Parenting Traps

Finally, job security

A full-time mom works at getting away from her corporate past.

By Roberta Martone Pavia
September 13, 2009

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When I left the corporate world behind almost a decade ago, I figured I would also leave behind the hectic pace that went with it: long days, working lunches, endless meetings. After 25 years, I longed for the mommy track. However, it seems a frantic schedule is a bit more difficult to walk away from than I expected.

My days are still filled with endless meetings, now dedicated to discussing the mysterious pile of clothing under my daughter’s bed rather than anything a corporate manager would recognize, but no mind. As we rush from school to hip-hop dancing to art class, I hear myself repeat my mommy mantra: “Hurry up. We don’t want to be late for . . .” Yet it wasn’t until I heard my daughter parroting these sentiments -- “Hurry, Mommy. We’ve got to beat feet” -- that reality hit home. We’re moving too fast. (And I have no idea where she picked up that expression, but it’s clear she understood the meaning.)

What happened to that leisurely life I had fantasized about? Did I subconsciously need this frantic schedule, this heightened sense of urgency to make myself feel important in my mommy role? Something I have learned over the years is that to be a success at anything -- mother, businessperson -- you need to be constructive, to contribute. And to do that most effectively, you need to listen, apply yourself, and slow down.

So I’m determined to change my hurried ways, to slow down and savor precious moments with my daughter. I will no longer sweat it if we’re late for class. What’s the worst that can happen, I’ll get passed over for that next promotion?

I think not. That’s because in the mommy world, unlike the corporate one, I will always have a job. Like other moms, I run this little business. But unlike any other workplace, I’m not replaceable, even if my daughter will outgrow this stage of our relationship one day. So in the meantime, isn’t it best, then, to slow down and enjoy the job?

Send comments to QUESTION OF THE WEEK What’s your parenting style, high-achieving or take things as they come? Next week: A mom’s Facebook addiction Last issue: Home alone (without the kids)

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