Acknowledging a Career in Motherhood?

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QUESTION: Have you ever not given yourself enough credit, where credit was due??

The other evening I accompanied my husband to a banquet where he was a nominee for an award honoring the top 20 leaders under the age of 40 in our city.

We walked into the reception with all sorts of high hopes and expectations…
(At least I did – because I think my husband is amazing, I’m so proud of all his accomplishments, and I know how much he truly deserved to be recognized for them!)

High hopes and expectations…
That gradually got lower, and lower…
And lower…

And I was put. in. place by:

  • the other amazing leaders being recognized in our large community
  • the long and very distinguishable list of past award winners
  • and the gradual realization that this award was much more prestigious and difficult to obtain than I had initially understood coming into the evening

As the ceremony began and the recipients were one-by-one announced (along with their long lists of leadership achievements and community accomplishments), reality began to sink in.

The reality that there are a lot of really amazing men and women out there.

What was Really Going through my Head

And here is my secret. (shhhhh…)

As I started to comprehend my new, more realistic understanding of how narrow the chances really were that my husband might secure this award…

I am embarrassed to say, that I also started thinking about me, myself and I – and how disappointingly remote my chances would ever be of even being nominated for this award.

After all, what had I done over the last decade as I focused less on my career and more on motherhood?
(Not to mention the small amount of time I have left still under the age of 40. Couldn’t they make it 20 under 50???)

Once upon a time, in a land that seems so far, far away – I would have considered myself an “up-and-coming young professional” too.

Once upon a time B.C. (a.k.a. Before Children)

Recounting My Accomplishments

Wait!
Hold up.
Let me start at the root of my issue.

The source of these thoughts probably began with the fact that this past weekend was my birthday – and I have been a little hung up on age lately. (Don’t believe me? See my post on Mothers’ Central.)

Me with my family underneath my homemade “happy birthday mom” sign.

The truth is this: As my husband and I sat awaiting each award recipient to be announced, as our hopes got lower and lower that he might be recognized as one of the 20 under 40 out of the hundreds in the crowd …

My thoughts secretly began to drift towards myself…
As I reflected on the last 10 years of my own under-accomplishments.

In fact, the awards ceremony came to a personal stand still as I began (somewhat laughingly) to recount my accomplishments and what I would have to place on my 20 under 40 nomination form:

  1. Three kids (whom I love beyond belief, but who have taken me away from career aspirations…)
  2. A lagging graphic design career (that – as I thought more about it – I was actually OK with…)
  3. A boatload of volunteer work in schools, church and my local Mothers’ Center group

And this is where my thought process started to change.

Because it was at this point that I began to discover that I had, in actuality, built myself a pretty impressive resume over the past 10 years.

Along with the very important job of raising 3 kids, in my “spare time” (among other things) I had managed to:

  • Advise high school graphic design students
  • Educate college graphic design students (in my part-time, adjunct graphic design faculty role)
  • Volunteer as a group leader within my local mothers organization

And slowly my “resume” was starting to become a little less “laughable” as I continued to recount other professional accomplishments such as design awards, faculty art shows, and miscellaneous community activities I had participated in.

And here’s the clincher: all these achievements happened despite having 3 kids.
In fact, I might go as far as to say they happened only because of my 3 kids…

My New Reality: A Career in Motherhood

And I had a new thought: Maybe my children aren’t taking me away from my career aspirations, but providing me with new and greater aspirations!?

  • Without becoming a parent I would have never found my passion for teaching. (As I only began teaching initially to keep me involved in design while taking time off to raise my family).
  • Without the experience of parenting, I never would have found my local Mothers’ Center and realized how successful I could be at networking, programming, and facilitating over 70 mothers.
  • And without my life qualifications as a mother, I may have never had the courage to make a career switch to blogging and have the confidence or knowledge to share my talents as a mother.

YES. There, I’ve said it: My talents as a mother.
This is really the first time I’ve managed to say that aloud.

I am not always a perfect mother, but every career path comes with mistakes right? The important part is I am working hard to learn from those mistakes to “further my career” and my passion for my children and parenting.

