Yesterday as I drove my daughter to school (a daily ritual), I saw this bumper sticker on a car ahead of me: Every mother is a working mother
How true this is!
I am writing this post in response to a request from my friend Alisa Donner, co-founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM). Clearly, I am NOT a mom, though, perhaps, close. I’ve been a full-time single dad for five years – raising my now 13-year-old daughter Meryl Fé, while being the sole bread-winner. So I can relate to cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, consoling, corralling, home-work coaching etc…all while building a business, making a living and trying to make a difference.
The purpose of this post (and the two that will follow) is to acknowledge and celebrate the role of moms in general and working moms in particular, and ideally to support and inspire moms who have recently returned to “outside work” or are about to do so.
When we return to outside work (that is, work other than that of parenting and related household work) – whether it requires that we leave home or work from home – we are coming out of a deep immersion in another experience. Here are a few of the elements of this domain.
- Baby Brain: We used to refer to the mind state that emerges through focusing on and connecting with the baby as Baby Brain. It is a distinctly different orientation that focusing on and connecting with adults. And it requires or evokes a different and, I propose, deeper level of immersion, even absorption.
- Sleepus interruptus: OK, if you’ve been there, it requires no explanation. This condition can be accompanied by: Physical, metal emotional exhaustion. A sense of desperation. Hallucinations.
- Strong Attachment: Clearly, the attachment with and to our babies does not begin and end with the umbilical cord. It deepens and strengthens in many ways beyond the physical dependency and “supply” of the womb and early nursing and nurturing. As our babies’ senses and capacities are activated and we increasingly engage with each other through multiple channels, our attachment deepens.
- Nature’s Pace (or Babies’ Pace) versus Machine’s Pace (or Organization’s Pace or Money’s Pace): Nature’s Pace includes responding to cries for food, resting together during cycles of growth and integration and being present for emerging needs and developments. The other pace is often more arbitrary, contrived and counter to our own natural rhythms, not to mention those of our babies and young children.
In the next post in this three-part series, I will explore the idea of Mom’s Creating Value.
Jeff Klein is CEO of Working for Good, a company that activates, produces and facilitates mission-based, Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns and Conscious Culture development programs.
Jeff is a trustee and member of the executive committee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and authored the award-winning book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living. He is producing Being Human 2012, on March 24, 2012 in San Francisco.
Jeff contributed a piece entitled “Growing Together – A Father’s Story” in Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Lives: Defining Moments – Men’s Anthology