Other than babysitting, my first job at McDonalds when I was 15 was a big huge deal. I loved having a place to go, and having my own money (small as it was).
My parents were trepidatious, and my father said, “Once you start working, you will do it for the rest of your life. Do you really want to start so soon?
YES. Yes I did.
And it’s been very important to me ever since.
Of course, I also wanted to have a family. I always pictured myself as a mother.
It would have shocked my 15 year-old self to learn that I waited as long as I did to have a child, and that I would have stopped at one.
My 15 year-old self didn’t know much.
As I’ve gone through my career, I’ve often thought about what I aspire to: More money, more opportunity. MORE.
And sometimes that makes me paper over the jobs around me that I don’t aspire to.
Coincidentally or not, almost every job I’ve had has been in a male-dominated environment.
Mike Rowe, who had a show called Dirty Jobs a while back, has become kind of a champion of hard work. Hard work, as in construction work and other traditionally male jobs.
Well, the traditionally female job of nurse is about as dirty as it gets. Bedpans, blood and barf.
Women are deep in it with the dirty side of work. Moms do not get to escape the dirty work. But it’s a tired story, even to the moms so we don’t really talk about it.
Moms do the things that are so reliably accomplished that they become invisible.
There was an amazing story about how Texas Grocery chain HEB responded to the hurricane that flooded so much of that state.
HEB knew that people needed food and supplies to prepare and recover from hurricane Harvey. The manager of distribution took stock of what was needed, and stopped delivering things that weren’t needed so the deliveries could focus on what was.
Fresh flowers? Nope, those can wait. Paper towels and white bread? Double down. Deliveries that usually took 90 minutes took 18 hours. Things had gotten a lot harder.
The grocery store workers volunteered to come from other stores to help keep the danger areas stocked. This grocery store really came together, local workers letting relief workers sleep on couches so that the work could get done.
Doesn’t that sound exactly like the sort of thing a mom does?
This grocery store understood what they were doing. It was NOT just a job, they knew they are helping people survive.
And when surviving is easy, no one thinks about it.
We are all needed in so many ways that we forget about when the living is easy. I’m proud of the work that I do as a mother. And I’m proud of the work I do in my career.
Yeah, I can resent both of them at times. But I wouldn’t give either one up. They both need me and I’m proud to help.