Motherhood IS a talent… and there are a lot of talented mothers out there. A LOT.

And there are a lot of talented mothers who (like I did) still don’t see motherhood as a resume builder.

Why do I continue to play down my maternal experiences, my passion for parenting, and my nearly decade career in motherhood?

And suddenly I felt a weight lift off of me – the weigh of unjustified disappointment.

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The awards ceremony continued and I started to hear a very impressive, yet somewhat familiar bio being introduced. My thoughts turned from myself, back to my husband, who was very surprised and honored to be chosen as one of the 20 under 40 award recipients.

And my face beamed with pride.

Credit had been given and acknowledged where credit was due. And in leaving that evening, not only did I exit with a sense of pride in my husband, but I also left with a sense of gratification of my own life’s accomplishments.

Celebrating our accomplishments after the 20 under 40 Leadership Award Banquet.

So back to my initial inquiry…

QUESTION: Have you ever not given yourself enough credit, where credit was due?
ANSWER: Yes! And I am determined not to do it any more!

Leave a comment: Have you ever failed to give yourself enough credit for a job well done? What can you reflect back on and give yourself credit for during your career in parenting?

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Today I am linking up with Just.Be.Enough.

Just.Be.Enough. has a mission to empower, inspire, and remind women, parents
and children that the time has come to celebrate ourselves. Hop over and check out their blog!

This entry was posted in Blogging and/or Writing, Family, Motherhood. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Acknowledging a Career in Motherhood?

  1. I’m so happy he won! I’m so happy YOU won! And by win, I mean that you recognize what an awesome, inspiring, indispensable, loving, accomplished mother you are. We are. All of us.

    Motherhood is NOT easy. And I’ve learned more skills (even when in the most unprofessional garb EVER) with this job than ever before. So have you, I think.

    My husband won a similar award in the spring too – I was so proud of him, I couldn’t hardly stand it. His parents came and they were completely beside themselves with happiness. People who knew us said, “What about you? When’s your turn for this award?” And I could say, with pride, “No, he deserved it. After all, I did just turn 40 last month.”

    ;)

    LOVE THE SIGN.
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..The Literal Mom Facebook Page

    • Kate says:

      Thanks Missy. Congratulations to your husband too!

      Having come from a Law background yourself (right?), have you ever felt that need to get back into Law? It is funny, because I no longer have the urge to get back to graphic design and Advertising – and I constantly have to remind myself that it’s OK to not want to do that any more… I have this funny thing about others seeing me as a “quitter.” And reminding myself that I’m not a quitter, but someone who continues to move forward and seek out new goals and challenges. I feel like motherhood has been such a blessing for me because it has introduced me to new passions, ideas, and accomplishments to aim high for!

      P.S. So happy for you that you finally got your Facebook Fan Page up!

  2. Melani says:

    Amen, sister! Motherhood is a talent! It’s hard work and such an important job, but many times I feel the exact same way. as one of the 70 some women that you have helped facilitated, I want to say “thank you”! You raise the bar pretty high, but you are definatley a motivator and I appreciate that:)

    • Kate says:

      Thanks Melani. That means a lot to me. Mothers’ Center really has taught me a lot more then I feel I have been able to give back yet (which is WHY I try to continue to volunteer as much as I can to our local center!) What an amazing group of moms we have!

  3. Shell says:

    Congrats to your husband!

    I tend to say things like “I’m JUST a mom.” Um, no. No “just” in that. I need to cut that out.
    Shell recently posted..Pour Your Heart Out: A Frightening Parenting Moment

    • Kate says:

      I used to say that too Shell… All. the. time. And in retrospect, I think that is what led me to that feeling of “unjustified disappointment” in myself. Now I really work hard at trying to give myself props for all the things I do DO. But it is a daily struggle… but one I am determined to win! It seems the more I acknowledge my “new career,” the less and less I am able to say, “I’m JUST a mom” and instead say with pride: “I AM a mom!” :)

  4. Julia says:

    This is a great article, and it really spoke to me. I have actually been down on myself for the opposite reason. I wanted to be able to stay at home with my kids, but that wasn’t in the cards for me. Often, I am tired, frustrated and feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants. My kids had to go to Grandma’s every day before they started school. Many times they have to go to her house when they are sick. They can’t sleep in on vacation because they have to go to Grandma’s. Sometimes, I feel like a failure because I can’t always be there for my kids when they need me.

