrible, but not long after her 1st birthday, we had to abruptly pull her out due to a mold issue that we were not informed about. Lastly, she went to a Montessori where she was bitten on the cheek by another student right in front of the teacher who was too busy daydreaming to notice. That was enough. My husband and I pulled her out and he came back home. We decided then that she would not return to school until she was old enough to talk and communicate her experiences to us. By 3, after a year and a half of being at home, she was asking to go to school again. She was able to communicate and knew all of her body parts, so we let her, but even then it wasn’t easy. No matter how old they are, I don’t think that I will ever be fully relaxed when they are with someone other than family, especially at school given today’s crazy world. Like me, they probably won’t understand until they become parents. But, I will raise them to be prudent, not fearful.
Based on a CNN Money Report published in January of this year, These countries offer the most generous maternity leave, 11 countries made the list, but the US was not one of them.
While certain companies in the US offer fair to great maternity leave policies, there are many that offer the bare minimum of 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for a c-section. I was blessed to work for companies that had pretty awesome policies. I took 4 months with my girls, and 6 months with my son (a different employer). It wasn’t until I got pregnant with my first that I learned that many moms weren’t entitled to the same perks. Some even teared up at the thought of having to leave their little ones to return to work so soon.
On the flip side, there are many moms who are afforded the opportunity to take great maternity leaves and choose not to because of their positions. Take Marisa Mayers for example. She famously announced that she was pregnant shortly after accepting the position as CEO of Yahoo, which I thought was classic. However, as this Time article, reveals, while she’d originally planned to take 6 months of maternity leave while she was working at Google, after her switch to Yahoo, she’d decided to only take 2 weeks, and planned to work during those two weeks on and off.
Marisa was highly and publically scrutinized for this decision. I’m not going to judge as I can only imagine the added pressures mother’s in executive roles must be under. Clearly, she felt a need to perform and produce results for a company that was failing. But still, two weeks? When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I had just started a new job. I can admit that there was a part of me that wondered what people would think. This, however, did not keep me from taking my full maternity leave, and when I logged off, I logged off. That time (regardless of how brief or long it may be, is yours to take guilt-free. You need it and so does your baby. Having done this twice before, I understood how precious and priceless this time was. The Time article goes on to point out the fact that if you google Marisa Mayers you will learn all about her role and decisions as a mother, in addition to her being the CEO of Yahoo. However, if you google her male equals, most searches do not even reveal the fact that they are parents.
Though the numbers of women in the workforce and in high positions continue to increase, We as women are expected to over-perform in order to even be able to compete in a still male-dominated work environment. However, we mother’s cannot allow the never-ending expectation to produce results cause our home life to suffer, no matter what kind of a spin people try to put on it. We shouldn’t be forced to make work appear to be more important than our children, because it is not. We shouldn’t be forced to downplay the fact that we are mothers as if being so can hurt our chances of moving up, we should receive extra attention because we are mothers who work and that is an added benefit all on its own. We will not hide our children from our peers to downplay the fact that we are moms, we will talk about them and put their pictures up to publicize that we are proud moms. We will not give our kids drugs because they are overly energetic when they are just being kids, we will walk them outside if necessary to get their energy out, then come back and do what needs to be done, it can wait. We will not feed our babies in bathrooms to avoid making others uncomfortable, the rest of the world will just have to adapt. We will not be pressured into feeling like being a mom is a disadvantage, because we know that there would be no future generation without us. More and more, we as women, and more importantly mother’s, are embracing our greatness and using our united voices worldwide to support one another. We are not just mother’s we are Badass women. And, we don’t have to cut our hair short or wear pants suits (unless we want to) to gain respect. We can wear our hair down, wear dresses and pumps. We’ll just have to remind the men that we are the prettiest and strongest at the table.
Don’t be afraid to be Badass!
The P.I. Mom