    What you are doing for your family is very important, and you should never underestimate yourself. I think that what you are doing on top of being a Mom is amazing.

    • Kate says:

      The Grass is always greener on the other side – as they say… When I am working more, I tend to want to be home more and when I am home more I tend to want to be working more. It is a constant struggle to find a balance. And it is a constant struggle to release the guilt I feel when I am not with my kids OR not when I am not working to my potential. Last week I didn’t put up a post here on my blog… and I struggled with that. But I also kept telling myself how lucky I am to make that choice – the choice to NOT post when my life gets busy. Then again… the grass is ALWAYS greener…

      I always enjoy your insight and comments Julia! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  5. Justin says:

    You need to stop echoing my life, it’s freaky. (No, not really, it’s just that we all feel this way, I think, at least to some degree).

    I’ve recently applied to several jobs in an effort to give my husband a break from his very stressful job and to give myself a feeling of accomplishment, and like you, I have other things to put on my resume on top of being a mom, but being a mom has been my full-time job the past 4 years, and yet it’s not on my job list… Maybe it should be? Surely there’s a whole slew of accomplishments that show my character, integrity, ingenuity, etc – breastfeeding two kids for one!!

    And I don’t know if it’s me looking at things negatively, but I feel like it’s very, very hard to shake that stereotype of stay-at-home mom. People think (I may be making this up) that I like to stay athome, that it’s easy and fun, that I like to clean and cook, go grocery shopping, make lists, plan crafts, have tea parties, and honestly, I don’t really like any of those things. I’m doing it because I know that it’s best for my kids, and I DO like it when we hustle about doing fun things, and I LOVE seeing my kids grow up, but my sense of self-accomplishment is gone, especially when I’m not doing any side projects (like now). (I too say “I’m JUST a mom”). It’s sometimes just so hard. And I don’t even want recognition for anything – forget awards – I just want to DO something :) (And I am, often – I just forget that while two kids are screaming at me and dinner is burning).

    • Kate says:

      Hmm… maybe you SHOULD add motherhood to your resume? At the very least everything that you have done for Mothers Center and your mothers group now?

      Justin, you are so right when you said: “… we all feel this way, I think, at least to some degree.” Very true. And one of the reasons why we need to keep talking about it so that we continue to remind ourselves that we are still doing something important. :)

  6. Galit Breen
    Twitter: GalitBreen
    says:

    A career in motherhood- yes, that.

    And goodness, giving ourselves credit- why is that so very hard to do?

    (Happy birthday week! I love your birthday sign. A work of heart, for sure!)
    Galit Breen recently posted..Just This Morning

    • Kate says:

      Why is it so hard to give ourselves credit? Yes, that will probably continue to forever be the burning question! (which will probably never be fully answered :)!)

      Isn’t that birthday sign cute!?! I loved it!

  7. Jessica says:

    Ever since I had children and decided to stay home with them my mom has said “you will never look back and regret the choice you made to make raising your children a career” and I think this is so true. There are a lot of choices in life that I will go back and forth on but this isn’t one of them. Raising our babies is time well spent and you are doing an amazing job.
    Jessica recently posted..National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

    • Kate says:

      Such a good way to put it Jessica. There are always things I regret having NOT been able to do. And having been given the opportunity to be able to be home with my children – was such a blessing and definitely one I will not regret. Your totally right!

  8. Christine @ Quasi Agitato
    Twitter: csiracusa
    says:

    I need to have this epiphany, too.
    I’ve been at home for 9 years and, honestly, I’ve been conflicted about it the entire time. I love being a mom but I find motherhood leaves a lot to be desired. I really wish I could just embrace it. Nothing is perfect, right?
    Christine @ Quasi Agitato recently posted..I Am Betty.

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